Brighton Pride tickets sold on the day will cost £17.50, it has been announced.

This is the first time the festival has charged party-goers an entry fee and organisers say it is necessary to ensure safety.

Local residents will be able to buy ‘early bird’ tickets priced at £8.50 for a limited period, while general sale tickets will be £12.50. People buying tickets on the day will be charged £17.50.

No concessions for students, disabled people or the unemployed have been announced yet, although some tickets are being set aside for community groups.

In a statement posted on Brighton Pride’s website, organisers said the ticket prices were justified to control visitor numbers, fund “frontline LGBT services” and dissuade troublemakers.

Pride spokeswoman Judith Manson said that the festival was still working out a maximum capacity with emergency services and the council.

Last year saw more than 160,000 people joining the festival. A provisional total of 45,000 tickets will go on sale this year, which organisers expect will bring in around £375,000 – half of the estimated total income this year.

In January, the festival was criticised by former chair David Harvey for not giving enough funding to local charities. This year, the festival hopes to give £40,000 to the local voluntary sector, although this will not come from ticket sales.

Ms Manson told PinkNews.co.uk: “None of the money from ticket sales is going to charitable causes. But all of the money from bucket donations is being ringfenced for charity and voluntary groups.

“Last week, we took £23,500, give or take, in donations. Of that, £3,000 went to the paid collectors. So £20,000 went to charity and we may add more to that afterwards.”

Ms Manson said organisers had not yet decided whether to ban visitors from bringing their own alcohol. However, she said that glass bottles would definitely be banned from the park.

The decision to charge entry and limit numbers is a controversial one and Brighton Pride’s Facebook page has been inundated with complaints.

Ms Manson responded: “We’ve kept ticket prices as low as we possibly can. I just have to remind everyone why we are doing this – to make it safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

“After last year we had an extensive consultation and everyone said something’s got to change, that it was too busy, too crowded.

“The statutory bodies said that Pride has to be ticketed and fenced as it’s the only way to make it safe and enjoyable for everyone.”