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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Festival kick-starts gay empire
Grace Jones
Grace Jones will headline Purple in the Park
A nightclub impresario is hoping to establish the UK's first gay entertainment empire, starting with a music festival that could challenge the dominance of Mardi Gras.

Twysden Moore, a DJ who owns clubs and bars in London, is launching Purple in the Park after deciding that the gay and lesbian community was badly served by major events.

Twysden Moore
Moore: Says festival will not be political (photo: Scott Nunn)
He already runs Purple Radio, a gay digital radio station, and said he wants to expand to create an all-round entertainment brand.

He is also putting on a music festival for Australian, New Zealand and South African backpackers the day after Purple in the Park.

Purple in the Park will be headlined by legendary diva Grace Jones, with many of the capital's best-known gay and lesbian clubs and DJs appearing.

It is intended to be a dance music event - as opposed to the more kitsch and political Mardi Gras, which is also larger and more established.

Mr Moore, who is the son of the late dean of St Albans, says he is not directly challenging Mardi Gras.

We're not on the campaign rights trail - we are commercially savvy

Twysden Moore
But he is aiming to establish Purple a major player in the gay and lesbian market.

"It seemed like an obvious thing to move onto. There isn't a gay entertainment brand at the moment," he told BBC News Online.

"There's lots of magazines, clubs, bars and a couple of chains of shops, but there wasn't anyone providing a straight-forward entertainment product, apart from Mardi Gras.

"We want to become associated with supplying good entertainment. We're not on the campaign rights trail. We are commercially savvy."

Mardi Gras 2001
Mardi Gras is a larger and more established event
He said he has moved into the gay and lesbian market because it was one area where there were still commercial opportunities - but denied that he was exploiting the pink pound.

"I have been involved within the gay scene, but I'm not gay," he said.

"I've been going out on the gay scene forever because I know all the promoters and I like it, it's fantastic fun. It just takes someone to get off their arse and do something about it, and I saw the opportunity.

"If there's something that's under-served then that's a good market to go into. It's not a matter of the pink pound being more profitable," he said.

Mr Moore is staging the two 50,000-capacity festivals in Brockwell Park, south London, over the Jubilee weekend.

If there's a market there and it needs to be served, someone's going to come along and serve it

Twysden Moore
The second day will be called The Fierce Festival, and will fly 16 bands from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, including Midnight Oil and Australian Pink Floyd.

It hopes to attract the large backpacker and ex-pat community, who have few dedicated major events in London.

"If there's a market there and it needs to be served, someone's going to come along and serve it, and in this case it's been me," Mr Moore said.

Both events have lower ticket prices than other one-day events on the festival scene, at 15 for Purple and 20 for Fierce. Tickets for other events can cost up to 50.

See also:

25 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Gay station leads digital push
25 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Boy George still fights for equality
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