Channel Islands Pride 2021 was supposed to be hosted in Jersey on the beach. Working with the Government of Jersey to ensure islanders were safe to gather in an age of COVID-19, the event was scheduled for 21 August and the Pride Committee worked hard to get the Waterfront venue ready with plans for a stage, acts, food and drink vendors, community stalls, family fun and a live link-up with Guernsey’s smaller event – all the things that make CI Pride what it is.
Despite early indications that a summer date would ensure we were safe to meet in numbers again, the coronavirus rates started to rise and by mid-July it was clear that gathering 5,000 people in one place would not be good for the island. At which point we took the tough decision to cancel the in-person event.
Determined that CI Pride should go ahead in some format, the live link-up with Guernsey became the focal point. Could we pull off the Channel Islands first live-streamed pan-island concert in a month? Of course, we could!
Wanting people to be able to party at home for online Pride we quickly put together a printed programme and pack of Pride goodies. Thank you to our volunteers packed 2,000 Pride bags, which we distributed free in the Channel Islands Co-Operative stores. We also continued our promotion of Sippin Gin’s Pride Gin that had been mixed especially for CI Pride 2021 and which helped many Pride gatherings across the island go with a swing.
The venue for the live streaming was St James Centre in Jersey and the Princess Royal Centre for Performing Arts in Guernsey. Both islands would have concerts happening at the same time and the live stream would cut between the two islands. It was ambitions, but we had learned during COVID that technology could make connections possible that before had seemed impossible.
We got the technical team in place, we got the slightly amended acts in place (it wouldn’t be COVID if we didn’t lose one act to contact-tracing – Abbaloo stepped in to replace Inside Job at the last minute), and we crossed our fingers! At 3pm the afternoon kicked off with a message from Liberate’s long-time friend, Gary Burgess. All was going well, then suddenly we lost connection. After a 20 minute delay, where the technical team were working like mad to understand what had happened when everything had been tested thoroughly beforehand, they discovered that broadcasting from inside an old granite church has its drawbacks. Moving the router to the porch of the church put us back online!
The rest of the afternoon went without a hitch, and the live link up to Guernsey worked. We could not have asked for a better way to celebrate CI Pride, short of being in-person. The running order was:
16.00 The Rainbow Chorus (from Guernsey)
16.45 Rich Allo
17.15 Brick House
18.05 Shea & Kingsy
18.40 Eloise Fabbri (from Guernsey)
20.00 MadHen Party Band
Thank you to Stage 2 for designing and supplying the set, lighting and sound. Thank you to 3CI for the wizardry that streamed CI Pride live to the world. Thank you to Christophe and Julie Chateau for organising the line up of amazing acts. And thank you to all our performers.
The live stream had 7,000 individual social media logins across the globe from California to New Zealand and everywhere in between, making it the biggest Channel Islands Pride ever!
Thank you to our sponsors. They ensure that Pride remains free for anyone to attend, which is essential to making Pride one of the most inclusive events in the islands. 2021 was particularly difficult with the switch to online Pride, but our sponsors stuck with us as plans changed. Thank you to the Channel Islands Co-Operative Society, our lead sponsor for the sixth year running. Thank you to Mourant, who sponsored the free Pride packs. Thank you to Ogier, who sponsored the live streaming of online Pride. Thank you to HSBC, Citi and Jersey Electricity for sponsoring the stage costs. Thank you to RBC, IQ EQ, HLG Associates and Vistra for sponsoring the marketing costs of Pride.
Finally, thank you especially to our Pride committee led by Christian May. It takes hundreds of hours to stage Pride and when you are doing it around the ups and downs of COVID it takes even more hours of meetings to do it safely. It has been especially challenging this year and Christian has been tenacious in ensuring that we delivered Channel Islands Pride – somehow. Thank you to Nigel, Eamonn, Angharad, James W, Ruben, Carla, Lorna, Paddy and James T.
Videos of the live streamed event can be viewed here:
Welcome from Gary Burgess (from timecode: 27.00)