Well, it’s the end of another Manchester Pride and Manchester Pride 2022 to will go down in my thoughts as the best Manchester pride to date.
It was best because of the people in general, the venue entertainment and the people I met along the way.
However, there are quite a few things that need a massive improvement for the 2023 event, and I’ll come on to those very shortly.
After pride 2021 I made the conscious decision to attend Manchester Pride for the entire weekend as last year I missed Sunday evening and Monday’s events, I cried having to go home on Sunday, and this year I wanted to attend the vigil in Sackville gardens on Monday evening.
So, I arrived bright eyed, and bushy tailed on Thursday afternoon. This is despite having fallen over that afternoon and bruising my ankles and cutting my legs!
High heels plus Macclesfield cobbles don’t mix!
I’d only been in the village for a few minutes, and I bumped into somebody I haven’t seen for almost a year because we fell out over the covid vaccinations. I’m not going to go into the story here, but we kissed a made up and many drinks ensued on Thursday evening. I had missed him, and he missed me ♥️
The Thursday evening did set the tone for the entire weekend, but Thursday night was quite subdued compared to the rest of the weekend and I’d gone on Thursday to watch the inter bar Olympics which was highly entertaining with three-legged races, and other bar events involving alcohol as both a prize and a forfeit. Check out my Instagram post here.
I don’t think I have laughed so much for a very long time especially when the staff started racing.
I met up with Dougie and Lisa in Centrestage and listened to Lisa prattle on as we went to the Goose. Dougie was his usual charming self. Love these two.
I really enjoyed Thursday but got very drunk and didn’t return home until gone 4am and vaguely remember going in the Thompson Arms which was surreal as I was the only female in there!
Despite only having 4 hours’ sleep I was up bright and early on Friday morning and went out for breakfast with a few friends before proceeding down to the village which even at dinnertime was still being set up.
On proceeding to get my prepaid wristband for entry from the ticket office I found out it did not open till 12 noon. I hiked back later and the queue by 2pm was ridiculous!
It was like waiting for a ride at Alton towers except the payoff was a wristband and not an end of ride photograph!
I’ve been told, had read on the Manchester Pride website, and had seen on social media that the bars were operating a wristband pledge system. This was so that attendees of the event could only buy drinks if they had a wristband.
This of course was utter bullshit and I was never challenged once even when wearing a long sleeve top which hid my wristband.
I even attended one of the bars whose owner had been quite vocal on social media about the pledge system, with a friend who didn’t have a wristband and she was not challenged once despite going to the bar numerous times even after 10 pm!
Which has made me question what the fuck have I bought a wristband for again?
After the 2021 event, I did ask myself the same question about the need to have a wristband.
If you were in the village before 10 p.m. I don’t think you really needed a wristband. The only time I was asked if I had a wristband was after this time when we left the village to get something to eat! Of course, I know what I bought a wristband for but come on, loads of people there without one. And, yes I know they wouldn’t have got into the staged events without one.
Most of the venues in the village were geared up this year for the sale of alcohol and had bars set up outside their establishments to capitalise on this.
I would ask that next year there is some kind of zero alcohol alternative as one of my friends does not drink but also doesn’t drink soft drinks either. We really struggled to get zero alcohol drinks for her anywhere but the larger establishments.
Friday for me was the best day as it wasn’t overly busy whereas Saturday and Sunday were just too busy. Sorry, they were! On Saturday and Sunday in some areas of the Village, it was almost impossible to walk down the street. This I was mainly outside the main bars. I’m not blaming the bars for this but more the lack of common sense of the punters.
However, this does happen at all major events on Canal Street, Richmond Street, and Bloom Street.
At one point we walked out of the village and around to the next entry point as this was quicker than trying to walk down Bloom Street!
The atmosphere on Friday was fantastic and I ended up at the Cabaret Stage, which despite its grand name is the car park on Bloom street, dancing to the live entertainment.
My Friday night was punctuated by sitting in the Molly house talking to a lovely couple and just sharing a chat until past 3 a.m.
It was quite easy on Friday to move about the village from stage to stage and bar to bar and because of this, it was my favorite night!
Saturday and Sunday
Saturday and Sunday by contrast were in my humble opinion far, far too busy and the atmosphere was quite different with many people being very drunk even at 3pm in the afternoon.
I know the bars must make money but the Saturday and Sunday for me seemed to be by many people about how much alcohol they could consume.
I saw numerous fights on Saturday and Sunday but because of the police presence these were jumped on almost immediately and the transgressors were removed from the village.
By contrast on Thursday and Friday evening, I did not see one single police officer inside the village.
On Saturday I would say there were two tipping points when the atmosphere changed.
The first of these was between 10:30 and 11:30 when the volume of people in the village seemed to decrease somewhat, and I can only put this down to people catching the last train home.
The second tipping point was around 12:30 and again the village got much quieter during this time, but I cannot explain why this would be. It also seemed to get more aggressive because of the number of very drunk people.
I can’t comment on the events of Saturday evening as I woke up at 5 am in a friend’s camper van where I’d been curled up asleep with her, apparently since 12.30am!
With it being a bank holiday lots and lots of people attended the event on Sunday and it was even busier than Saturday and to move down any of the streets in the village by 5pm was virtually impossible without pushing your way through!
Sunday evening for myself and many of my friends was too much and we left the village at about midnight and went back to one of my friends apartments and just chilled out there as we’d all got a bit sick of the volume of people in the village.
On Monday there was some semblance of calm back in the village and because of this, I spent all afternoon at the silent disco as I needed to dance. I met some genuinely nice people including one of the DJs who had driven to Manchester Pride from Brighton and was returning that evening. That’s dedication!
When he finished his set, he came over to me because he couldn’t believe how much I jumped about and danced for 4 hours solid. “Where did I get my energy from? What drugs am I on?” (those who know me well, know I don’t need drugs to dance!
That evening the last part to Manchester Pride 2022 was the vigil in Sackville Street gardens, which after the events of the weekend was a very somber affair.
The vigil is to mark several things.
First of all, the progress that the LGBTQ+ community has made in the past decades.
Secondly to remember the people who have died from things like HIV, and thirdly, to honor the people who have lost their lives just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or are on the LGBTQ+ spectrum and have been killed because of other people who don’t agree that they should live their lives as they see fit.
We all stood in the gardens with our candles supplied by the Terrence Higgins trust and stood in silence as the ceremony progressed.
I was standing with some friends of mine, one of whom is in his seventies now and he cried all the way through the ceremony, afterward we discussed how many of his friends he had lost over the years. Some from HIV and many from domestic violence!
The stages were fabulous this year, well most of the acts were. On Friday I ended up standing in the Bloom street car park, which was ironically called the cabaret stage. Those who know this car park will know how shocking the car park is and I saw quite a few people take a tumble, because of the quality of the surface, the raised curbs, and lack of adequate lighting.
The events here were great but the highlight for me was Duncan James from Blue who came on stage dressed in a wig, a Basque, and stockings and suspenders.
It wasn’t just his act, which was really good, but he gave quite an inspirational speech about coming out and I don’t think I was the only one that this resonated with as he got a massive cheer for his little speech.
Patrick Saint James was also pretty good. He sang quite a few songs by other artists.
On Saturday I flitted between the Cabaret stage and the Alan Turing stage in Sackville gardens and watched a variety of drag queens and drag acts which had me in fits of laughter, however, I do question whether some of the jokes were appropriate for some of the children in the audience.
On Sunday I really enjoyed the daytime events on the three stages, the highlight for me was the main stage in Sackville gardens from an act called TomYumSin. Brilliant act, very entertaining, however, I did laugh my head off at the sign language interpreter as he was trying to translate all the swear words, sexual references, and sexual acts into sign language.
K-class were up next, and they were good. I have seen them live before, the last time being at Butlins Ibiza weekend when nobody got up and danced. There were plenty of people dancing this time.
I was going to stay in Sackville gardens and watch Bimini but ended up going to the cabaret stage and watching Misty Chance, as I do find her very entertaining and she’s my friend.
I returned to the Alan Turing stage to watch Melanie C.
Now, for a start it was terribly busy, she was the headline act but for me, it was a thumbs down.
Shortly, after I actually left the village to go with a group of friends to one of their houses, where we sat and chatted until the small hours of the morning. A few of them had actually been working all day at pride behind bars and they were all knackered.
On both Saturday morning and Sunday morning, I walked home through the village and I was absolutely disgusted by the amount of detritus on the floor.
In some places, you could not see the tarmac for plastic pint pots, fast food wrappers, and other miscellaneous crap!
The whole village also stunk of piss!
The clean up crews who were out in the early hours of the morning deserve a medal for cleaning up all the shit but what staggers me when was there are large wheelie bins all over the village. Just how lazy are some people not put their rubbish in them!
While I did love this years pride I think there was a few areas that could be improved.
So fucking expensive. Now I’m not blaming the sellers for this as I spoke to a few of them and they both told me how much they’d paid to have stalls there so they need to recoup their fees.
We went out of the village because you can get a buffet Chinese for less than a tiny burger in the village.
WTF were you thinking about making some of the entrance/exits to the village entry or exit only? Or even blocking them entirely. Case in point, Sackville Street. The north end was blocked off, then an entrance then an exit. Make your mind up. The south end was an exit only.
Volume of people
On Saturday and Sunday the volume in the village was TOO MUCH. You couldn’t move, literally couldn’t move!
Thats all folks! A summary.
So, I have left Manchester Pride for another year.
I will be back in a village next week, without the pomp and ceremony of a pride event, and enjoying being around like minded people.
I’ve really enjoyed this year’s event, more so than last year’s events even though I miss some of my friends who purposely did not attend this year’s event because of last year’s.
I will also look forward to Manchester Pride 2023. I will attend Manchester Pride 2023, but I think next year ear I will more than likely only attend on Thursday, Friday, and Monday.
I’ve attached some of my photos from Manchester Pride 2022 and also some of the short videos that I took. Honestly, this year I’ve enjoyed myself too much to be standing around taking loads of photographs!
I’d like to say thank you to all the staff at the Rembrandt, Centrestage, Vanilla, Iconic and Bar pop for just making life better this weekend.