Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Big Change for Pride as Music Stages Set to Move in 2019

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Big Change for Pride as Music Stages Set to Move in 2019

Article excerpt

MANCHESTER Pride's Big Weekend will mark the end of an era this August bank holiday weekend - with the festival's main music stages set to be relocated next year.

Organisers of the LGBT+ celebration say next year's event will 'look and feel radically different', when the Main Stage and Gaydio Dance Arena will be relocated from their existing locations in the Gay Village ahead of a wave of development taking place in the area.

The Pride charity is launching a consultation on the plans, which could include moving the stages out of the neighbourhood altogether, but says nothing is set in stone.

The area around Canal Street will remain the event's 'spiritual home', and the charity says it will continue to play an important part in the celebrations - including hosting the candlelit vigil - whatever the outcome.

Manchester Pride's chief executive, Mark Fletcher, said there 'simply won't be the space' for the event to take place in the usual way next year given the long-term regeneration plans for the area, including the privately-owned car park that currently houses the Thomas Cook Airlines Main Stage, which has been earmarked for redevelopment.

"A number of reasons have led to our making this decision for 2019, in order to avoid disappointing our audience in the future," he said.

"There has been speculation about the developments in the Portland Street and Gay Village area for some time.

"A number of developments are now underway in spaces that were previously used for event infrastructure.

"It's becoming increasingly difficult to plan and deliver The Big Weekend in a space that is decreasing in size.

"Next year there will be more developments taking shape that will further reduce the space available for us to deliver a safe event to the current scale.

"In addition to this, and equally impactful, is that the terms for the use of the spaces that house our Main Arena and Dance Arena have changed. …

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