Today, Manchester Pride organisers have announced the new format for the 2019 festival, as well as a new flag and home for the event’s live music experience.
The festival, which takes place over four days in Manchester city centre every August bank holiday (23 – 26 August), will be given an exciting new format which organisers hope will extend the reach of the event and create new touch points for all LGBT+ people across Greater Manchester and beyond.
The event will be made up of six elements; the Candlelit Vigil, the Superbia Weekend, the Gay Village Gathering, Manchester Pride Parade, Youth Pride MCR and Manchester Pride Live, formerly The Big Weekend.
Mark Fletcher, chief executive for Manchester Pride, said:
“This is a huge announcement for us and something we are extremely proud of. We have spent the past three years listening to our audiences and have curated these new elements of the festival to connect with as many LGBT+ people as possible.
“The progressive city of Manchester has always led the way in the advancement of LGBT+ rights. Having listened to everyone that engages with the festival and reviewed the landscape of Pride celebrations throughout the world, along with the issues still being faced by LGBT+ people across Greater Manchester, we felt that it was important to deliver a festival that not only celebrates LGBT+ life but also clearly continues to campaign for equality and acceptance.
“What’s more, 2019 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising; an event which kick-started a half-century of LGBT+ right liberation. As we reflect on this landmark, we’ve been working hard to ensure that the political messaging and purpose of the Manchester Pride Festival remains clear and accessible for everyone who continues to support the LGBT+ Pride movement in the modern age.”
Manchester Pride Live
The ticketed event will take place at the Mayfield Depot, near Piccadilly Station over two days (Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August) and will host 30 artists across two stages in and around the Depot.
The Mayfield Depot is part of a 24-acre regeneration site which will eventually see the creation of a £1bn new neighbourhood for Manchester, including residential, commercial and leisure space, as well as a new city park.
Mark Fletcher said:
“Manchester Pride Live will be one of the most innovative projects that we have delivered to date and our intention is to make it a world-leading celebration of LGBT+ life. The venue, much like us, is part of the foundations of our city and will provide a spectacular backdrop to what will be a uniquely inclusive experience where the LGBT+ people of Manchester can truly celebrate their culture in a safe and welcoming environment.”
The Gay Village Gathering
The village will continue to house the hub of the festival’s events and 2019 will see the introduction of the ultimate street party – the Gay Village Gathering. The party will include community performances in Sackville Gardens, plus markets and parties across the village’s venues.
And to keep party-goers safe, Manchester Pride has invested more than £300,000 into the reimagined Gay Village site, which has undergone much change as a result of development in the area over the last five years.
Manchester Pride Parade
As always, festival-goers will be invited to witness the spectacle of more than 10,000 participants from businesses and community groups march across the city centre.
The Candlelit Vigil
The vigil will once again close the four-day festival with a moment of reflection in Sackville Gardens, the home of the Alan Turing memorial and the Beacon of Hope. The area will be turned into a sea of flickering candles. Festival-goers will gather to remember those who died from the HIV virus and fight the stigma that still exists.
The Candlelit Vigil will also provide a space to remember those who are suffering and persecuted. It will also present an opportunity to stand together and recognise the many challenges that are still faced by LGBT+ communities, both in the UK and around the world.
The Superbia Weekend
Superbia is the festival’s alcohol-free space and will offer a culturally rich alternative to the hedonism of the other elements of the festival. The free-to-attend programme will include film screenings, cabaret, conversation, community workshops, new art and a free post-pride parade party, with all events will take place in the Village.
Youth Pride MCR
Youth Pride will be a free-to-attend event for 16 – 25-year-olds. It will be developed through engagement with young people from across Greater Manchester at focus groups which will be held in February.
And as a result of feedback from a widespread consultation in 2018, specific offerings are also being developed for family, BAME LGBT+ people and women. Focus groups will be held in the coming months to engage with those who want to be involved in shaping these new events.
The charity has also revealed a new identity for 2019. For many years, the LGBT+ community has collectively stood under the iconic 6 stripe rainbow flag, designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978. But in the 40 years since its creation, the community has evolved into many facets, with each one creating and identifying with their own symbols and flags.
Mark Fletcher said:
“We have seen that the iconic rainbow must adapt to reflect the modern society that we live in. A lot has happened but there is still a long way to go, especially in the recognition of people of colour in the LGBT+ community. To highlight the importance of this we’ve decided to adopt the 8 stripe flag created by the city of Philadelphia, USA as part of our logo.”
Tickets will go on sale on January 31, to pre-register click here.