Brighton Pride date after cancer surgery shows "healing power of music"

Abalicious will be headlining the Brighton Pride Street Party on August 4, featuring former Pop Idol finalist Carla Winters.
Carla - AbbaliciousCarla - Abbalicious
Carla - Abbalicious

Carla will be performing just seven months after having a double mastectomy.

It’s a story she is keen to tell because ultimately it is a story of hope.

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“I got diagnosed with breast cancer last year,” Carla says. “I have got the same gene in the family that Angelina Jolie has got. At the age of 39, I had to make the decision of having a double mastectomy. I had the mastectomy in January.

“I was actually touring with breast cancer. I was actually touring with Bjorn Again at the time.

“I was on the tour to take my mind of the chemotherapy and the hair loss, but I was also wanting to inspire people to be strong and almost to use music as a healer.

“The music of Abba itself is so uplifting and happy that it was almost that that brought me through.

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“There was a point in the show where I was singing ‘I am the girl with golden hair’, and that was quite heart-breaking because I didn’t have any. I had to wear wigs, and obviously it got me down at times.”

But she enjoyed fantastic support and is particularly grateful for the kindness and help she received from She is now working to raise awareness of breast cancer plus BRCA1 gene B.

“I got the clear in January but I have to be in remission now for five years.”

Things are looking distinctly hopeful for Carla now... though more procedures lie ahead.

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“I have to have further treatment. They have to do more reconstruction and also ovary removal.”

But as she says, music is healing, a great source of comfort, a great boost and a great reason for keeping going even when times are tough.

Music has helped Carla hugely.

“You have got to have something to push yourself for every day.”

As for Abalicious: “I have been running the show for about 18 years.

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“It is a kind of cheeky parody not so much of Abba tributes, but more of a tastefully presented Abba show with a twist.

“It is slightly on the edge. Our Frida is quite outspoken. She is very sassy. Agnetha is quite a demure lady. I am Agnetha, would you believe. I started off as Frida but we have had several different people in the show and so I moved to Agnetha.

“I was on Pop Idol in 2001 and I worked around the world on shows, but somebody said to me that I really looked like Agnetha from Abba and why didn’t I do an Abba tribute. And it just developed from there. But we have got our own twist on things.”

She and the band are delighted to be heading to Brighton Pride.

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“Pride have been very supportive of Abalicious for years. I have done a few Prides through the years, and to get this gig is huge.

“Brighton is one of the main centres of Pride. I have also had a lot of connections with the area.

“I was at the Brighton Centre at Christmas.

“The music of Abba appeals to everybody, but I would say that the energy that we have is very much a happy positive energy.

“And I think that that really relates to Pride.

“It is all about everyone having a massive party and it is all about everyone coming out and singing and just having a great time.”

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The Pride Village Party in Brighton’s famous Kemptown is when businesses across St James St and Marine parade come together to celebrate Pride and raise extra fund for the Rainbow Fund and social impact fund.

It features entertainment zones, bars and venues, live performances and cabaret, DJs, drag artists, singers, performers, musicians come together for a weekend of fundraising celebrations over Aug 3-4.