Photos Courtesy of Manchester Pride
Story by Joseph Alexiou
Across the Atlantic sea, as they say, is Manchester, the second city of England. Well known for its culture and vibrant nightlife, if you missed London Pride but still want to party with the rude boys, then you would do well to make it over there the weekend of August 28 for Manchester Pride.
And if that isn't enough to get your tweed vests out of the cedar closet, we have one word for you: Bananarama. That's right, the legendary 80's sensation will perform in the beginning of Pride Weekend.
But you have a whole week to travel, the festivities actually begin on Monday August 24 and continue on leading up to "The Big Weekend," as the Mancunians refer to the weekend of the parade. Additionally, our own Editor-in-Chief, Ed Salvato will be one of the specially invited attendees, a great opportunity to meet our resident travel expert first-hand! Tickets to the festival are £12.50 ($21) and can be purchased at www.manchesterpride.com/tickets (VIP tickets, which include three free drinks a day, exclusive views of the Main Stage and a luxury goody bag, are available on the website or by calling +44-1-612-367-474).
Some interesting pre-weekend happenings: the Lesbian and Gay Film Season at Cornerhouse; a Pride Gallery Tour; "Burlesque and drag king workshops and honest disucssions about sex" at Secrets of the Lady Garden; a pre-weekend canal bank run followed by eat and drinks; and short films dealing with trans issues by MORF and Transforum Manchester.
Once the Big Weekend rolls around, say goodbye to your Cruel Summer by dancing to Bananarama's Opening Ceremony show on Friday August 28. Other top festival acts include The Whip, The Blow Wave, and the newest electro-pop diva to hit the charts, Little Boots (performing Saturday—no need to upstage Bananarama!).
The parade itself is on Saturday, August 29 from 1-3 p.m. at the city centre (that's how they spell it in England!). You can bet your tuppence on some excellent color, sexy folks of all genders and orientiations, and all of the general parade insanity, including the undoubtably sexy Greater Manchester Fire Brigade—with any luck they'll require hosing down from the late-August heat.
After the parade, the Lifestyle Expo and Market Area will continue on through Monday, with lots of cute guys and gals hawking their products while heavily socializing. There's also the Sackville Gardens stage, which will be chock full of local bands and good old Manchester entertainment—local bands will play during the Sparkle space event on Saturday.
Partygoers will be happy with the list of great gay nightspots in the festival brochure—Manchester has a vibrant gay bar and club scene that will not disappoint those interested in late night revelry.
The celebrations culminate on Monday evening with the heavily attended candlelit George House Trust Vigil at 9 p.m. An AIDS memorial, quiet reflection in the idyllic Sackville Gardens is the "spiritual heart of the Macnchester Pride festival." Organizers describe the atmosphere as "magical and moving."
Looking for lodging? The Macdonal Manchester Hotel and Spa is a great 4-star property and is the official Manchester Pride partner, but there are a variety of great suggestions on the event website.