Our pick of events for Pride Weekend and beyond
It’s that time of the year again and despite the official event turning into something of a spicy meatball of late, we’re really excited to celebrate Pride this year, especially after everything was forced to go online last year.
Away from the main event, there are plenty of events - both free and ticketed - to get stuck into across the city centre and beyond. From dancing your heart out at queer club nights to cycling through LGBTQ+ history with an organised cycle ride.
Read on for our pick of the best alternative Manchester Pride events still to come this year.
BEARDED BRUTES | GREAT NORTHERN WAREHOUSE | 16 AUGUST - 16 SEPTEMBER
“I am somewhat of a magpie and have always been drawn to all things that sparkle and shine,” says British photographer Mark Leeming in reference to his photography exhibition Bearded Brutes which showcases some of the brightest, most colourful portraits you’re likely to see in one place. Bursting with sparkle and beards, the exhibition is the result of Leeming’s integration into the drag community “combining the masculinity of the bearded male with the kitsch, camp flamboyance of heavy make-up and theatrical poses.” The exhibition is free to visit and sales and donations will raise money for the George House Trust.
RECLAIM PRIDE PROTESTS | SACKVILLE GARDENS & WHITWORTH STREET | 21 & 28 AUGUST
Needless to say, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding Manchester Pride this year. The cancellation of the Pride Parade didn’t go down well and there’s a lot of concerns around the commercialisation of the official event and it losing touch with its roots. Two protests will be taking place as a result, the first this weekend (Saturday 21 August) starting from 1pm at Sackville Gardens and the other at Whitworth Street West from 11.30am (Saturday 28 August). Those in attendance, LGBTQ+ and allies alike, are encouraged to bring banners, signs, queerness, anger and love.
FREEDOM EXHIBITION | KAMPUS | 27 August and throughout September
Hip neighbourhood development, Kampus, has teamed up with Manchester Pride for a special audiovisual installation in its city centre garden space which will celebrate the true stories of 11 LGBT+ people and their lived experiences. The installation, which will consist of 11 “living portraits”, will take visitors on an emotional journey of love, loss, adversity and triumph with stories rooted in the past and present. Launching on Pride weekend and running throughout September the installation is free and no booking is required. Why not pop for a fancy dinner from Tine at Kampus while you're in the area?
MANCHESTER PRIDE AT ESCAPE TO FREIGHT ISLAND | MAYFIELD DEPOT | 25 - 30 AUGUST
Escape to Freight Island is going big for Pride this year with a week-long schedule of free and ticketed music and performance events - the proceeds of which will go to LGBT+ charities. With events every night of the week starting on Wednesday 25 August with a screening of cult documentary Paris Is Burning (1990) and finishing off on Monday 30 with a special closing party courtesy of queer rave titan Homoelectric. Other highlights include performances from House of Ghetto (a dance and visual arts collective that sprung out of the UK vogue ball scene) and the launch of the Club Orchestra series. Tickets are available now with walk-ins available.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE | DUCIE STREET WAREHOUSE | 26 - 30 AUGUST
Ducie Street Warehouse is launching its first programme of Pride events this year and the line-up is a cracker. Five days of music, performers, artists and world-renowned DJs will include a Sink The Pink Drag Brunch and a Schitt’s Creek inspired House of 1000 Moiras - which will see music, costume and even wine inspired by cult character Moira Rose. Elsewhere on the bill, the likes of Gina Breeze and Warehouse Project staple Krysko will be spinning iconic beats. Entry is free for everything except Drag Brunch, tickets for which can be found at the link above.
PRIDE WEEKEND | GREAT NORTHERN BEACH CLUB | 26 & 27 AUGUST
Great Northern Beach Club will be kickstarting the Pride celebrations this year with two fabulous drag events on their sandy shores. Thursday night from 7pm sees a Great British seaside themed drag show hosted by Miss Blair and DJ Marilyn Misandry who’ll be presenting a raucous night of Seaside Slushies, LGBTQ+ anthems, limbo, bingo, "Play Your Cards Right" and a free cocktail thrown in for good measure. Friday night will be equal portions of slay with Ginger Hunter’s Holiday Extravaganza and cheesy anthems, rapid-fire bingo and lipsync battles galore. Tickets start at £15 for both events with a cocktail included.
FESTIVAL FOODIE HUB | MANCHESTER NEW SQUARE | 27 - 30 AUGUST
There’s going to be a lot of dancing this weekend and a lot of energy exertion to say the least. There’s also going to be a lot of drinking. All things considered, you’re going to need to eat. But don’t despair, Manchester New Square has got you covered on Pride weekend as it transforms into a free-entry foodie quadrant, complete with street food stalls and plenty of drinks. Situated canal-side, close to Canal Street, the new luxury residential community will be hosting the likes of Cubanitos, Desert Island Dumplings and Spice & Grind as well as resident foodie popper uppers Garni. Opening daily at 12pm across the weekend, entry is free with discounts on food for those with a Pride wristband.
PRIDE FESTIVAL SPECIAL | PERU PERDU | 27 - 29 AUGUST
Pride gets the carnival treatment at Peru Perdu this year with the bright pink South American restaurant pulling out the stops with offers, new menu additions and a catwalk with a difference. A new menu including a Veuve Clicquot Champagne oyster dangler will run from Friday to Sunday and the infamous Pisco Disco returns for 2 for 1 pisco sours for a raucous Friday evening (4.30 - 7pm, 27 August). A special drag brunch will take place on Saturday (12-4pm, £35 per person) followed by bottomless cocktails and a Peruvian roast on Sunday, complete with doggo pride catwalk (29 August). The best-dressed pup will win a bottle of pawsecco and the owners will get a bottle of Prosecco and their Sunday dinner on the house. Very cute.
COME AS YOU ARE | THE REFUGE | 27 - 30 AUGUST
The Refuge’s beloved Come As You Are party is back this year inviting everyone to enjoy an inclusive line-up of music and performances among the slick surrounds of the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel. Taking place on the terrace on Waterhouse Way, a selection of local DJ heroes including DJ Paulette, Jamie Bull, BB (Supernature Disco) will be bringing the best in disco and house alongside Refuge regulars Massey, Abigail Ward, Sprechen, Kim Lana. Queer Latifah, alongside DJ Mix-Stress & Deb Jump and Studio Honey will also be curating a special night and visitors can also expect performances from House of Ghetto, The Sunday Boys and Manchester drag royalty the Family Gorgeous.
PRIDE WEEKEND | PEN & PENCIL | 27 - 29 AUGUST
You can always count on the Pen & Pencil for a good knees-up in the Northern Quarter. Pride Weekend will be no different with plenty to get stuck into away from the official events. In-house favourite Danny Ward will be on the decks on Friday until 2am, with a bottomless brunch the next day providing either the perfect hangover cure or much-needed hair of the dog. DJ Bucky and A Deeper Groove complete the Saturday bill with the spritely Midnight Riot on until 2am on Sunday night. Bottomless brunch must be booked in advance. A £6 Pride Cocktail Special will be on throughout the weekend with 10% of proceeds going to gender diversity charity Mermaids UK.
THE GARDEN OF FREEDOM | AFFLECKS | 28 AUGUST
As if we needed more reasons to love Afflecks, here’s another. In light of the cancelled official Pride Parade this year, on Saturday 28 August Afflecks is hosting a fancy dress garden party with the theme of “anything goes” in its place. Of course, prizes will be on offer for the best-dressed guests. The much-loved Manchester emporium will also be dressed to the nines with plenty of glitter and colour, with drag queens on the loose and a drag queen DJ belting out essential tunes. Needless to say, the building’s collection of independent retailers will also be celebrating, with Manchester’s own Gay Pride Shop - the nation’s biggest LGBTQ+ shop - an ideal stop-off for any last-minute flag needs. Entry is free.
HIGH HOOPS PRIDE WEEKENDER | SQUARE ONE & WHITE HOTEL | 28 - 29 August
Square One is back with its biggest party yet to celebrate Pride and headlined by producer and house set master, Midland. Joining the Leeds-based producer for a dance all-dayer running from 2 - 11pm will be DJ City, High Hoops, Michael Upson (Love Muscle), Niks and Supernature Disco. White Hotel then takes over for Saturday and Sunday with a line-up including Or:la, Abena, LUXE (Saturday 11pm until 6am) and CCL, Sayang, Dan Beaumont (11pm until 6am). Tickets start at £20 excluding booking fees and are available now.
KISS ME AGAIN PRIDE 2021 | SOUP | 29 AUGUST
A big, loving welcome back to SOUP queer club night heroes Kiss Me Again who will be back on Pride weekend for their first night in 18 months. No guests on the decks this time just Antoin KMA, David KMA and Matt KMA closing Pride in style in that wonderfully sticky basement, which it’s worth pointing out has had an all-new ventilation system installed. All profits from the night will be donated to the LGBT Foundation with advance tickets and some on the door priced at £8.
MANCHESTER LGBT+ HISTORY RIDE | TREK BICYCLES PICCADILLY | 29 AUGUST
Racers, start your engines because there's a really nice event on the Sunday morning of Pride weekend from Piccadilly bike shop Trek in association with Pride Out bike club. Cycling at a leisurely pace, with all LGBTQ+ and ally riders welcome, the eight-mile ride will take in significant LGBTQ+ sites across Manchester celebrating the likes of Alan Turing and Emmeline Pankhurst as well as highlighting sites that were crucial to influential gay, lesbian and bisexual meetings. All bike types are welcome and the route will cover largely flat ground. Riders are encouraged to get down to Trek for 10am for early refreshments and bike checks.
DIDSBURY PRIDE | PARISH CENTRE GARDENS | 4 SEPTEMBER
Pride is coming to the 'burbs in September too. Taking place at the Parish Centre Gardens behind Emmanuel Church on Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury Pride will be a fun and inclusive event just outside the city centre. Now in its third year, the event is especially unique in being one of very few organised by a church community. Food and drink will be available on site as well as a maker’s market, bouncy castle, samba and choir. Entry is free and all are welcome.
GM DIGITAL PRIDE | STREAMING ONLINE | 25 SEPTEMBER
Carl Austin-Behan, the LGBTQ+ Advisor to The Mayor, has been working with all 10 boroughs across Greater Manchester to set up the GM Pride Network Partnership where the organisers of the community pride events are working in collaboration to share expertise, knowledge, support and best practice.
“Due to the current uncertainty of LIVE events being able to take place, we wanted to make sure that all our LGBTQ+ Community could still engage with their respected communities in a meaningful way and via GM Digital Pride we hope to achieve this," he said.
The event will be streamed via StreamGM and there will be content from various artists from all the boroughs split throughout the event so it doesn’t matter if you’re from Wigan, Bolton, Salford, Trafford, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Bury, Tameside or Manchester there will be something for you to keep you entertained. This is a chance to do Pride from the comfort of your own living room and help raise money for the George House Trust and the LGBT Foundation. The event is streaming from 12pm-12am.
BURY PRIDE RAINBOW TRAIN | BOLTON STREET STATION, BURY | 26 SEPTEMBER
It’s all aboard the East Lancs railway for Bury Pride’s second annual Rainbow Train which will be setting off from and returning to Bolton Street Station in Bury. Travellers will be in for a colourful journey filled with local drag performers, musicians and entertainment as the beautiful scenery of the Lancashire countryside rolls past the windows. Tickets are still available including ten spaces for wheelchairs.
Main picture credit: Jody Hartley
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