Belfast Pride 2017 – Parade

Full Terms and Conditions


Festival – Belfast Pride Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Belfast and runs over 100 events across 10 days. The festival will be launched this year in Belfast City Hall with the prestigious and free, Belfast Pride Awards on Friday 28th July and will run to Sunday 6th August with Pride Day and the centrepiece Pride Parade on Saturday 5th August.

Parade – The Belfast Pride Parade is the biggest cross community parade in Belfast, the main event in the LGBT calendar and the one of the key events in Belfast Pride festival. The parade is governed by Parading legislation through the Parades Commission and Belfast Pride’s Terms and Conditions, all organised groups need to apply and register so that we can ensure that the parade complies with the legislation, the Terms and Conditions and any additional advice from the PSNI and Belfast City Council.

Terms and Conditions – To ensure that the Parade is safe and enjoyable for everyone, everyone taking part in the Parade must comply with the terms and conditions in this document, as well as following all relevant laws. These terms and conditions are based on information from the police and the Parades Commission, as well as the experience of Belfast Pride from managing this event since 1991 on behalf of the LGBT community in Belfast.

There are three main sections in this document:

  • Section 1 – Rules that apply to everyone taking part
  • Section 2 – Rules that apply to Walking Groups
  • Section 3 – Rules that apply to Floats

We want the biggest, most diverse and representative parade that we can get. Individuals can obviously join the parade without registering but we are obliged to check and register groups and they must follow the rules in Sections 1 and 2 of this document.

This document uses the following definitions:

  • Pride Officials – this covers members of the Belfast Pride Committee, key Event staff and nominated contractors. Pride Officials will assist the Parade Manager in running the Parade on the day, and will be authorised to make decisions or refer to the Parade Manager as appropriate. You are required to follow all instructions from Pride Officials.
  • Stewards – this covers official Belfast Pride stewards who will help Pride Officials help with running the Parade.
  • Marshalls – groups will be required to provide a Lead Marshall and other Marshalls to assist with the management of entries according to their size. Marshalls must wear safety branding provided by Belfast Pride at all times.
  • Entry – this is any walking group, float, or combination of these that is taking part in the Parade.
  • Float – is any motorised vehicle that takes part in the Parade or any display item that is pushed or towed. The Parade Manager or Official will have the discretion to decide if an entry is a float.


Section 1 – Everyone

  • Every entry must have a Lead Marshall that Belfast Pride can liaise with – this is necessary so that Belfast Pride can communicate easily and reliably with the organisers of each entry. The Lead Marshall will be our main Lead Marshall and these details must be included on the application form. The Lead Marshall is the person who will take responsibility for the entry and must have sufficient authority within their own organisation to do this. The Lead Marshall must sign a form indicating that they have read this document.
  • The Lead Marshall should communicate with the Parade Manager, responding to any queries or comments by email or phone.
  • The Lead Marshall (or a nominated representative) must attend the Parade briefing meeting on Parade day. The time will be confirmed by email prior to the event. If the Lead Marshall does not attend, the entry may be excluded from the Parade.
  • Every entry should have its own insurance cover. Every entry is required to sign a disclaimer indemnifying Belfast Pride of all responsibility of any damages or insurance claims that may occur as a result of taking part in the Parade.
  • Entries can use props, flags and banners. These will need to be approved before the Parade leaves. Loose ropes must not hang down from any entry.
  • Banners, flags and placards add to the parade but should not cause obstructions or other safety issues. Flags and banners must not be more than 15’ (4.57m) high and must be of a construction or condition that causes a risk or inconvenience to others. The Parade Manager has full discretion on this on behalf of Belfast Pride.
  • Belfast Pride is an event about LGBTQ Equality in Belfast – you are asked to respect this and not to not dilute our message by promoting causes not reasonably related to this. Banners, flags and placards that are not reasonably related to the aims of Belfast Pride may not be permitted. The Belfast Pride flag, the rainbow flag and flags promoting groups taking part are the only ones permitted; please do not bring any other flags including flags that could be defined as national, regional or political flags.
  • You may bring flags, banners and placards for your own group to carry on the parade but you should not bring flags, banners and placards to distribute to other groups, participants or spectators. Please bring only what is needed for your own group. Belfast Pride will ask any group breaking this condition to stop and may ask the group to leave the parade.
  • Once the Parade has started, entries must not stop of their own accord and must only stop if instructed to do so by Belfast Pride officials or the emergency services, or if there are obstacles in the way, or for reasons of safety.
  • Fireworks, flammable goods, welding, flares and sparklers and any similar item are all prohibited as these can cause crowd safety issues.
  • Belfast Pride has to follow Belfast City Council’s guidelines on Litter and Cleansing. ( Legislation bans the distribution of any free printed material in the city centre without a licence – any individual or group that tries to distribute any unapproved materials on the Parade may be told to leave the Parade. This includes flyers, brochures, postcards, business cards, balloons, stickers and most other promotional material.
  • Anyone under the age of 16 in the Parade must be supervised at all times.
  • Microphones on sound systems should preferably be wired. If you are intending to use a microphone, you must agree to follow the guidelines.
  • The parade is an event for the whole LGBT family – you must not display nudity, simulate sex or a sex act, or act in any lewd way in the Parade.
  • You must not dress in a way that will cause distress or upset in the Parade. This includes clothing that could be deemed to be overly sexualised or overly revealing in a way that would not generally be acceptable in the city centre on Saturday afternoons.
  • Material that may be considered offensive (such as discriminatory material) will not be allowed in the Parade. If you have any doubts about what may be displayed, please contact the Parade Manager for clarification.
    • Comments relating to specific individuals and / or their beliefs are strictly forbidden.
    • Entries may display religious material but this must be respectful and positive in nature and must be sensitive to the beliefs of other people taking part in or observing the Parade. Any religious material, including the use of religious imagery must be explicitly cleared by the Parade Manager in advance of the Parade.
    • Entries may display political material but this must be respectful and positive in nature and must be sensitive to the beliefs of other people taking part in or observing the Parade. Any political material must be explicitly cleared by the Parade Manager in advance of the Parade.
  • Music being played should not contain swear words or explicit sexual references – this includes all music played on floats and other parade entries. You will be expected to check this and able to certify it.

Violating these terms and conditions may result in exclusion from this Parade or future Parades. If you violate any of these terms and conditions during the Parade you may be told to leave the Parade. If you are told to leave the Parade, you will not be allowed to re-join and you or your entry or group may not be allowed to take part in future Parades.

  • Belfast Pride will assess your application as quickly as we can. If your application is accepted, we will issue an invoice to you based on the category you applied under and the applicable fee for this. For details of the fees required, and how to pay, please see the application form. Entry fees must be paid before the Parade. We will accept cash on the day, but only if arranged in advance directly with this year’s parade Manager. This year it is : Gerard Mc Atamney
  • Your application to take part in the Parade may be rejected for any reason at the discretion of the Parade Manager. Appeals may be made to the Chair of Belfast Pride but please be aware that any rejection is likely to have been discussed and approved by the Management Committee.
  • Any entry may have to follow additional rules or restrictions that the Parade Manager may need to apply. These additional rules may apply to all entries or to specific entries only.
  • No alcohol at all is permitted on any parade entry – Belfast Pride will check parade entries before the parade and will ask that any alcohol found is removed from the entry completely or the entry will not be allowed to take part in the parade and may be referred to the PSNI and / or Belfast City Council enforcement officials.
  • No alcohol at all is to be consumed during the Parade by spectators or participants – it is illegal to drink on the streets of the City Centre. Belfast Pride is responsible for enforcing this among parade participants. Anyone found with alcohol will be asked to surrender the alcohol and may be told to leave the Parade. Any float which is found to contain alcohol or be supplying alcohol to participants will be removed from the parade immediately and may be referred to the PSNI and / or Belfast City Council enforcement officials. The PSNI may also check floats and participants during the parade.
  • If anyone in your group is injured during the parade or if anyone is injured by your entry, you must inform a Pride Official as soon as possible and no later than 30 minutes after the end of the Parade. First Aid is available at Custom House Square, in an emergency, call the Emergency Services first.

2  Walking Groups


  • Each walking group must supply a Lead Marshall who will be responsible for ensuring the safety of their group and reporting any issue to Belfast Pride Officials on the parade, additional Marshall may required depending on the size of each entry.

Each Marshall will be required to wear the safety branding provide by Belfast Pride only and not any other – this will be strictly enforced to ensure the safety of all participants and will be checked at the parade assembly point. We require this as Belfast Pride or the PSNI may need to quickly identify the person with authority for a group in an emergency or crowd safety situation.

If a walking group has more than twenty people you must supply one Marshall for every additional ten people or part thereof. For example, a walking group of seventeen people must supply one Marshall, a walking group of twenty-five must supply two and a walking group of 32 must supply three.

  • Many participants in the Parade like to perform and sometimes use microphones and sound systems to add to that performance. To use a microphone on the Parade, you must get permission from the Parade Manager before the day of the parade.

These rules are to make sure that the Parade is safe and enjoyable for everyone from the community, including families with young children. No Offensive language can be used at any times, anyone who does so will be removed from the parade immediately – please refer to 1.16 and 1.17 for guidance.

  • Fireworks, flammable goods, welding, flares and sparklers and any similar item are all prohibited as these can cause crowd safety issues. It is extremely important this is reinforced to all members of your group verbally on the day as well as in advance.
  • Any decorative items or props used by a walking group must not cause a hazard for spectators. Entrants are expected to ensure decorations or props are kept within the parade route.

3   Floats


  • The driver or drivers of a float must attend the Parade briefing meeting on Parade day. The time will be confirmed by email prior to the event. If they are unable to do this, the entry may be excluded from the Parade.
  • All entries will be numbered and allocated a position in the parade in advance, this allocation is final.
  • The float driver must sign a form indicating that they have read this document.
  • If anyone on your float or any other participant or spectator is injured at any time by your float or any decoration, you must tell the police and a Belfast Pride official as soon as possible. This may be classed as a road traffic accident, and dealt with accordingly by the police. Decorations must be secure and safe.
  • Floats must not be more than 15’ high, 8’6 wide or 40’ long.
  • Floats will be required to display a sign stating ‘Belfast Pride Festival Official Vehicle’ or similar text. This will be provided on the day and must be returned at the end of the parade.
  • No alcohol is to be consumed on or in any float at any point before or during the Parade. There should be no alcohol present on any float during the Parade. Anyone found with alcohol will be told to surrender the alcohol and may be told to leave the Parade. Additionally, the float may be removed from the Parade and may be referred to the PSNI and / or Belfast City Council enforcement officials.
  • There must be a 2-foot distance of any decoration from floats to the ground.
  • Helmets must be worn at all times on motorcycles – this is a legal requirement.
  • Any child under 12 years of age travelling on a vehicle must be seated with a seat belt fastened.
  • People on or in a vehicle must not enter or exit a vehicle while in motion at any time. Floats must not stop to allow people to join or leave the float at any time – you should plan for any people on your float to remain there for the duration of the Parade, this means that no one can get off returning towards Custom House Square and everyone will stay on until the return to Donegall Quay. This will be enforced by parade officials and PSNI.
  • All float drivers must have a valid licence and insurance to drive their vehicle. The licence and insurance certificate will be checked on the day.
  • All floats should follow the Highway Code and road traffic regulations.
  • Each entry must supply people to act as Marshalls who must walk alongside the float and who must wear the Official Belfast Pride Volunteer T-Shirt and not any other. If an entry has one float, two Marshalls must be supplied. If an entry has two floats, three Marshalls must be supplied. If an entry has three or more floats, contact the Parade Manager for details of how many Marshalls must be provided. Each Marshall will be required to wear the Official Belfast Pride Volunteer T-Shirt and not any other.
  • After 2016 Parade it was requested by PSNI that we restrict the use of smoke generating machines on moving vehicles as it can potentially restrict the view of the driver. It has been decided at committee level that we are now prohibiting the use of these totally in keeping with their advice.


Timings :

  • 10.30am Please be at Donegall Quay with your float or vehicle entry
  • 12.00 noon All walking groups should begin to assemble at Side of Custom House    Square, get in to position according to your numbered position.
  • 12.30pm Parade will be compiled and lined up and brought round to Custom Square
  • 1.00pm Parade will begin at Custom House Square


Follow our lead:

  • Please follow all directions from the Parade Manager and Belfast Pride Stewards.
  • Please remember that you are responsible for the behaviour of the people on your float or entry – please ensure it meets the parade Guidelines, we will be ready to enforce these where necessary.


Show your best side:

  • The parade will be monitored by the Parades Commission and the PSNI as well as by those who do not want Pride to be a success. Remember that you are in public, so please do not make any obscene gestures, use abusive language, be respectful or spectators and business on the route and do not expose yourself or allow others to do so.
  • It is illegal to drink in public – this includes on the parade route and on floats. Anyone found drinking on the parade will be asked to dispose of their alcohol or leave the parade.  If they fail to co-operate, the PSNI or Belfast City Council Enforcement Officials will be notified and they may seek to remove a participant / float from the parade and pursue prosecution.
  • It’s better to ignore any protesters – look the other way, do not make obscene gestures, use abusive language or allow anyone in your group to do so. There isn’t time to stop for a debate or meaningful engagement. PSNI and Parades Commission monitors will be observing key points and may be filming, the PSNI will intervene to prevent any public order issues and you may be asked to leave the parade.
  • Please do what the Parade officials tell you to do. We organise the Parade so everyone can enjoy it, if we give you an instruction it is for the good of the parade.
  • Keep it positive – Belfast Pride is a protest and celebration, it is a positive and upbeat reflection of our community. Any signs and banners deemed to be offensive in accordance with these Terms & Conditions by Belfast Pride will be removed from the parade, any person or group who does not follow an instruction from a Belfast Pride Official may also be removed from the parade.