Events were still scaled down, but Corona-related restrictions were eased just in time for annual Pride events around Norway that recognize gender diversity and tolerance for love in all its forms. Pride’s colours of the rainbow have already been flying, especially in Oslo.
“It’s more important now than ever for our public,” Fredrik Dreyer, chief of the Oslo Pride festival, told newspaper Dagsavisen. After a year when socializing has been difficult at best, the recent and ongoing reopening of Oslo has allowed Dreyer and his colleagues to expand several events from small, symbolic gatherings of no more than 50 people, to as many as 600 outdoors, or more.
“It’s been demanding to prepare for this year’s festival, given all the uncertainty,” Dreyer said. “Now we can carry out lots of events with lots more people, and we’re super-glad about that.”
Pride Park in downtown Oslo, for example, was set to open on Wednesday with concerts, a show and the sudden ability for guests to reserve tables in advance. It will be a far cry from the roughly 70,000 people who streamed through Pride Park in June 2019, before the Corona crisis set in and spoiled last year’s festival, but Dreyer is delighted to be able to welcome as many as 1,800 people given some new expanded limits.
What’s become a traditional Pride Parade, attracting as many as 300,000 participants and spectators before Corona cancelled it last year, will still need to be held mostly digitally, but festival organizers hint that Oslo residents can expect surprises popping up around town. Some claimed they’d let themselves be inspired by members of the Royal Family, who suddenly drove out of the palace on the 17th of May last year and again this year to wave at Norwegians who weren’t able to march in front of their balcony like normal.
What’s most important, insists Dreyer, is for LHBT+ people “to be present and visible in the city.” Pride events are also going on in many other cities and town around Norway. Oslo Pride will receive funding through the state budget next year for the first time, and flag rules have already been changed to allow the rainbow Pride flags to wave from state and municipal flagpoles.
For details on the Oslo Pride program this week, click here (external link, in Norwegian).