ONE OF the UK’s largest free LGBT festivals is counting down to its main weekend of music with a series of satellite events.

Newcastle Pride 2017, sponsored by business improvement district company NE1, is hosting a total of 15 satellite events on the lead up to – and following – the annual Pride weekend.

And the Northern Pride Black Tie Ball, which took place on Wednesday, 14 June, was the first in the series of satellite events to be held ahead of the festival, which returns with its biggest ever programme of live music on 21 – 23 July at Newcastle’s Town Moor.

Following on from the ball is the Your Homes Newcastle LGBTQ+ Youth Prom on Friday, 23 June – which is a free night for LGBT youth, aged 14-24, to celebrate being who they are in a safe – and welcoming – atmosphere.

LGBTQ+ Arts Festival, curious?, is back for another year with an extended programme of live art performances, talks and workshops exploring and celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer culture.

The curious? programme, which includes a mixture of free and ticketed events, will be held across the region from5 – 9 July, with a grand finale to be held at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art on Sunday, 9 July.

A few days later, a free curated art gallery of work by seven emerging LGBTQ+ artists will be on show to the public at Commercial Union House, Newcastle from 13 July – 19 August.

Thursday, 13 July will also see a complimentary evening of taster talks by LGBT History Project North East on LGBT history in the North East, the UK and further afield.

Miss Rory will be returning to the Boulevard cabaret club stage on Sunday, 16 July to host the fourth annual Dragged Through The Generations, where drag acts from the past and present return to their native North East for a night of glitz, gags and glamour.

And all proceeds from the £5 ticket sales go to Northern Pride to ensure the Newcastle Pride weekend remains free to all.

Seasoned journalist and author Paul Flynn will be on hand at Carliol House, Newcastle on Wednesday, 19 July to sign copies of his book Good As You – From Prejudice To Pride: 30 Years Of Gay Britain, ahead of the main Newcastle Pride weekend, which features an LGBT 5k fun run, Pride parade, music and a candlelit vigil.

Mark Nichols, Chair of Northern Pride, said: “Newcastle Pride is already one of the largest free events of its kind in the UK and as it’s our tenth birthday year, we’re going even bigger with a series of satellite events spreading right across the summer.

“And the fun doesn’t stop once the Pride weekend is over, as our popular dog show Paws with Pride returns onSunday, 13 August, along with an LGBT friendly sports day hosted by Pride Health Games at Leazes Park.”

“We encourage everyone to come along to both our satellite events and the main Pride weekend, to enjoy what is set to be a memorable summer of celebration, community and most importantly – pride.”

Full listings for all of these events can be found by visiting www.northern-pride.com or by searching northernprideuk on Facebook and Twitter.