Manchester Pride is one of the largest and most anticipated Prides on the calendar of LGBT events in the UK and this is its 23rd year running, with more than 150,000 people expected to turn up to the “gay capital of the north” over the Big Weekend on 23rd-26th August. In April, this year’s theme was announced to be “Acceptable in the 80′s” – looking how far gay rights in the UK has improved since the controversial decade when AIDS and HIV was a worldwide “epidemic” and when Section 28 was introduced, as well as celebrating music, fashion, film, television and other phenomenons that were popular at the time. Last year was another huge success and this year will also be worthy of an extra special celebration after the recent news of gay marriage being legalised in the UK.
The Pride Fringe has also been extended – it used to take place over 10 days but this year will run throughout August and will include various shows (dramas, comedies, musicals, etc.), exhibitions (arts, local culture, LGBT history), film screenings (e.g. new film “Dream On” and the classic “Wizard of Oz”), music concerts, sporting events, stand-up shows and panel discussions. “Up4aMeet?“, a comedy starring Lloyd Daniels, Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” musical, an evening with Christopher Biggins, the Pink Dog Show, the Great Village Bake-Off, the “Gays of Manchester” gallery, and POUTFEST are some of the most prolific events happening. For a full listing, click here. Throughout Pride there is also a village market and a Lifestyle Expo, which is an indoor exhibition space with over 50 stalls and organisations where the public can find out about local community groups and sports clubs, their health, legal advice and much more.
Over the Big Weekend, numerous LGBT and LGBT-friendly acts will appear on the many stages around the Gay Village to perform, including The Feeling, Sam Sparro, Misha B, Patrick Wolf, Kate Nash, Lucy Spraggan, the cast of award-winning musical “Wicked” and MKS (Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan – a.k.a. the original line-up of the Sugababes). Over the next few weeks in the run-up to the Big Weekend, more acts and events will be announced, but for now you can see the current line-up here. The Parade on Saturday, will further incorporate this year’s theme of everything 80′s, so expect to see lots of very interesting, exciting and colourful floats and costumes as they wind their way through Manchester’s city centre.
Manchester Pride is not just about celebrating freedom of sexuality and fighting for equal rights for LGBT people or dare we say, partying, but is also noted for being the only Pride event in the UK that helps fundraise for LGBT and HIV charities and communities throughout Greater Manchester and the UK and has raised over £1 million since 2003 and distributed it to more than 100 organisations. Pride will, as usual, end with a big gathering for the Candlelit Vigil in Sackville Gardens on the Monday to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and HIV and to support those who are currently living with it or know someone close to them who is. Check out the video below to see learn more about it as well as the second video to see highlights from last year’s festival.
We currently have over a dozen accommodations available in Manchester if you’re still looking for a place to stay in and around the city, most of which are spare rooms in apartments and houses or guesthouses. Chances are that the host will also already be going to Pride and so will no doubt be able to accompany you or give you plenty of good tips and advice if this is your first time in Manchester or going to Pride. Or if you yourself live in Manchester and have a spare room or a whole property you would like to let out to travellers, then why not add your accommodation to our site as well?
Will you be going to Manchester Pride this year? Full weekend and individual day tickets for Manchester Pride are still available for the Big Weekend and can be purchased here.