Major changes as Johannesburg Pride 2016 moves to Melrose Arch
In a major development for South Africa’s longest running LGBT Pride event, Johannesburg Pride 2016 will be held at the upmarket Melrose Arch precinct on Saturday 29 October.
“We are making changes to the entire format,” said Pride’s Kaye Ally. “We will have a shorter parade as we have found that people are more interested in staying at the event or coming later after the parade.”
Among the changes, is that the event will only kick off at the Melrose Arch Piazza later in the day, at 2pm, with live music, drag acts, a fashion show and a bar.
While there will be community stalls, food will only be served from the restaurants in the area. After the parade, Pride will become a nighttime event, with a lineup of DJs.
“There are restaurants ATMs, plenty of parking, toilets, its safe and secure and you can even go shopping,” Ally told Mambaonline. “The precinct caters for about 70,000 people and we are approaching businesses in Melrose Arch to support the event. We are aiming to create an LGBT village for the day.”
There is no entry fee for Johannesburg Pride but, for those who want to splurge, there will be a “patron’s lounge” (a paid for VIP area).
“Our colour this year is orange, which is the colour of healing,” said Ally. “And our theme is #nofilter. The idea is for people to come and celebrate who they are without judgement. Come in any form that you like. It is a space for tolerance.”
She further explained that, “this year there have been some terrible atrocities, such as Orlando, so we actually want to have a party to celebrate gay life”.
Ally admitted that the choice of venue is always a controversial issue but argued that, “despite some concerns that Pride is in a more privileged area,” there are simply too many challenges in hosting such a large event in locations like Zoo Lake or Mary Fitzgerald Square in the CBD.
“The costs of taking Pride there are astronomical. We have to bring in infrastructure and security to host an event like this. It’s unaffordable for a non-profit organisation like Pride. Melrose Arch has modern amenities and facilities,” she said.
“Plus, for me, the safety of Pride comes first. I’d rather take the backlash from a small minority and make sure that everyone is comfortable and safe.”
Ally acknowledged complaints that people may not bring their own drinks in cooler boxes to the event but insists that this is beyond the organisers’ control.
“We go through the right regulations and we are subject to the same scrutiny as any event and we cannot allow cooler boxes. It is not us being difficult, it is a legal matter. Public drinking is not allowed. People can only drink at premises that are licensed,” insisted Ally.
“Change is never 100 percent accepted at first,” she added. “Moving to Melrose Arch is a big change but we are catering to different generations, including the millennials and we have to entice them and make it relevant. We want something that is trendy and is along the lines of what other Prides are doing. I’m quite confident that this will pay off.”
Johannesburg Pride was held at Zoo Lake from 2006 to 2012. After the controversial 1 in 9 protest of 2012 and the shock resignation of the board in 2013, it then, under Ally, moved to Sandton Sports Club (2013), Mushroom Farm Park (2014) and the Wanderers Rugby Field (2015).
What do you think of Johannesburg Pride being held at Melrose Arch this year? Tell us your thoughts below. (Any insulting, slanderous or offensive comments will be removed).
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Honestly speaking I wasn’t happy at first when I first heard about this years venue but after reading this and also giving it proper thought it actually makes sense. I really can’t wait till the big day, thank you to the LGBT for your devoted efforts each year for making this day not only possible but always a blissful success.
this melrose arch arrangement has the potential to be a massive success
I think its the best venue yet. A bit far from me but I will drive up anyway. Can’t wait!
Really dissapointed by this change. Pride js about a day in the sun in a park like environment. You can go to Melrose arch and it’s restaurants any day of the year. This is just a promotion of Melrose Arch and not about gay pride. After parties happen regardless but the fun of pride is that it does happen during the day in the sun. The fun of a hot dog and a beer on the grass is just far more appealing. Last year at Wanderers was just perfect. Why change a winning formula?
I think its a good idea to move the Pride to a more upmarket venue. Sure, it was nice and all at the past venues but this time am sure that we are all, in general, going to experience something that is new that does not “reflect” what people think of what Pride is all about.
And besides, it will be during my bonus month which means the snob in me will be all out, lol.
I’m really disappointed with this year’s pride, why the sudden change, it’s good in a park, we like open space I agree with Michael, this is just a promotion of Melrose arch not gays pride! Wanderers as perfect
Wanderers was perfect
I’ve always enjoyed the green grass and open space like environment cause I always attended all the prides in my bikinis and see through dresses. How is all that going to make me feel at Melrose? Let’s go back to the parks.
‘Last year at Wanderers was just perfect. Why change a winning formula?” Let go back to the parks, I’m not happy about this change…….and the time of the parade…….
parks are much better
Granted, change can be good.. uncomfortable as it is. However I sense that only the minority is considered by the current organisers. Pride is about raising issues in our communities, and those communities are not only in the up markert areas. Are we to let fear control which streets are paraded?
I don’t mind parading in the streets of Melrose, however the open space of the Park for the after party still appeals most to me.
A stroke of genius! Safe, controlled and upmarket. Also, starting later to encourage patrons to stay in Melrose Arch for the party is much better and will reduce the number of people drinking and then driving to the usual “after parties”. Onwards and forwards!
The elephant in the room, my dear brothers and sisters, is that this event will be almost 99% white and will be held a mere 9 kilometers away from townships in which lesbians are being raped to “correct” their sexuality and members of the rainbow community (if there is such a thing) are being harassed and targeted on a daily basis. Johannesburg Pride has done NOTHING but close the gap they had to enlarge inclusiveness and will, in fact, alienate the hundreds of thousands (and believe me, statistically there are that many) of young men and women who have 0% chance of attending this event. Shame. Shame. Shame. Boycott the fuckers.
A bit disappointing, good for pink rand gays but not the disadvantaged majority of Gay people. It might work as a new idea. but not as political protest. Will most likely still attend.
An article full of excuses for an event that reeks of capitalism. Glad I’m in Cape Town where pride is down on the ground with fresh sea air.
am not happy with changes.
I really believe this pride is organised for the privileged few, even after the events of 2012 the board did not reflect and try come up with a pride that is more inclusive and diverse, this so called ‘safe space’ is only realistically for a few privileged people, and we all know that just means white pride, we are trying to tell the world we are here as an LGBTI and we have a right to space just as anyone but when there are brands of gay that are looked down on because they come from a vastly black community, we are far from achieving this goal.
I AM PRETTY MUCH EXCITED WITH THE VENUE, CHANGE IS ALWAYS HARD FOR PEOPLE TO ACCEPT BUT IN TIME EVERYONE WILL BE HAPPY.. BIG UP’S TO THE MANAGEMENT WHO GREW UP BALLS TO SUGGEST SUCH VENUE!! THANK YOU SOO MUCH AND DONT MIND HATERS… HATERS ARE ALWAYS THERE AND LUCKLY THIS YEAR I WILL BE ON STAGE PERFOMING MY HIT SINGLE CURRENTLY TRENDING #DANKIE_HATER WHICH WILL BE ADDRESSED TO ALL HOMOPHOBICS, RACISTS AND XENOPHOBICS!!! LETS GO OUT IN SUPPORT OF THIS PRIDE BECAUSE THEY ARE ALSO GIVING PLATFORM TO US UPCOMING LESBIAN (BUTCH) ARTIST WHO ARE STILL DISCRIMINATED IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY YEH HIP HOP!!! SHOUT OUT TO EVERYONE IN SUPPORT OF THIS I CANT WAIT…. IT WILL BE MY BIRTHDAY MONTH AND IM EXCITED TO BE PART OF THIS … LETS SHOW ALL OTHER PROVINCES THAT WE CAN DO IT BIGGER AND BETTER HALAAA