Ten years Antwerp Pride, ten years ‘love united’: how in Conchita’s name can you summarize something like that? By talking to the man who has been at the front, of course. We look back with ‘Mr. Chairman’ Bart Abeel, the heart and soul of the best Pride of Western Europe and beyond.
- ‘We build bridges in the city’
Bart, you’re there since the very beginning. What was the initial spark for this event ten years ago?
Antwerp Pride is actually created around Navigaytion, a well-known boating festival organized by Red & Blue. After the first edition, the organizers looked for further financial support. The city listened, but there had to be a broader framework provided than just a commercial event. After the EuroGames in 2007, a small group of us sat down together: people from the nightlife scene, but also politicians and from the tourism department of the city. We agreed that there is so much talent and motivation in Antwerp, but nothing would come of it unless we all joined forces. That was where the idea came to organize a Pride.
– You have immediately led the event?
– Gradually Navigaytion disappeared from the picture.
– When did politics get involved in the story?
– What would you describe as the ultimate kick of the past ten years?
– Antwerp is the most multicultural city in Belgium. Do we involve sufficiently the immigrant communities?
– When we say Antwerp Pride, we also say: FESTIVAL.
– What was your coolest party time?
– Which artist you carry in your heart?
– What novelties can we expect this year?
– Will there come a time when Pride will have reached its capacity?
– How do you see the future of the organization team, and more specifically your role as chairman?
– Finally, what do you look forward to most this year?
Do you want any answer on these questions? See: Bart Abeel Speaking
[Bron/Foto: Antwerp Pride]