We were devastated to hear two years ago that all global pride events would be postponed until it would be safe for large crowds to gather together again! It was fantastic to see so many people coming together and seeing so many familiar faces after two years of being forced to stay at home! If you have been following our last couple of blog posts then l you will be aware that we have been on a sort of international pride tour which started with Mama G’s family pride event (which you can read about at https://rhysreviews.com/2022/06/27/mama-g-family-pride-event-number-two/) and then the drastically different Budapest pride parade (which you can read about at https://rhysreviews.com/2022/07/26/hungary-2022-part-one/) and finally we were able to attend the highly anticipated return of pride Cymru! Each one of these events focused on a different perspective of pride with the first being about the importance of children supporting the LGBT+ community with a plethora of resources parents can use to educate young people, the second was much more of a political statement against the treat of LGBT+ people in Hungary and the last one was a much more festival style experience!
After two prolonged years of waiting for pride to return, I (like many people) was chomping at the bit to be back at Cardiff City Hall so felt driven to arrive at the event as soon as it opened! At this point in the day, it was fairly quiet and so this was a perfect opportunity to check out the stalls and grab an early morning drink without the massive queues that gathered later in the day. What made this return to pride extra special was the fact that the first act that we saw grace the community stage was none other that our close friend and queen of sing and spin Nicki Knockers! We have been a fan of Nicki for just over three years and regularly attend the Karaoke nights she hosts at King’s. While we are familiar with her witty style of comedy, we have never been lucky enough to see her perform in front of an audience … until now! Nicki delivered a series of crowd pleasures (including Mr Brightside by The Killers that had the advance screaming the lyrics as loud as they possibly could) and even managed to squeeze in one of her iconic cartwheels that was very impressive to watch! The next queen that we were lucky enough to watch was none other than Dixie Normus who we have also known for a very long time, I fact we performed alongside each other during musical productions in high school. Not only did Dixie look incredible in an amazing blue sequin outfit but also she managed to use her musical theatre background to deliver a series of songs that had everyone up and dancing! Her rendition of “I need a Hero” was beautifully performed but she also managed to squeeze in the perfect amount of comedy to the number. The crowd responded thunderously to her performance especially when she began sprinting around the audience and dancing on the picnic tables people were sitting at! I do have to say that there was a fair amount of repetition with song choices for the other performers but of the many iterations of “I’m still standing” by Elton John, Nico Fitz delivered the most vocally powerful version of the song by far!
At this years pride festival there were two different stages the first being the aforementioned community stage and also the main stage. The main stage stage looked out of a large open space where hoards of people laid out towels (which I did not even consider bringing) to sit down and enjoy the extremely hot weather we were lucky enough to experience! There were many fabulous choirs that performed in the main stage but I do have to say that my favourite was absolutely the South Wales Gay Men’s chorus who delivered many energetic and vibrant numbers and in particular their rendition of “It’s raining men” was vocally incredible but also really helped to energise the audience! If this choir sounds like something you would be interested in then the group is hosting an opening evening on the 22nd of September at Roath Church House and you can find more information at https://swgmc.co.uk. This festival also helped me to discover a new artist that I am going to add to my travelling to work playlist! The amazing James Willets showcased a high energy performance where he graced the main stage and delivered some of his fantastic original songs including my personal favourite “You don’t know love” (available on Spotify) that had the audience shouting love that, when you think about it, was a very simple yet powerful motto to be shouted at Pride! Almost a year ago we attended our first ever drag show starring Utica and Denali from Ru Paul’s drag race season thirteen (which you can read our thoughts in at https://rhysreviews.com/2021/09/22/denali-and-utica-tour-review/) and was hosted by none other than the iconic Jolene Dover. She delivered a plethora of pop icons with her rendition of Bonkers by Van Helden and Dizzee Rascal being a particular crowd pleaser with people jumping in the air and shouting the unique lyrics! Jolene clearly has a fantastic stage presence where she used every each of stage during her performance which made for a very entertaining set!
Overall, arriving early at pride meant that the audience was fairly quiet to begin but as soon as the event progressed the audience did become more and more energetic! I personally perfected the cabaret vibe if the community stage rather than the festival atmosphere of the main stage with the former having ample shade that was really needed during the extreme weather! As an experience, I would rate my experience of the returning pride Cymru 4 out of 5 stars!