A festival which hoped to promote the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community during the London Olympics has been cancelled.

Pride House will no longer take place in Clapham Common after organisers failed to secure sponsorship and headline artists.

The venture was backed by an array of celebrities, ranging from Stephen Fry to Ben Cohen, and promised a vibrant line up of entertainment across a period of 18 days.

There were high hopes it would raise the profile of Clapham, while creating awareness of homophobia in sport.

In an email leaked to this paper, executive director of Pride House, Chad Molleken, said: "A combination of the lack of sponsorship and headline entertainment has proven to make the event commercially unviable.

"It was not without considerable effort that we tried to make this happen."

The controversial festival resulted in the Friends of Clapham Common (FCC) being branded homophobic by its celebrity backers for initially opposing it.

It was resolved when the FCC apologised and said their complaints were based on environmental reasons.

Pride House was also blamed as one of the reasons the Brockwell Park Country Show was put back to September by some groups.

A political storm has erupted following the news it has been cancelled, with opposition councillors condemning Lambeth Council for pushing the plans ahead.

Tory Councillor Shirley Cosgrave, Clapham Common ward councillor said: "We had concerns about the financial viability of the event and hope that lessons will be learnt about the need for rigorous checking of applications before such events are given the go-ahead."

Labour Councillor Christopher Wellbelove said: "Sadly it seems that the event has been cancelled the event on Clapham Common which is of course very disappointing for many who hoped to attend the event.

"I do hope that Pride House will exist in some form during the period at the London 2012 given it aims of raising awareness of homophobia in sport are still extremely relevant, as is having a positive representation of the LGBT community at this and future games."

LGBT campaign group Stonewall said the cancellation of the festival will come as a blow to Britain's gay community, with Olympics organisers failing to promote sexual diversity.

A spokesperson said: "Unfortunately they have done little, if anything, to promote or reach out to the LGBT community. There is one openly gay paralympian show jumper on team GB.

"Given the Olympic Games legacy which said they would promote diversity, they are ignoring 3.7m around the country in sport."

Mr Molleken said: “"It is with huge disappointment that due to circumstances beyond our control we have had to withdraw the license application for the Pride House Festival on Clapham Common.

“We would like to thank Lambeth Council, local businesses and the residents who have continued to support the project. “We are currently exploring other options to ensure that Pride House is featured among the line up of proposed Olympic Houses in London this summer."


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