Organisers of Manchester Pride have revealed a new location and a new format for the annual LGBT+ festival in August.
The music festival will be rebranded as Manchester Pride Live and take place at the Mayfield former railway depot over two days – Saturday August 24th and Sunday August 25th.
The annual festival, which celebrates Manchester’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender culture, has moved the established main stage music event out of the Gay Village this year after a huge increase in property development in the district.
The Big Weekend had previously been centred around the car park area on Abingdon Street but with land surrounding it currently building sites, it forced the rethink on the site layout for 2019.
But bosses have confirmed that the village will remain the festival’s hub with a “Gay Gathering” based around Sackville Gardens over the full four days from August 23rd-26th, with food stalls, a music stage, the popular Expo and a sing-a-long cinema.
The music festival element will be based inside the disused former railway station next to Piccadilly train station – with plans to use various spaces inside Mayfield to increase the capacity of the music events.
It will make the 2019 event Manchester Pride’s biggest yet.
Manchester Pride’s CEO Mark Fletcher announced the news at a press conference on Thursday morning, alongside Mayfield’s boss James Heather.
Mark said: “We will be using the spaces in and around Mayfield depot. The proximity to the Gay Village – it’s literally a five minute walk – and it’s right next to Piccadilly train station so it’s just as convenient and people can step right into it when leaving the train station.
“We are thrilled to be working with Mayfield and we like to think we’ve expanded the site of the festival rather than moved it.”
The event will this year be split into six different components – Manchester Pride Live, Gay Village Gathering, Youth Pride MCR, the Superbia Weekend, the Manchester Pride Parade and the Candlelit Vigil which will remain at Sackville Gardens on the Monday to close the Big Weekend.
The Pride parade will remain the focal part of proceedings on Saturday August 24th with thousands of people set to take part on floats which will snake through the city centre, cheered on by thousands more lining the streets of Manchester, taking the same route as 2018.
It was also announced that for the first time Manchester Pride will embrace a new rainbow flag which includes a black and brown strand to reflect ethnic minorities, the first Pride to do so in the UK.
Last year the Big Weekend event was headlined by music stars including Jake Shears, Rita Ora, Alexandra Burke and Sigala.
Headliners for the 2019 event have not yet been announced, but it has been confirmed that wristbands will need to be purchased to enter both the Gay Gathering and Manchester Pride Live, with tickets to go on sale soon.
The increase in capacity at Mayfield has sparked feverish speculation that even bigger artists could be named to headline this year.
Manchester Pride is one of the leading LGBT+ charities in the UK and its work aims to challenge discrimination, advance LGBT equality and celebrate its culture. The organisation fundraises throughout the year, and supports LGBT+ community groups, events and causes through grants.