Pride month in the UK is generally celebrated through June but, here in Manchester, it’s the August bank holiday weekender that always brings a huge local celebration.
Manchester Pride’s festival and parade may be postponed this year, but that doesn’t mean the city won’t still be out celebrating love in all its forms.
Manchester Pride Festival will be hosting a three-day virtual festival online: streaming artist performances, arts and culture events, and important conversations around activism and history for those choosing to celebrate at home this year.
In the Gay Village itself, celebrations will be ongoing as venues open their doors to drinkers and diners across the long weekend.
The area has always been the heart and soul of Manchester Pride, and its bar and restaurant owners are busy preparing for a surge in visitors this weekend.
Over at Escape to Freight Island in Piccadilly East, a five-day Queer Power event will be taking place from August 26th to 31st. And although this event isn’t affiliated with Manchester Pride Festival, it will still be raising money for the charity.
Thursday night, which see residents from Manchester’s own Reform Radio pulling selections, followed by a Queer Pride takeover from Manchester club night Bollox, has already sold out but tickets are still available for the rest of the weekend.
Wednesday will kick celebrations off with a ticketed show from Klub Kids featuring RuPaul UK Drag Race stars Baga Chipz and Divina De Campo alongside Duncan James from Blue and 5IV.
Whilst Friday gets started with a Manchester Drag Queen’s brunch and Love Party disco featuring the best LGBT disco, pop, dance and RnB DJs from the city’s queer alt scene.
From 6pm on Friday, House of Ghetto and House of Blaque will host a black pride vogue takeover soundtracked by original Hacienda resident and all-round Manchester legend DJ Paulette. A special cabaret performance from Creatures of Catharsis will also take place at 10pm.
Sunday’s programming features the second in the weekend’s black pride series and the first Amuse Bouche, Freight Islands’ new weekly Sunday drag and dining session.
Hosted by none other than local drag queen legend Cheddar Gorgeous, diners can expect to bop to some fierce tunes from DJ Mix-Stress whilst tucking into street food from residents Baratxuri, KRUM, Voodoo Ray’s, Patty Queen and Madre.
A family-friendly High Tea party will also take place in the afternoon, with a live performance from The Rockin’ Rhinos at 3pm followed by a High Tea Party feat. Sounds from The Other City’s favourite Good Afternoon.
Elsewhere in the city, The Refuge will be hosting a refined version of its annual Come As You Are weekender from 18th-30th August – scaling things back just a little to make sure guests can celebrate safely.
The venue will be hosting some top local DJs as well as running a special ten-pound dining menu over the weekend alongside its usual food offering.
Queer clubbing favourites Homoelectric will soundtrack the Friday night celebrations with residents Luke Unabomber, Will Tramp and Gina Breeze on duty from 5pm.
On Saturday Manchester’s own Supernature Disco, High Hoops and Kiss Me Again will all take to the decks, whilst Sunday will finish on a high note with appearances from DJ Paulette, Abigail Ward, Massey, Ladybeige (The Social Service) and Kim Lana.
Be aware that no bookings are being taken at The Refuge, and mask-wearing is mandatory here until you’ve been seated.