Over the August bank holiday weekend I attended Manchester pride 2019. The event was held at various locations around the city and I was there and I both loved and hated it.
I’ll come onto why I loved and hated it in a minute but for those who don’t know, Pride is an annual event to celebrate the LGBT community in Manchester and is held around the Canal Street area of the city. On Saturday there’s also a parade to celebrate LGBT lifestyles. The event is in its 34th year and it was founded in 1985.
The event is held over the August bank holiday weekend and starts on Friday evening and goes through to Monday evening.
Unfortunately this year I was only able to do Friday, Saturday and Sunday and this blog post is my experience of those three days.
On Saturday there is a parade through the streets of Manchester to celebrate LGBT lifestyles with floats and exhibitions by many of Manchester’s businesses. The parade this year took over 2 hours to pass us by and in places was brilliant as well as funny. Some of the lorries had great shows on them and others were just amazing because of the amount of people or quality of their costumes.
So the Manchester Pride 2019 weekend.
I’m going to talk first about why I had a bad experience and what really soured the deal. This was the VIP area of the Mayfield site which I feel wasn’t necessarily VIP but VI “over there somewhere”!
The event organisers obviously had a reason for putting the VIP area where they did, but this is only known to them, but IMHO there was a better area nearer to the stage, on the right hand side. Better view, better area. The location wasn’t lost of some of the folk we talked to in the VIP area.
Not that the area used was bad but there was no direct view of the stage as they had put the “Diamond ticket” viewing platform in-front of the VIP area. The organisers must have then realised that you couldn’t see the stage so had put a small TV with a live stream of the stage on it! Which promptly went off until a tech showed up to fix it and then it promptly went off again after he left. Maybe he had an interesting evening.
Also the noise from the Gaydio stage (which was very good) drowned out most of the noise from the main stage when you were sat in one of the few places you could see the main stage from the VIP area.
The main stage area itself was pretty good but I would have been pissed if I’d dressed up to go here as the ground would have ruined decent shoes. Think more hardcore gravel than hardcore music.
The walking shoes I actually wore to here where filthy by the end of the night the ground was that bad. Not muddy but dusty. This coupled with lack of places to sit, there was many folk sat on the floor through the venue on the dirty, dusty floor.
Music was great but the band we’d actually gone to see cancelled at the last moment, not an issue but what did strike me was that we didn’t know where each band was playing, or on which stage they were playing, until the actual day they were due to play.
Had I know this beforehand I would not have booked the tickets for Mayfield and sat in Sackville gardens in the village all weekend at the Thomas Cooke Stage.
Anyway that’s the bad bit so enough belly aching about the Mayfield’s site and let’s talk about the atmosphere and the acts, aka the good bits.
The Mayfield’s site is indeed big, and I can see why the organisers might have chosen this location as there are both large indoor and outdoor areas plus the potential to make the site secure as well as prevent unauthorized access is one of its key factors. The weather on the bank holiday weekend was sweet with temperatures in the mid 20’s so it was a welcome break to be inside in the later afternoon and had it rained the indoor space would have been ace.
The Mayfield’s site, for those who don’t know, is an old industrial area and the interior is dotted with huge steel and concrete pillars which hold the floors above up but they are slim enough as to not obstruct the views around the area.
Inside there is 4 huge areas made up of the reception/food area, 2 stage areas and a hall with the vip access and toilets.
The two main stage areas where seperated by a huge wall but the music volume did bleed from stage to stage.
The 5th area of the indoor section was on the roof of the Mayfield’s building and this was home to fairground rides, most you wouldnt catch me dead on.
Outside at Mayfield’s was the mainstage which could be viewed almost everywhere outside. The exception of this, being the VIP area.
Bar areas were all over the site along with massive amounts of fencing for queueing.
Music quality was fantastic and I doth my cap to the company who had setup the stages as the volume and quality where amazing. On Saturday afternoon i was sat listening to a DJ set and the bass was fantastic without being of a volume it shakes your innards to pieces.
Acts were a plenty, along with a great compaire who was both entertaining and funny. For those who were hard of hearing there were staff doing sign language at the front of the stage, something the compaire found amusing when he said certain sexual words and these were translated into sign language. Who knew the sign language for rimming was an action one can only describe as parting two arse cheeks and licking.
I did enjoy Mayfield’s but there was just a little bit disappointed in the lack of view of the stage from the VIP area and the areas general location to the stage itself.
The village experience
After Mayfield’s was the village experience. This is held in the gay village on Canal Street in Manchester. Next year I’ll be going here directly and staying here as the phenomenon that was Mayfield’s wasn’t a patch on this event location.
The village in Manchester is already notorious as a place to be, a place to visit where trouble is minimal, where egos and testosterone fueled bravado are left behind. I can say I wasn’t disappointed.
The village was great and I litterly spent all evening chatting to men, women and drag queens. An amazing experience although I think the way I dressed may have had something to do with it.
The acts on the Thomas Cooke stage at Sackville Street gardens were ace and again, 5 stars to the sound and AV guys for an amazing spectacle. The atmosphere in the gardens was mint and we did spend quite a bit of time in here but this may have had more to do with the prosecco bar!
Compared to bars at Mayfield’s you can see the expertise and professionalism of the staff at the village bars as they dispatch drinks to the punters in a fraction of the time and relatively cheaper than Mayfield’s.
The party in the village went on time the small hours and I ended up sat upstairs in G-A-Y getting more and more pickled.
A great weekend had by all and I look forward to next year’s event.