A Guide to Manchester Pride 2010

Chris White looks forward to a weekend of music, drinking, dancing and gay culture at Manchester Pride 2010 - the second largest Pride festival in the UK after London.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 25th Aug 2010

It’s that time again! August Bank Holiday means only one thing (in my book) - Manchester Pride.

Arguably the most exciting and popular Pride festival in the UK, second only in size to London, Manchester Pride sees thousands descend upon the city’s ‘gay village’ for the Big Weekend – three days and nights of music, drinking, dancing and gay culture.


The Festival itself officially starts on the 20th August with the Pride Fringe, running through to Thursday 27th. Look out for lots of cultural activities and events during this time; film, theatre, art shows, women’s events and comedy. Check the official website for a full line-up and schedule for Pride Fringe events.

The Big Weekend

The Big Weekend, Friday 27th to Monday 30th, is where the Pride action really kicks off. From 8pm on Friday the Main Stage is host to a range of DJs, guest speakers and performing artists. Each night has a theme; Friday is 80’s with headline acts including Belinda Carlisle and Heaven 17 (80’s legends... apparently). 

Saturday sees the beat step up a notch big time; it’s Dance day with DJs and artists performing throughout the day, leading up to headline sets from Starman (Andrew Stone – Pineapple Studios!), Katherine Ellis (Freemasons vocalist and all-round dance diva), Alex Gardner and culminating in international superstar-DJs – Chicane.

Sunday equals ‘alternative day’, with a seriously diverse range of acts taking to the Main Stage.  Highlights include Dragonette, Diagram of The Heart, and the biggest act appearing all weekend (by a fair way), Kelis! Yes, the Acapella songstress will be bringing her unique brand of soulful-dance-with-attitude to Manchester and entertaining the crowds with tracks from her latest album Flesh Tone.

To round the weekend off, Gaydar takes over the Main Stage for with a pure pop and camp theme (come on, it is Pride), bringing you a massive line-up including drag acts, dance-divas, comedians and pop... ahem, legends including Same Difference, Rowetta (X-Factor), 4 Poofs and a Piano, Adam Rickett (he’s back!), all topped off with UK soul queen – Miss Beverley Knight no less. Phew, quite a package eh?

Pride Parade

A big draw is always the Pride Parade, and 2010 sees things get bigger and better than ever. A seemingly endless supply of floats, performers and marchers will be taking part, ranging from muscle-boys from the local bars and clubs, charity organisations, the local Fire and Police services, and this year’s special addition – the stars of Coronation Street! The parade begins at 1pm and takes in a huge area around the gay village – check the official site for exact details, and my advice; get there EARLY to guarantee a prime viewing spot.

For those unfamiliar with Manchester’s gay village (How? Why?), the infamous Canal Street is at the heart of the action. Famed for being the focus of the ground-breaking Channel 4 drama ‘Queer As Folk’, the street is the stuff of gay-legend, and jam-packed with bars, clubs and restaurants catering for every possible taste.  For the younger crowd looking after a more intense, upbeat bar experience, try Queer, Spirit, Baa Bar, Mantos and Crush for a mix of commercial and dance tunes. Following that head to Mancunia or Cruz 101 (very popular with the male crowd!) where the beats step up a notch, both venues having drinks offers and live PAs over the Big Weekend. At the opposite end of the spectrum we have Napoleans, Via Bar and New Union bringing you a friendly, welcoming pub atmosphere and camp, pop and 80’s music. For the ladies, Vanilla and Coyotes are the only lesbian bars – both hugely popular and extremely busy throughout the whole weekend.


It’s important to mention that while Manchester Pride is primarily a celebration of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, culture... and general fabulousness, a huge number of straight people and families attend every year and will always be made to feel incredibly welcome. The more mixed venues are bars such as New York New York (super-fun drag bar), Tribeca and Eden, and AXM is a favourite of anyone after a glitzy party experience!

And there's more...

Probably the biggest clubbing event of the weekend is Uni Challenge, which sees the Students Union on Oxford Road transformed into a huge multi-room super club. Top names in gay clubbing including Freakshow, Homo, Federation , Trade and Salvation will be bringing a spectacular array of live DJs and stage performances, catering for every possible dance-music taste. Also look out for the fairground rides in the central outdoor area – 3am spin on the waltzers, anyone?? Tickets are available from various venues around Canal Street throughout the weekend.


Manchester city centre is littered with hotels, several on and surrounding the village itself. Check out Velvet, Britannia and Ramada for a luxury, central hotel option. Isis, Holiday Inn and Stays Inn are a little further out but perfect for those on a more limited budget. Endless restaurants provide dining options for every possible taste and budget; our top tips are View, Eden and Velvet (under the hotel), all offering top quality nosh throughout the weekend.

Manchester Pride never fails to be an exhilarating, friendly and above all FUN weekend for all who attend, and with more bars, clubs and performances than ever before, 2010 looks set to be the best yet.

Tickets available from www.manchesterpride.com and 0871 230 3450, £17.50 for a weekend wrist band and £10 for day entry. Tickets are also available on the day from the various box office locations, check the official site for times and locations.

Words: Chris White

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