Gay rugby legend Gareth Thomas and referee Nigel Owens are supporting Cardiff Mardi Gras.

The 11th festival will be held on Saturday September 4th and 40,000 people are expected to attend.

Owens has agreed to become festival patron while Thomas, now signed to rugby league side Crusaders, is also backing the event.

The main event in Coopers Field will be preceded by a week’s worth of celebrations ranging from concerts and dance performances, sports events, theatre groups, photographic and art exhibitions to tea dances.

Nigel Owens was in his late teens or early twenties before being certain he was gay

“It is truly a privilege and honour to be asked to be a patron,” said Owens, who was the first openly gay figure in professional rugby.

“We have all come a long way in recent years but there is still much to be achieved.

“Cardiff Mardi Gras is both a great celebration but also a beacon of the fair, diverse and equal society we all long and strive for.”

Richard Newton, chair of the volunteer organising committee for Mardi Gras, said: “This is now a highlight of the summer in Wales.

“We are keen to see as many people from across our diverse communities come along and have a great day.

“I am really excited by the events we are also planning during the festival week.”

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