HOTELS get booked up way in advance. Visitors flock from across the UK and beyond. And for 72 hours, Manchester becomes the epicentre of the LGBT universe. It's Manchester Pride's Big Weekend and August Bank Holiday in the city wouldn't be the same without it.
It's a home-grown Manchester festival for anyone who wants a full-on, long weekend of live music, world-class DJs, entertainment, and partying.
The Big Weekend is the climax of Manchester Pride, and the city's longest-running major annual event. A pioneering celebration of Manchester's vibrant gay scene and a fundraiser for the LGBT community, it's known as one of the best Pride events in the UK.
Over the years it's established itself as a home-grown Manchester festival for anyone who wants a long weekend of live music, world-class DJs, entertainment, and partying. So what have we got to look forward to this year?
The main arena acts are yet to be announced but judging from previous years, you can expect big names. Kelis, Gossip, and The Feeling have all played this stage in the past.
The Indoor Arena will return again after its debut last year. By day, this space is a lifestyle exhibition packed with stalls covering everything LGBT, from health to legal advice to sports clubs and travel. By night the space is transformed into a dance arena featuring some of Europe's leading DJs. Head here for early hours partying and high-energy music.
Over in Sackville Gardens, the focus is on the local community. Here you'll find local music, groups and entertainment, and the popular Women's Stage.
The surrounding streets of the Village will be at their liveliest during The Big Weekend. There'll be a market selling souvenirs, fashion, food and a whole lot of rainbow flags. And the bars, clubs and restaurants will be putting on their own celebrations – with live entertainment, drinks deals, parties and more. The Big Weekend wristband gets you in.
Manchester's Gay Village is known all over the world for its atmosphere and diverse culture. The Big Weekend is a chance to experience it in full festival flow. Whether you're gay, straight, young or old, it's yours to enjoy – wristbands work out at a tiny £5.50 a day.
Tickets for the four days of the Big Weekend are £22.
The Big Weekend 2014 takes place from Friday 22 August to Monday 25 August.
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