Having attended many 2019 Pride events all around the country, Liz Ratcliffe gives her verdict: Manchester was simply the best!
Oh, Manchester! You did us proud this year. What an incredible Pride. Here’s six fabulous reasons why you should be so proud of yourself:
- Proud of the colour
The whole of Manchester took Pride to heart – with just about every single shop window festooned in rainbow colours, balloons and flags. That is the whole of the city from Deansgate all the way up to Piccadilly and beyond!
Canal street looked absolutely wonderful with its sailcloth flags in the rainbow colours, with its love heart messages. The parade was spectacular – from the individual marchers to the incredible floats and balloons – this year with its futuristic theme – reflecting back on a watershed moment in the gay liberation movement and looking forward to a more equal future.
The loudest, proudest, most flamboyant spectacle of the weekend, was definitely the procession – made up of more than 10,000 participants marching and riding floats through the city centre, while tens of thousands more people lined the streets to cheer them on. We saw Coronation Street Stars to all 10 queens from the upcoming RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. march along the route .
Even the foundations in Piccadilly gardens lit up with rainbow colours at night, transforming from a wonderful cool-down area for kids during the day, to an atmospheric wonderland at night.
And, of course, the colours were magnified a million times over by the people and their outfits. From flags worn as kilts or capes, to the wonderful drag queens – everyone dressed up for this spectacle!
2. Proud of the music
Whether you went to the Gay Village or got tickets for Manchester Live at the Mayfield Venue, music was at the heart of Pride. Manchester Pride is so much like Mardi Gras – with different sorts of music around every corner. In a single walk around the village we were treated to no end of different musical styles. There was line dancing at the top end, a crowd doing Bhangra outside The Molly House; some classic 90s music pumping outside Vanilla; on the stage outside New York New York, Polly was getting the crowds dancing and singing; then, just as we sat down to chill by Sackville Gardens, a Scottish pipe band marched past on its way to their performance on stage, together with Scottish dancing.
The Mayfield Venue was the setting for the first Manchester Pride Live over the Saturday and Sunday, with some big acts, including Ariana Grande. We had tickets for Saturday night and enjoyed an amazing set by Emelie Sande and Years and Years to name just a couple of the big names on the evening’s terrific line-up. The venue also hosted a series of DJ sets from artists such as Basement Jaxx, Faithless and Sink the Pink Djs.
3. Proud of the weather
Manchester usually gets a good ribbing when it comes to being the rainy city of the north, but this bank holiday weekend, the sun was shining on us. With the hottest Bank Holiday on record – what better excuse for everyone to flaunt themselves – T-shirts were off – and that’s not just the men!
4. Proud of the glitter
Glitter manufacturers must have made a fortune this year. No doubt, the hotels will be trying to get rid of it for months to come! Everyone by the end of the weekend must have been carrying glitter about their person – whether intended or not. Face painting seemed a prerequisite this year and the artists were in abundance around the village. Whether you wanted to look like an Amazon, become a walking Diamanté sculpture or fancied your beard fully glitz – there were glitter fairy godmothers everywhere to make it happen. Just about everyone seemed to have something – even one of the policemen we chatted to was rocking his full-glitter-beard!
5. Proud of the people
Pride weekend was an inclusive celebration as people came together from every age group, colour, nationality, and sexuality – all mixing, talking and enjoying themselves.
Yes, a small number of protestors tried to make their voices heard – but they were drowned out by the crowds.
Major kudos must also go to all the volunteers from those collecting donations to those marshalling the Parade, to the paramedics who were on hand throughout, in their Pride covered ambulances, to the police, who were fantastic in chatting with the crowd and making sure everyone was OK.
The bars were packed – whether inside the various clubs and pubs around the Village, or the pop-up bars with their own DJs. Our favourite had to be the fabulous ladies serving from a pop-up bar in a garage outside Vanilla. The staff were friendly, welcoming and absolutely fabulous!
6. Proud of the spirit
The poet, Tony Walsh aka Longfellow’s message was so clear in Manchester this Bank Holiday Weekend
“They’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat, all the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets. Because this is a place that has been through some hard times: oppressions, recessions, depressions, and dark times”
Despite a handful of protestors, the majority of people at Pride will not be defeated. We will dream for a future that is equal for everyone, we will scheme for a bigger and better Pride next year. We have been through dark times, but the incredible spectacle that Manchester pulled off this year shows how resilient we are. So – book your hotels for next year and start buying your glitter because Manchester Pride is not an event to be missed. Roll on 2020!