Every year, Manchester Pride is one of the biggest festivals in support of the LGBT+ communities in the UK and around the globe. It takes place in the Village, at the heart of Manchester City Centre – until now!
The private car park which forms the main stage area for the Big Weekend is now a building site, and Manchester Pride have announced that the stage will instead be at Mayfield, the decommissioned railway terminal just south of Piccadilly Station. This is about half a mile and across some busy roads from the Village, which is quite a lot for out-of-town visitors in a festival mood!
This is also only a temporary solution – Mayfield itself is scheduled for re-development. Other possible future venues for the Big Weekend include Castlefield Bowl and Heaton Park.
The Village is an important part of Manchester’s history, and LGBT+ history. There are a lot of businesses there who benefit from the Big Weekend and the trade it brings, and moving the main event out of the Village will have a huge impact on an area already hurting from pressure over business rates and Manchester Labour’s betrayal over preserving the LGBT+ character of the area.
It looks like there may be a solution – the land on which Chorlton Street bus station stands is owned by Manchester City Council, and there are plans afoot to redevelop it. Creating a two or three storey high indoor venue, like the Manchester Academy, would allow the Big Weekend to stay in the Village, and keep revellers dry during the wetter August bank holidays.
There’d be space on top for not only offices or flats, but also more accessible LGBT+ venues which could open up the Village to a wider range of clientele who are currently excluded from it.
Let’s keep Manchester Pride in the Village – but make it bigger, better and more inclusive while we do!