EXUBERANT processions, rainbow stalls and Village revelling... Pride Big Weekend is set to unleash the usual multihued madness upon us from 26-29 August with the familiar line-up that’s proved so successful.
The parade theme this year is 'Once Upon a Time'
Pride patrons, however, can expect another facet to this year’s episode; an inaugural series of Superbia events spanning cinema screenings to presentations to panel discussions. Specially commissioned for the occasion, the events - all free of charge - will be held at 70 Oxford Street, with the support of MMU.
Superbia is Manchester Pride’s year-round cultural organisation, which aims to promote and fund existing events and curate a jam-packed LGBT calender.
Proceedings will kick off on Friday 26 with the Superbia Weekend Launch. Expect welcome speeches and live music from The Sunday Boys and Husk, followed by a one-hour cinema screening of specially-selected LGBT short films presented by Queer Media.
Canal Street, Manchester Pride
Saturday’s agenda includes an innovative post-parade workshop, where participants can turn their souvenirs into a giant artwork, plus an evening of cabaret and open mic starring the likes of Addictive Comedy Crew and Kate O’Donnell. There will also be talks on a diverse range of subjects, from how gay culture liberated the modern world to the history of LGBT music in Manchester.
Sunday’s events round off the Superbia weekend with two panel discussions plus an interesting presentation on Out!, Manchester Pride’s brand new LGBT history website. The comprehensive digital resource not only details key LGBT trails and archive material throughout the city but presents a fascinating timeline of local ‘pride and prejudice’. From the 1806 hanging of three Warrington ‘sodomites’ to Alan Turing’s 2013 posthumous pardon and Manchester hosting the first National Festival of LGBT history in 2015, it demonstrates the discrimination faced, the obstacles thwarted and the challenges yet to be overcome.
The full Superbia programme can be found here. It will be joined by Jez Dolan’s exhibition Life’s a Drag - which celebrates the history of drag in Manchester - and the Big Weekend stalwarts of live music, themed parade and expo; culminating in a candlelit vigil.
PRIDE BIG WEEKEND – What’s happening and where?
FRIDAY highlights: ManBears Picnic (from 7pm, Sackville stage); Jamie Bull (9pm, Gaydio Dance Arena); Sophie Ellis Bexter (9pm, main stage); Honey Soundsystem (10pm, Gaydio Dance Arena); Tulisa (10pm, main stage); Opening Party (10.30pm, Cruz 101)
SATURDAY highlights: The Parade (Liverpool Road – Deansgate – Peter Street – Portland Street – Princess Street – Village, begins 1pm); Pride Expo (Indoor Arena from 11am); Village Markets (from 11am, Charlton Street); Danny Beard/Mary Mac cabaret (Eagle, 3.30pm); M.O (main stage, 4.20pm); Katy B (main stage, 9.45pm); Judge Jules (Gaydio Dance Arena, 10.30pm)
SUNDAY highlights: Pride Expo (Indoor Arena from 11am); Village Markets (from 11am, Charlton Street); Tuscan Sun (Sackville stage, 2.20pm); La Voix and Vicki Vivacious (3.30pm, Eagle); Tacet (6.30pm, Gaydio Dance Arena); Will Young (main stage, 9pm); Fleur East (main stage, 9.50pm); Groove Armada (11pm, Gaydio Dance Arena); Gagged & Dragged with Cheddar Gorgeous (Bandit Mugger Thief, 11pm)
MONDAY highlights: Pride Expo (Indoor Arena from 11am); Village Markets (from 11am, Charlton Street); Sandra & Lola Lasagne cabaret (Eagle, 3pm); Lucy Spraggan (main stage, 7.15pm); Heather Smalls from M People (main stage, 8pm); Candlelit Vigil (Sackville Gardens, late) B*Witched perform (Eagle, 10.30pm); Closing Party (Cruz 101, 11pm)
Find the full What's On programme here.
Performing across three stages - Thomas Cook Airlines USA, Sackville Boutique and Gaydio Dance Arena - the line-up for 2016 includes Sophie Ellis Bexter, Groove Armada, Tulisa, Heather Small, Katy B, Fleur East, Will Young and Anne-Marie.
Meanwhile, led by Lord Mayor Carl Austin-Behan - Manchester’s first openly gay Lord Mayor - the 2016 parade is expected to consist of around 3000 people, with spectators in the tens of thousands. Last year's episode raised over £146,000 for LGBT and HIV causes.
Mark Fletcher, Chief Executive of Manchester Pride said: “We are honoured to have the Lord Mayor leading the parade through Manchester City Centre this year. Since taking on the post earlier this year Councillor Austin-Behan has become a figurehead of the LGBT community, particularly in Greater Manchester.
“The parade theme this year is 'Once Upon a Time' and we’re celebrating the many stories, moments, events and occasions that have occurred in order to allow us to reach the level of freedom our LGBT communities enjoy today. It’s hard to believe Councillor Austin-Behan was thrown out the RAF for being gay back in 1997; since then he’s gone on to become the Lord Mayor of Manchester. His own story is one of true inspiration. I can think of nobody better or more relevant to be leading the parade this year as we march ahead into the future.”
For the first time ever, Manchester Pride will have their own entry in the parade thanks to funding from Arts Council England. Designed by Walk The Plank, it will feature people from across the LGBT community walking together to celebrate the theme.
The Big Weekend takes place 26-29 August; tickets from £16 at bigweekend.manchesterpride.com