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Jackie Crozier Interview

Jordan McDowell meets Manchester Pride’s festival director as she announces she’s stepping down

Written by . Published on August 30th 2011.


Jackie Crozier Interview

PERCHED on a chaise-longue in the foyer of the Malmaision hotel in Piccadilly Jackie Crozier is being interviewed by BBC Radio whilst I nurse a monstrous mid-Pride hangover, awaiting my ten minute slot.

“I think I’ve gone as far I can” she tells me, choosing her exit strategy well as this year marks the fifth year in a row that the Pink Paper has named the festival the UK’s best.

Crozier, the festival director of the UK’s biggest and best LGBT Pride event, has announced that this will be her last stint as Queen of the Village after six years at the helm.

“I’ve got to get back on site soon” Jackie tells no one in particular before I’ve even sat down. I’ve not got long, this being the busiest weekend of her year.

“Why are you leaving?” I ask, cue well embarrassing and vague answer: “It’s not a job, it’s your life really. It sounds a bit cheesy, but it really is.”

For six years Crozier has managed, not only a boozy weekend that stretches the August bank holiday, but an annual ten day festival that brings together art, theatre, cinema, music and LGBT people from all over the world to celebrate Pride, Manchester and each other.

“I think I’ve gone as far I can” she tells me, choosing her exit strategy well as this year marks the fifth year in a row that the Pink Paper has named the festival the UK’s best. 2011 also saw Attitude magazine doff their tiara to Manchester after an “embarrassing” London and druggy Brighton.

Not having missed the event since 1995, Crozier’s best bits during her time as the leader of Manchester Pride include seeing Gossip, Human League and the first time she walked in the Pride Parade. The first time Jackie stood on main stage to address the 10,000 strong crowd of Pride party-goers was her worst memory, “They can’t shut me up now” she laughs.

Manchester Pride has not all been plain sailing for Crozier however. Reaction against the wrist-band prices and the ‘Pride not Profit’ movement has sometimes stolen the limelight.

“There will always be those with their opinion on Manchester Pride” Jackie tells me, “we can’t please everybody, all of the time. One thing I will say is that I was in Mantos (on Canal Street) in 2002 when a bunch of homophobic idiots came into that bar and smashed it up at Pride. I was there again at EuroPride in 2003 when it became a gated event and I will never make any apologies for Manchester Pride being a safe and secure event.” Someone hand this girl a soap box. I’m sold.

Her closing line, one reiterated at numerous intervals throughout the Big Weekend, on screens, banners and by Anthony Cotton: “No other Pride event in the UK raises as much money as Manchester Pride and that is something I am really proud of.”

Whoever wins this job has got a lot to live up to.

 


 

Jordan McDowell runs Manchester blog www.fashionrambler.com.

Follow Jordan on Twitter @jordanjmcdowell

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Joe LucasAugust 30th 2011.

I had a great time at Pride, although my liver is suffering greatly!!! Jackie you are a legend.

Scott NealAugust 30th 2011.

So one anti social incident nearly ten years ago and the whole event has to be gated? What happened to being an inclusive community?

AnonymousAugust 31st 2011.

Scott, you took your life in your hands when you attended pride years ago. Now it's a safe professional event which raises a fortune for charity. Wristbands cost £15. That is an inclusive price...

Scott NealAugust 31st 2011.

I disagree. I attended Pride for a number of years from 1998 when it was a free event and never felt like I was at risk from abuse or violence.

All the wrist band policy does is create a ‘gay ghetto’ where anyone (gay, straight or otherwise) who simply wants to see what’s going on or have a couple of drinks is forced to shell out £15-25.

The charity argument doesn’t hold much water either. Going off the Pride website in 2009 the event itself had an income of £950k of which £135k actually went to charitable causes. The amount in 2010 was just £115k. That’s appalling.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s fantastic that money is raised for good cause and that it boosts Manchester’s reputation as a gay friendly city but we should be questioning how the event is run.

HulmePixAugust 31st 2011.

No, Scott, it's not "one anti social incident nearly ten years ago" as I'm sure you could have easily found out. Pride before being gated was a victim of it's own success- the larger it got the more trouble there was. It's also no different nowadays from other major festivals that need to look after the bona fide visitors as well as ensuring it raises money. I was part of one community group last year that benefited from the money raised at Manchester Pride that meant the group survived another year.

AnonymousAugust 31st 2011.

You only need to go to the Charities Commission or even Mcr Pride's own website to see how little they give to charity.
In 2010 (as like previous years) they raised nearly £1.1million and gave a paltry £53k to HIV charities (and the other £53k to the LGF - a council funded "charity" and things like Gaydio...) - that's 5% of the income going to HIV charities like the George House Trust.
It's abundantly clear that the vast majority of money made goes to line business pockets. If the city really does make £20million on the back of Pride, 5% of their income would be a cool million. God forbid that they should sacrifice greed for charity.
The village is no safer at pride now than it was before being gated, and crime stats prove that; all that has happened is that certain powers in the city are making heaps of money by raping the pink pound.

Personally I would rather donate my money directly to good causes.

AnonymousAugust 31st 2011.

Some rather naive comments in here... Think about what Pride is actually like. People pissed up everywhere, bars in every nook and cranny, alcohol extremely affordable and available readily from off licenses, on the streets. Like it or not, Manchester is pretty rough round the edges, and if it was just a free for all, there'd end up being trouble. Personally I'd rather pay the money and have a gated, safer event

AnonymousAugust 31st 2011.

Pride was gated because they could not afford police protection. There was the year when the riot squad was out to protect Pride goers from Toon supporters.

ali mcgSeptember 1st 2011.

"t's abundantly clear that the vast majority of money made goes to line business pockets." - do you mean from the gate receipts? Personally, I think Pride is extremely good fun, extremely well run and well worth the £16.50 for the weekend wristband.

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