Kilkenny’s annual Gay Pride festival Out For The Weekend had a hugely successful event this past week.
Building on the success of the last two years festivities, the festival ramped up the range of activities this weekend with a plethora of events that celebrated the LGBT community in Kilkenny.
This time around most of the festival focused on the beautiful Parliament Street area of Kilkenny which created a village style atmosphere and gave the air of a hub of activity throughout the weekend.
One of the big highlights was the launch of the Irish Queer Archive exhibition which kicked off with a launch on Friday evening at 6pm. Entitled A Liberating Party: Emerging LGBT Liberation in Ireland 1974-1993, it was a real coup for the festival to house this mixed-media exhibition which was originally commissioned by Thisispopbaby for the Queer Notions cultural strand of Dublin Pride 2009.
Rosie Howick returned to the festival to perform her megamix of Kylie, Katie and Gaga which as usual went down an absolute storm in the Nixon On Watergate (the main venue for all events during the weekend).
The final night of the festival also saw the crowing of Ciarán O’Neill as Mr. Gay Kilkenny and Niamh Morgan as Ms. Gay Kilkenny in a colourful and fun filled event that saw things to a close on Sunday night.
Another highlight of the festival was Devious Theatre’s acclaimed new show Phantasm which kicked off proceedings on Thursday night and ran for 5 performances in Cleeres Theatre.
Other performers throughout the weekend included Captain Anchor, The All Time DJ’s, DJ Razor, DJ Alex, DJ’s Kaz & Niamh and the consistently popular Rock OUT music competition in association with Foróige. There were also a myriad of dining events, LGBT Wellbeing Workshops and talks that catered to people of all ages and persuasions.
Following a call into the Sue Nunn Show on KCLR (and the subsequent heated debate on the ‘Kilkenny’ Facebook page) about the two Rainbow Flags flying from the Tholsel on High Street, the organisers of OFTW have released a statement stating that the festival was part funded by the County and Borough Councils and their willingness to have the rainbow flag only goes to show how progressive the Kilkenny local authorities really are. They see the need for a festival like OUT For The Weekend in Kilkenny - not just as a social outlet for LGBT members of the community, but also as a cultural event - boosting tourism and bringing Kilkenny inline with our European counterparts. The flag was raised as a sign of welcome to everyone living in or visiting Kilkenny over the weekend... regardless of their sexuality. The Borough Council should be commended for playing their part in making Kilkenny a place where discrimination is not tolerated and acceptance is actively promoted.
Out For The Weekend is continuing to build on its yearly success by becoming one of the most exciting and diverse LGBT events in the South East. The organisers have promised a line up of exciting one off OFTW events as we approach the winter months. For more information on the festival, keep an outfortheweekend.ie.