Every year there’s one event which quite literally takes over the capital of the North, and that’s Manchester Pride. Easily the UK’s biggest annual Pride event, Manchester has for many years set the bar in terms of production, line-ups and content - with the city coming alive for a Bank Holiday weekend of live music, clubbing events, cultural insights and partying that's on another level!
As we dust off our glad rags and line our stomachs ahead of this weekend’s celebration, Skiddle bring you our top five picks of Manchester Pride 2012…
1. Live Music
Following the Pride Fringe week, a range of events celebrating the full diversity of LGBT life through Art, Sport, Culture and more, Pride steps up a gear with ‘The Big Weekend’. Central to proceedings is the Gaydar Arena, playing host to a diverse wealth of live music. Kicking things off this year with what can only be described as a match made in heaven, it’s the gayest pop band in existence - Steps. They perform on the main stage in association with G-A-Y, with more acts to be announced throughout the week.
Saturday is Dance Day, presented by Gaydar. The circuit's best DJ talent will bring you a bass-heavy day and night of music, including numerous guest spots and PAs, including celebrity DJs Danny Dyer and All Saints star Melanie Blatt. Sunday focuses purely on live acts with highlights including X-Factor ’11 alums 2 Shoes and Amelia Lily performing, and a ‘huge’ special guest still to be announced. Other musical highlights throughout The Big Weekend are legendary Abba tribute act Bjorn Again, and a superb selection of the newest UK talent including Scarlett Roses, Louise Dearman, Santiago Street Machine and Cleo Sol.
2. Clubbing Events
For the whole weekend Manchester’s gay village is fenced off and accessible to ticket holders only. Inside, the village is literally buzzing from start to finish as thousands of visitors from across the UK and beyond come to check out the bar and clubs of what must one of the world’s most famous LGBT hotspots.
Whilst the village itself is packed with enough bars and clubs to satisfy every possible taste, two of the biggest clubbing events take place just outside main site. HomoElectric, described as a ‘non-stop exotic disco for twisted sleazy people’, is one of the most established and loved gay nights in Manchester, happening monthly at Legends Club less than five minutes’ walk from Canal Street. Serving as the perfect alternative to the more commercial crowd and soundtrack of the village; expect a truly eclectic mix of music and outfits. Anything goes – you have been warned.
HomoElectric Bank Holiday Showdown at Legends, Sat 25th August, advance tickets £12.00
Another staple northern gay night is Federation; always the biggest clubbing event of the weekend which has previously taken over Manchester Academy and HMV Ritz. For the second year Fed returns to Manchester superclub Sankeys, about 15 minutes’ walk from the Village (no more than £5 in a taxi). Expect the best in uplifting, vocal and progressive House music, some impressive lighting and production, and topless muscle men.
Federation & Beyond at Sankeys, Sat 25th August, advance tickets £16.00
Always a highlight, and the event which really opens up Pride to the entire city, it’s the main Parade happening on Saturday afternoon. What can only be described as a big gay carnival winds through Manchester city centre, as local businesses, charities, emergency services and lots more put a huge amount of effort into hundreds of floats. Glamorous, colourful and certainly outrageous, this is unmissable!
The Parade weaves its way throughout Manchester's City Centre, starting on Deansgate opposite the Hilton Deansgate Hotel and finishing on Whitworth Street, just outside the Gay Village.' Check out the Parade Route
4. Official App
New for 2012 Manchester Pride launches their official smart phone App. Key highlights include a complete guide to everything going - theatre, music, debates, comedy and the famous Pride parade, a detailed map of the Pride site (essential for anyone new to the area!), plus you can enter a competition through the App to win tickets to Pride and a place on the RBS parade float. Find out more about the iPhone, iPad and Android app here.
5. Candlelit Vigil
Always a beautiful, emotional and entirely appropriate end to the weekend’s events, on Monday night Sackville Gardens in the heart of the Village is turned into a sea of candles as hundreds cram into the Candlelit Vigil. Presented by the George House Trust, the ceremony is in aid of those who have lost their lives to the worldwide HIV epidemic. A weekend wristband is not required to vigil; anyone wanting to attend is advised to head down very early as the gardens are always packed to capacity well in advance. A moving and very, very special moment, it’s events like this which are truly the heart of Manchester Pride.
Tickets for Manchester Pride are available now priced at £12.50 per day or £20.00 for a weekend pass (booking fees apply).
For more info and tickets visit www.manchesterpride.com
Words: Chris White