Manchester Pride faces rival over £70 entry fee

A second Manchester pride festival for 2019 has been announced – for June, a couple of months ahead of the annual fundraising festival. So far details are rather thin on the ground.

The move has been in part prompted by the unveiling of new ticket prices for the long-running event, which has operated as a fundraising event since the start of the 1990s and acquired the “pride” moniker relatively late on. Tickets for the ‘big weekend’ previously cost from £16 or so, but in a surprise move for 2019 they are now to be ‘per area’ tickets rather than all-in.  Passes for the cordoned-off area of Manchester’s LGBT village will still start at £16, but with the main music stage moved to another building and subject to an additonal £50 fee.

The leap from a £20 weekender to a £70 one comes because the festival’s model has been undermined by a series of planning decisions taken by the local council. Manchester Council have removed most of the open spaces used by Manchester Pride for entertainment and community stalls.

Manchester Pride is elsewhere facing controversy as it reshapes itself – a move to become more obviously welcoming for BME attendees on the one hand, but hosting events that are deliberately less welcoming to BME people, trans people and other marginalised groups on the other.

Thus the popular interest might be there right now for a more “back to basics” pride akin to those held in the city in the 1990s – but would they be as viable with all the open spaces that have been lost to developers since then, and will they raise anything like as much for LGBT and HIV causes in the region?

We’ll be watching for news as the summer approaches.