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Village Round-Up

Wayne Clews looks ahead to the Big Weekend

Published on August 15th 2008.

Village Round-Up

Manchester Pride reaches its frothy, flamboyant climax over the bank holiday weekend. Suitably entitled the Big Weekend, the festival certainly goes out with a bang but, if you want to enjoy the atmosphere of the Gay Village, now is the time to rush out and get a ticket.

These are available from most gay venues or from www.manchesterpride.com and gain you access to the Village for the whole shebang. Otherwise, the charms of a packed Canal Street will escape you and you will miss all of the acts performing on the main stage in the Village. So far to be confirmed are Sophie Ellis-Bextor, 4 Poofs and a Piano, Heather Small and Danish popsters Alphabeat.

At the heart of the Big Weekend is the parade on Saturday which winds its way from Castlefield towards the Village from 2pm. Expect the usual understated affair and a carnival atmosphere to rival Rio whatever the weather. And it’s completely free.

After the parade, there is plenty to keep the hedonist busy. Uni-Challenge takes over Manchester University Students Union and offers nine rooms of cutting edge clubbing with DJs from Federation and Ibiza. For women, Vanilla are promoting the oddly-named Fish Tank, at Club Alter Ego- a women only event playing over two rooms mixing dance and indie. Poptastic has decamped from its usual home to take up temporary residence at the WKD Arches beneath Piccadilly Station for a naughtily nautical themed event. Cruz, meanwhile, opts for a club transformation and a guest appearance from Michelle Gayle.

Sunday offers no let-up for the hardened clubber. Highlights include Essential’s Strangeways with former Sugababe Mutya Buena, live on stage, and HMS Federation which takes over the Ritz for one, very long night.

Manchester Pride comes to a close on Bank Holiday Monday and, as usual, opts for a dignified closing ceremony. The Candlelit Vigil, a moving tribute to those living with HIV or those we have lost, takes place in Sackville Gardens at 9pm. It’s a chance to take a moment and reflect amidst all the mayhem of what promises to be the biggest Manchester Pride ever.


Mr Gay UK Final
Friday, The Ritz, 10pm-5am, £10
A chance to ogle at the oh-so naturally tanned gym queens who probably hope winning this contest will make them seem more interesting. They probably look better in Speedo’s than me however.

Manfest 2008
Sunday, WKD Arches, 10pm-6am, £18 adv
A huge, sprawling men-only event with – ahem – specialist side shows. There is a strict dress code, so best to err on the side of fetish. I don’t think cardigans count.

Disco Inferno Closing Party
Monday, Cruz 101, 11pm-6am, £8
End your Pride in traditional fashion at this long-running party night. There’s a live appearance from Gwen Dickey, of Rose Royce fame, and it’s free entry to all Pride volunteers and Village staff.

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