Manchester Pride has added the Mayfield Depot to its programme of events, alongside introducing a new flag for the 2019 edition of the festival.
Traditionally taking place over the August Bank Holiday, Pride had faced some concerns around its traditional Gay Village site due to ongoing building developments.
The Mayfield element of the festival will be a ticketed event, and will be held on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th August, called Pride Live. It replaces the previous incarnation, the Big Weekend.
The addition of Mayfield is to mitigate the loss of stage space in the Village, with Manchester Pride CEO Mark Fletcher claiming the disused railway station would see “world-class acts” perform, but refused to be drawn on who would be headlining the festival. He added that acts would be announced in the next six weeks, with tickets on sale from 31st January.
Pride Live will be made up of numerous stages, enhancing the capacity of the festival as a whole. However, Fletcher could not confirm the exact capacity figure for Pride Live.
The other major announcement was an alteration to the traditional Pride flag. Black and brown bands will be added to the top of the rainbow, to celebrate the contribution of people of colour to the LGBT+ community. This version of the flag was first adopted by the US city of Philadelphia in 2017.
A new Youth Pride was also announced, aimed at 16-25 year olds. The free-to-attend event will be an alcohol-free space, as will the Superbia Weekend — “a culturally rich alternative to the hedonism of the other elements of the festival”.
When addressing the tricky issue of the ongoing developments in the Village, Mark Fletcher said the Pride parade route would remain unchanged and still travel through its traditional city centre hub. Also unchanged is the Sackville Gardens Candlelit Vigil, which sees the park transformed into “a sea of flickering candles” to allow attendees to “take a minute to remember those lost to the HIV virus”.
Fletcher added: “Manchester has always led the way in advancement of LGBT+ rights. What’s more, 2019 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising; an event which kick-started a half-century of LGBT+ right liberation.
“We’ve been working hard to ensure that the political messaging and purpose of the Manchester Pride Festival remains clear and accessible for everyone.”