Rival Glasgow LGBT festivals at odds

Tensions are spilling over in the run-up to the LGBT festival season in Scotland’s biggest city – with love and understanding are in short supply.

Last years Pride Glasgow ran into trouble due to overcrowding. Picture: PA
Last years Pride Glasgow ran into trouble due to overcrowding. Picture: PA

Two rival groups are staging parades and festivals in Glasgow this summer and legal letters are already flying.

Pride Glasgow has warned the new kid on the block, Mardi Gla, to stop making what it calls are false claims about its organisation.

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The spat follows the chaos of last year’s largest celebration when hundreds of ticket-holders were denied entry.

The shambolic scenes in the city’s Kelvingrove Park were blamed on organisers over-selling the event.

A new-look Pride Glasgow wants to move on from that chaos, but the young pretender is adamant that it can do things better.

Euan McLeod, a former Labour councillor, is the executive director of the LGBT Co-operative, which is behind the new festival.

He said that Pride Glasgow had tried to take legal action against his organisation.

He said: “We are disappointed in the way things have happened. The majority of the [LGBT] community has come behind us, and indeed every venue has come behind us.

“However, they [Pride Glasgow] decided to move ahead with their own event, and then tried to take legal action against us, which we thought was a bit strange.

“They are backing down, they know they can’t win.”

Chris Lang, the new chief executive of Pride Glasgow, said the festival had “pulled out all the stops to apologise for last year’s failings”.

He added a legal letter had asked Mardi Gla “to stop misleading the public that Mardi Gla had taken over responsibility of Pride Glasgow”.

Pride Glasgow later said it would not take legal action “as it wanted to focus on putting positive energy into the event”.

Mr Lang said: “The letter also offered, once again, for Pride Glasgow board to meet with Mardi Gla board of directors, to find an amicable way of both events co-existing.

“Pride Glasgow also wished Mardi Gla the best for its event, in July. No response has been received.”

Mr McLeod said in a radio interview that Mardi Gla would be “different and more inclusive”.

Mr Lang tried to gloss over the differences, telling the same programme: “There’s plenty of places in Glasgow for more than one Pride event.”

Meanwhile, police are investigating financial irregularities at Pride Glasgow that were raised by the new board of trustees who took over last year. Pride Glasgow said like any other organisation, it was required to pay the city council for hiring the Riverside Museum venue.

Mardi Gla is on 20 and 21 July. Pride Glasgow will be held on 17 and 18 August.