Singer-songwriting sensation Joss Stone will appear at the ninth Exeter Pride, which will take place in the city on Saturday, May 13.
Joss, who hails from Uffculme and still lives in Mid Devon, as well as attending to support the event, says she will take to the main stage to sing a song or two at the biggest free celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) communities in the county of Devon.
Joss recently returned from her Total World Tour which has seen her perform gigs at large and small venues across many continents.
She rose to fame in 2003 with her multi-platinum album The Soul Sessions, which made the 2004 Mercury Prize shortlist.
Her second album, the similarly multi-platinum Mind, Body and Soul, topped the UK Albums Chart for one week and spawned the top 10 hit You Had Me.
Both the album and single received a nomination at the 2005 Grammy Awards while Joss was nominated for Best New Artist, in the annual BBC poll of music critics.
Joss became the youngest British female singer ever to top the UK Albums Chart.
Her third album Introducing Joss Stone, released in 2007, became her first top five album in the United States while her fourth album Colour Me Free! and her fifth album LP1 both reached the top 10 on Billboard.
Throughout her career, Joss has sold 14 million albums worldwide, establishing her as one of the best-selling artists of her time, best-selling soul artists of the 2000s and best-selling British artists of her time.
She has earned numerous accolades, including two Brit Awards and has appeared in film and television roles.
The Soul Sessions Vol 2, released in 2012, was her fourth consecutive album to reach the top 10 Billboard 200.
Joss said she is “thrilled” to be supporting Exeter Pride this year. “It will be the first Pride event that I have ever attended, and where better than at my local Pride in Exeter.
“I feel it is important to support equality for everyone and am thrilled to be taking part.
“I am sure it will be a lot of fun.”
Chris Scadden, the chair of Exeter Pride committee, added: “Exeter Pride is a celebration of the city and county’s LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) communities.
“It is about us having pride in our contributions to not just a vibrant and diverse city, but all of Devon and the city and county having pride in us.
“It’s also important that, in the 50th anniversary year of the passing of the Sexual Offences Act and the beginning of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, that Exeter and Devon show a message of hope, solidarity and support to International LGBT+ communities still facing oppression, imprisonment and often violence.
He continued: “Exeter Pride would not be possible without generous donations from local businesses, organisations and individuals and the fundraising efforts of volunteers.
“Together with generous sponsorship from our partners, we are able to keep all our daytime events free-of-charge.”
Mr Scadden thanked Pride’s hard-working trustees and committee members and the 50 volunteers who help stage the event each year adding that without their support it would not be such a success.
The ninth annual Exeter Pride will include the popular rainbow flag march starting at noon from the St Sidwell Centre down Exeter High Street to Northernhay Gardens, Exeter Phoenix, Exeter Library and Rougemont Gardens, where a packed programme of activities awaits.
The parade will include community groups, firefighters, police, students, trade union and business LGBT+ groups plus individuals and will also include Street Heat samba band, a fire engine, an ambulance, Morris dancers and volunteers carrying a 50-metre rainbow flag.
Events and activities during the day will all be family friendly including activities for children, young people and adults.
The Pride Marketplace, will include dozens of stalls from a variety of organisations and there will also be a talking zone at Exeter Central Library, workshops, drumming, film shows, a panel debate, trans workshop and many other activities at Exeter Phoenix.
The march will arrive at Northernhay Gardens at 1pm and will be followed by a welcome to the afternoon’s activities from the Lord Mayor of Exeter, Councillor Cynthia Thompson and the MP for Exeter, Ben Bradshaw.
Entertainment on the main stage throughout the afternoon will include Spectrum Choir, Reigns who will perform the official 2017 Pride Anthem, South West Drag Idol heat winner Ruby Rawthorne and many bands, all hosted by Demeanor McCall.
Other guests attending will include Sandra from Chanel 4s, Gogglebox with others to be confirmed.
Rougemont Gardens will host the Family zone, with many children’s and family friendly activities and the Saturday afternoon will end with a ceilidh followed by La Voix’s Big Gay Eurovision Party and a club night with Magic Hatstand at Exeter Phoenix.
Prior to the main event on the Saturday, during the evening of Friday, May 12, there will be a Drag and Comedy Cabaret Evening at Exeter Phoenix.
For more information about Exeter Pride, click here: