The August Bank Holiday weekend once again brings us Manchester Pride’s BIG Weekend: four days of fabulous fun in and around the city’s world famous Gay Village. This year’s festivities celebrates Manchester’s history of charity fundraising events for LGBT life, marking the 25th anniversary of the inauguration of the Village Charity in 1991. We look ahead to the biggest and best events of the festival.
Main stage acts
Three stages bring bring iconic acts to the city across the weekend, with the festival headlined by Texas and DJ Fresh, the legendary Danni Minogue and X-Factor alumni Union J. Also included on the main stage lineup are Alesha Dixon, Atomic Kitten, Little Boots and Bipolar Sunshine. The Sackville Boutique Stage and Gaydio Dance Arena bring some variety to the mix, offering everything from House DJ sets to classical concerts.
The undeniable highlight is set to be Saturday’s parade, lead by Sir Ian McKellen
. One of the world’s leading LGBT right’s campaigners, McKellen was announced as the Grand Marshal in July, taking the helm from last year’s leader, Orange is the New Black’s Lea Delaria.
This year’s parade theme is Devotion, with Pride organisers calling for both parade participants and attendees to celebrate who and what they are devoted to. Amongst those already taking part are Coronation Street, Greater Manchester Police, Have a Gay Day, Manchester Amnesty, Nandos, and more.
Saturday and Sunday see the two official Pride afterparties, hosted by WE Party and Beyond. WE Party’s Love Boat sets sail from the Manchester Academy on Saturday night, promising the ‘raunchy seadog shenanigans’ that brought Madrid Pride 2014 to an ecstatic end. Headlined by the likes of WE Party Captain Binomio, Dave Booth, and WE party Manchester residents Nik Denton and Lee Harris.
Beyond then take over The Ritz on Sunday night with their theme of Britannia, a celebration of all things British. With Wayne G, Tony English and Matt Bogard in charge of the music and a stellar dance crew hailing from Manchester, London and Spain, this is a night not to be missed.
The annual Expo returns, offering exhibitors the chance to get ‘up-close and personal’ with Pride visitors. With organisations ranging from Pride Angel Magical Pride to Greenpeace and The Lowry, the expo is the perfect chance to find out more about wonderful causes and important services, as well as discover more of what Manchester has to offer.
The weekend concludes with the George House Trust Candlelit Vigil as a minute’s silence is taken to remember those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS worldwide. The spiritual heart of the festival, the Vigil creates a magical and moving atmosphere in the heart of Manchester, with the Sackville Gardens transformed into a silent sea of flickering lights. The event is open to all, a Big Weekend wristband is not required, but capacity is limited.
Make sure to buy your ticket! Fourth release tickets are now on sale
. On top of access to the festival’s biggest events, weekend wristbands
also grant wearers free travel within the City Zone on the Metrolink service and much more.
More Pride info: To book Exclusive Gay Travel packages visit Marriottweekends.co.uk/pride.
Words by LOUIS SHANKAR.