EXCITEMENT is building ahead of Weymouth and Portland's first Pride event as the line-up is announced.

Former member of boy band JLS, Aston Merrygold, who is now enjoying a solo career, will be headlining the main stage on Saturday night.

He will be supported by boy band Misunderstood who appeared on The X Factor last year.

The line-up also includes 1990s dance acts Booty Luv & Big Brovaz, Abba Revival, and from BBC1's All Together Now, The Sundaes. It will also feature cabaret acts and tribute bands including Vicki Vivacious and A Touch of Little Mix.

As reported, the three-day festival – the borough's first Pride event which celebrates inclusion and diversity – will be held in Weymouth's Radipole Gardens from July 26-28.

Organisers say it promises to be a family-friendly celebration for everyone to enjoy.

It kicks off on the Friday with a free Dorset Echo-backed event – The Family Fun Night from 4pm-9.30pm which includes an open-air cinema, face painting, glitter, popcorn and candy floss.

The Pride parade sponsored by Wessex FM is on the Saturday starting at Weymouth College and travelling down the Esplanade towards the Pavilion at 10.45am.

The festival gates open at Radipole Park at 12pm for a jam-packed day and evening full of live music, cabaret acts & DJ sets on the main stage. There will also be a silent disco, children’s entertainment, food stalls and bars.

There will be a second day of music and entertainment on the Sunday, culminating in a fireworks finale on Weymouth Beach.

In addition, organisers are working with businesses to create 'pop-up Pride' events. People who purchase a Pride wristband will be able to take advantage of a variety of special offers across the town this summer.

The driving force behind the Weymouth & Portland Pride and chairman of the organising committee is Jamie Crage who owns The Closet nightclub.

He said: “We are so excited to be bringing the very first Pride to Weymouth and also to get Weymouth on the national Pride calendar. "The committee was only formed in October; a small group of volunteers have been working tirelessly to create an event for everyone to enjoy – without their dedication and commitment Pride wouldn’t happen. We still have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we know with the continued support from the community we can achieve our vision to celebrate inclusion and diversity together with an amazing Pride event and create a legacy, not just for the LGBT community, but for the whole of Weymouth and Portland.”

How to get involved

Weymouth College has partnered with The Closet to produce and deliver the weekend of events.

Julia Cohen, Head of External Partnerships at Weymouth College and vice chairman of Weymouth & Portland Pride said: “Weymouth College is honoured to be supporting Weymouth & Portland Pride. For us, as an all-inclusive post 16 education provider, we feel that we have a duty to lead by example with support for the promotion of equality and diversity across all sectors. We also fully embrace a successful annual Pride event in Weymouth that will support the strengthening of our local economy."

If you would like to be involved in Weymouth & Portland Pride there are still numerous opportunities including business sponsorship, parade entries, Sunday main stage performances, community tent performances and speakers, food, trade, craft and charity stalls, as well a volunteer supporters.

To buy wristbands, which are now on sale, and find out more about Weymouth & Portland Pride including how to support it visit weymouth-pride.co.uk or email getintouch@weymouth-pride.co.uk