This weekend Manchester Pride is celebrating the 25th anniversary of charity fundraising events for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender causes in Manchester city centre. It is reminding festival goers just what it means to be part of the UK’s leading LGBT festival by rebranding its Big Weekend wristbands as Pledge Bands.
The Pledge Band gives festival goers access to a variety of events across the weekend from the performances on the Main Stage Arena, Gaydio Dance Arena and Sackville Boutique Stage, and Expo to a number of offers and events at bars and restaurants inside and outside the Gay Village.
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More importantly, Manchester Pride is asking the community to wear their bands with pride as a clear statement that they support the aims of the charity to raise essential funds for LGBT and HIV causes and support its campaign for greater LGBT equality.
This year the festival site will boast a commemorative bring and buy sale and a mini fairground alongside the popular Village Markets which offer a great selection of gifts and memorabilia.
A host of big names including Dannii Minogue, Texas, Union J and DJ Fresh will perform in Manchester during the Big Weekend and will be joined by Lucy Spraggan, Atomic Kitten, the Shane Ritchie Band and many more.
Situated in the indoor arena, The Expo is a hugely popular community space which gives exhibitors the chance to showcase their organisation, spend face-to face time with visitors, promote goods or services and carry out consultations during the Big Weekend.
The Expo features community groups, public sector organisations and commercial businesses, and will be open Saturday – Monday, between 11am and 5pm.
August Bank Holiday also sees the return of the vibrant Manchester Pride Parade, an integral part of the Manchester Pride Festival.
This year’s Parade Grand Marshal is Sir Ian McKellen, star of The Lord of the Rings and X-Men, who will lead the parade through the streets of Manchester on Saturday 29 August.
Manchester Pride Parade is a free event that is part of the wider Pride Festival. This year’s theme is Devotion and the charity is calling for parade participants and attendees to celebrate and shout about who and what they are devoted to.
The culmination of the Big Weekend is the George House Trust Candlelit Vigil during which Sackville Gardens is turned into a sea of flickering candles as those lost to the HIV virus are remembered.
There’s much more to the Manchester Pride Festival than the Big Weekend and events will take place throughout the month of August. This year has seen the launch of Superbia, an all year round calendar of events that showcases, supports and celebrates LGBT and relevant arts, comedy, debate, film, literature, music, sport, theatre, family and community-led projects in Greater Manchester with the aim to encourage engagement, wellbeing and culturally enhance communities.
Tickets for the Big Weekend are currently priced at £25 for a weekend ticket, £15 for day tickets and children’s tickets are also available from £5.
Tickets are exchanged for Pledge Bands at the festival providing guests with access to the event, including the Main Arena, Sackville Gardens, the Gaydio Dance Arena and the Expo.
Ticket sales help Manchester Pride raise money for LGBT and HIV charities and organisations in Greater Manchester. For more information on The Big Weekend visit the new website bigweekend.manchesterpride.com
Tweet @ManchesterPride during the Big Weekend, using this year’s hashtag #BIGWEEKEND