Parade Terms and Conditions
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All parades in Belfast and anyone who takes part in a parade is subject to the Parades Commission’s Code of Conduct as laid down in the Public Processions (NI) Act 1998. These are legally enforceable Guidelines and breaches can lead to prosecution. This type of law and its application to Pride parades is unique to Northern Ireland; it is a legacy of the Peace Process and governs parades and marches of any type or size. This law makes Belfast Pride a heavily regulated Pride parade, however, this law applies to everyone and we have no choice but to follow this. Any breaches of the rules, even by one person, could lead to a range of restrictions and penalties on that person and the parade. We want the message of Equality to be the focus of the parade and to maximise the impact it has on the city and beyond.
The Belfast Pride Parade is the biggest single parade in Belfast, the biggest cross community parade in Belfast, the main event in the LGBTQIA+ calendar and one of the key events in Belfast Pride festival. It is important that we keep everyone safe while delivering this important event for the LGBTQIA+ community in Belfast.
The parade is now a major crowd safety operation bringing additional requirements and regulations. All organised groups and their members need to play their part in making sure the parade runs smoothly – all need to apply and register so that we can ensure the parade complies with the legislation, the Terms and Conditions, and any additional advice from the PSNI and Belfast City Council.
Terms and Conditions
We have collected here the regulations from parading law, other relevant laws that apply including bylaws that apply to Belfast city centre as well as safety advice from the PSNI, Belfast City Council, the Parades Commission as well as the experience of Belfast Pride from managing this event since 1991 on behalf of the LGBTQIA+ community in Belfast.
The rules below apply to Everyone taking part and there are additional rules that apply to Walking Groups and Floats. We want the biggest, most diverse, and representative parade that we can get. Individuals can join the parade without registering but we are obliged to check and register groups and they must follow the rules in this document.
We use the following definitions:
- Entry – this is any walking group, float, or combination of these that is taking part in the Parade.
- Pride Officials – this covers members of the Belfast Pride Committee, Belfast Pride Trustees and also key Event staff and nominated contractors. Pride Officials will assist the Parade Managers in running the Parade on the day and will be authorised to make decisions or refer to the Parade Managers as appropriate. You are required to follow all instructions from Pride Officials at all times.
- Stewards – this covers official Belfast Team Pride stewards who will help Pride Officials to manage the Parade.
- Marshalls – all groups entering the parade 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 and will be required to supervise their entry during the parade.
- Float – is any motorised or wheeled vehicle or any display item that is wheeled or towed in the Parade other than a stereo or amplifier. The Parade Manager or Official has the discretion to decide if an entry is a float and any decisions are final.
1. Rules that apply to everyone
1.1 Each 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 contact on the day 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. We require acknowledgement from Lead Marshall that they have read and understand our full T’s & C’s .
1.2 The Lead Marshall should communicate with the Parade Manager, responding to any queries or comments by email or phone.
1.3 The Lead Marshall must attend the Parade briefing meeting for Parade Day as well as any additional Parade Training during the run up to Parade Day. The times will be confirmed by email prior to the events. If the Lead Marshall or a representative does not attend, the entry may be excluded from the Parade. Due to the huge demand we are experiencing on parade applications we will be aiming to CLOSE the application process min 3 weeks prior to the Day to allow us to properly plan the parade safely.
1.4 Every entry should have its own insurance cover.
1.5 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.
1.6 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 4.57m high (14’ 7″) high and must not cause a risk or inconvenience to others. The Parade Manager has full discretion on this on behalf of Belfast Pride.
1.7 Belfast Pride is an event about LGBTQIA+ Equality – you are asked to respect this and not to 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.
1.8 The Pride flag, the Belfast Pride branded flag and flags promoting LGBTQIA+ groups and LGBTQIA+ identities taking part are the only ones permitted. Please do not bring any national, regional, or political flags of any type or any variations on these as they are not permitted – we want to stay focused on LGBTQIA+ issues.
1.9 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.
1.10 No combat / military or similar clothing or paraphernalia suggesting paramilitary organisations or similar is permitted in the parade, this includes banners, flags and any other items.
1.11 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.
1.12 Fireworks, flammable goods, welding, flares, smoke flares, glitter guns, sparklers and any similar item are all prohibited as these can cause crowd safety issues including panic and crushes. It is extremely important this is reinforced to all members of your group verbally on the day as well as in advance.
1.13 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. Only Belfast Pride hold Permits from BCC to collect monies on Parade day in the streets or Custom Square.
1.14 Anyone under the age of 16 in the Parade must be supervised at all times.
1.15 The parade is a public event for the whole LGBTQIA+ 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. Parading legislation as well as Public Order legislation applies here.
1.16 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.
- The parade is for all of the LGBTQIA+ family and any group that seeks to deny the rights of any group in the parade will not be allowed to take part.
- Belfast Pride is a signatory of the European Pride Organisers Association’s #PrideWithTheT declaration – we affirm the place of Trans people at the heart of Pride, and we state that those who oppose equality and respect for any section of our community including Trans people are as unwelcome at Pride as those who oppose equality and respect for every section of our community www.epoa.eu/pridewiththet
- Comments relating to specific individuals and / or their beliefs or political opinions are strictly forbidden – libel and defamation laws apply to the parade as elsewhere.
- 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.
1.17 Music being played should not contain swear words or explicit sexual references – this includes music played on floats and other parade entries. You will be expected to check this and able to certify what versions of songs you will be playing. The Parades Commission Code of Conduct applies to music played and the content of music. Breaching these terms and conditions may result in exclusion from this Parade or future Parades and action from the Parades Commission.
1.18 Laws on the public consumption of alcohol apply. 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.
1.19 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 as at any other time. Belfast Pride is responsible for enforcing this among parade participants and Belfast City Council enforcement officials and the police will enforce it outside the parade. Anyone found with alcohol will be asked to surrender the alcohol or 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.
1.20 If anyone in your group is injured during the parade or if anyone is injured by your entry, your Lead Marshall must inform a Pride Official on the parade as soon as possible and no later than 30 minutes after the end of the Parade. First Aid is available at Custom House Square but in an emergency, call the Emergency Services first.
1.21 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 or the category we have assigned to you along with 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 in advance by BACS, bank transfer or card using (please choose one of these options when completing your application). We will invoice you as soon as your application is processed. Any fees outstanding to Belfast Pride mean that your entry will not be accepted.
1.22 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 Co- Chairs of Belfast Pride but please be aware that will be a Team decision discussed and approved by the Management Committee and Trustees.
1.23 Any entry may have to follow additional rules or restrictions that the Parade Managers may need to apply. These additional rules may apply to all entries or to specific entries only.
2. Additional rules for walking groups
2.1 All entries will be numbered and allocated a position in the parade in advance. This year we are introducing Coloured branded wristband and these will be sent to you 3 weeks before the event along with a Map of where your group need to assemble. You may only invite the max number of people you applied and paid for as there will be a requirement to show a valid Branded wrist band to gain entry to your area. Allocation of wristbands is final. The parade is led by the Belfast Pride banner, the 50m Gilbert Baker flag and an invited community group chosen by Belfast Pride who we deem in need of specific publicity or recognition. We accept all suggestions for this opportunity by stating on application.
2.2 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 Marshalls may be required depending on the size of each entry. This is an important crowd safety role and this should be the focus of the Lead Marshall. Each Marshall will be required to wear the branded Hi Viz safety vest 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 – your entry cannot join the parade without this or if the safety vest is not worn properly. 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 up to 10 people you must have one Marshall, who will be the Lead Marshall. You must supply one more Marshall for every additional ten people. Marshalls are responsible for supervising an entry and crowd safety and should not be taking part in the entry by carrying flags, banners or other items.
2.3 At the Parade Assembly Point pre advised all groups will need to demonstrate they have the right number of Marshalls for their entry and each Marshall will need to wear Belfast Pride safety branding. The group will not be approved to join the parade until these conditions are met.
2.4 The parade is subject to the Public Processions (NI) 1998 and the Parades Commission Code of Conduct – this is a legacy of the Troubles and Pride parades here are included in how the law defines parades, marches, and processions the law applies to everyone taking part in the parade and can be enforced against breaches by individuals, groups and Belfast Pride. The Parades Commission has the power to places restrictions on future parades which will affect the whole LGBT+ community. All participants should make their groups aware of the Parades Commission’s Code of Conduct, we would draw your attention to Appendix A governing conduct:
‘All participants should: Behave with regard for the rights, traditions and feelings of
others in the area of the parade. Refrain from using words or behaviour considered sectarian, abusive, insulting or lewd. Comply with the directions of the organiser, the stewards and the police at all times. Behave with dignity and respect in the vicinity of churches, war memorials, and cemeteries, in interface areas and where the majority population of an area are of a different tradition.’ – Parades Commission
2.5 Many participants in the Parade use microphones and sound systems. Microphones and sound systems must be wired to avoid interference with safety equipment. If you are intending to use a microphone, you must agree to follow guidelines and must get permission from the Parade Manager before the day of the parade. No offensive language can be used at any time and anyone who does so will be removed from the parade immediately – please refer to 1.15 and 1.16 for guidance. These rules are to make sure that the Parade is safe and enjoyable for everyone from the community and to comply with parading law.
2.6 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 and managed safely along the route.
3. Additional rules for Floats
3.1 All entries will be numbered and allocated a position in the parade in advance, this allocation is final.
3.2 The driver or drivers of a float must attend the Parade briefing meeting as advised 3 weeks prior to Parade Day. The time and date will be confirmed by email prior to the event. If they are unable to do this, the entry may be excluded from the Parade.
3.3 The float driver must provide a valid license on the day to allow him to drive the vehicle type legally.
3.4 If anyone on your float or any other participant or spectator is injured at any time by your float or any decoration, your Lead Marshall 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.
3.5 Floats must not be more than 4.57m / 4’ 7″ high, 2.59m / 8’6 wide or 12.19m 40’ long.
3.6 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.
3.7 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.
3.8 There must be a 2-foot distance of any decoration from floats to the ground.
3.9 Smoke machines are not allowed on any float as these are a crowd safety risk during a parade.
3.10 Belfast City Council rules on the distribution of materials also apply to floats – see 1.13.
3.11 Helmets must be worn at all times on motorcycles, or any motor assisted bike.
3.12 Any child under 12 years of age travelling on a vehicle must be seated with a seat belt fastened and floats should be designed with this in mind or under 12s should not be part of that float.
3.13 People on or in a vehicle must not enter or exit a vehicle while in motion at any time during parade. 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 the starting point. Parade officials and PSNI will enforce this.
3.14 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.
3.15 All floats should follow the Highway Code and road traffic regulations.
3.16 Each entry must supply people to act as Marshalls who must walk alongside the float and who must wear the Official Belfast Pride Hi Viz Vests and not any other or any branding that obscures this vest.
- If an entry has one float, Four Marshalls must be supplied.
- If an entry has two floats, Six 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.
- Marshalls are responsible for supervising an entry and should not be taking part in the entry by carrying flags, banners or other items.
3.17 Motorcycles – please contact us for advice if you intend to enter a single or multiple motorcycles into the parade. Non-motorised bikes – we welcome bikes as part of the parade, including groups. Please contact us or for advice on groups. For all bike entries, helmets must be worn at all times, bells must be fitted and working, for safety and banners or placards cannot be carried while riding the bike.
3.18 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 or the category we have assigned to you along with 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 prefer payment by BACS or card in advance.
3.19 If your parade application is refused, we will provide you with full reasons. You will have the right to appeal to the Parade Manager in the first instance and we will advise you on options for resubmitting
3.20 Any entry may have to follow additional rules or restrictions that the Parade Managers may need to apply. These additional rules may apply to all entries or to specific entries only.
Parade entry fees
30 Parade entry wristbands
60 parade entry wristbands
90 parade entry wristbands
30 additional wristbands
Float and 30 parade entry wristbands
Self-funded Staff Groups/
Small Business Groups