Manchester Pride Festival: history of iconic event including when it first took place and what charity does

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
For decades, Manchester Pride has been one of the biggest of its kind in Europe 

It’s August, which means the Manchester Pride Festival is just around the corner. For a wholesale weekend, thousands will descend on the city to mark the special event. 

The festival and parade are highlights of the Manchester social calendar, and both have been around for decades. They have continued to grow, but both came from pretty humble beginnings. 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It’s no secret that Manchester has long been on the forefront of progression and advancement, and the pride movement is no exception. Since the 1980s, fundraising events have been held over the August Bank Holiday weekend- the first being the Rembrandt Hotel. 

The next big step came in 1985 when Manchester City Council awarded a £1,700 grant to put on a two-week celebration, complete with a huge banner adorning Oxford Street. The event that would eventually become the Manchester Pride Festival, and the event as we know it today was born.

Three years later in 1988 Manchester hosted a huge anti-Section 28 protest. Over 20,000 people took to the streets to let their disquiet be heard. It was one of the largest LGBTQ+ demonstrations ever to take place in the UK. 

Into the 1990s and the summer of 1991, the Village Charity established the festival then known as Manchester Mardi Gras, 'The Carnival of Fun'. The celebration was a success and raised £15,000 for HIV and AIDS causes.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The event has continued to grow over the years, and the last 15 years in particular has become a true expression of pride. The big highlight of the festival, the famous Manchester Pride Parade is the city’s biggest parade, grinding traffic to a halt as tens of thousands of LGBTQ+ people and their allies march together for equality. In 2023, the parade will return with its colour and flare. 

In 2022, the Manchester Pride Festival raised £120,062.38 for LGBTQ+ good causes in Greater Manchester. The countdown is on for the 2023 event- and it is sure to be one not to be missed. 

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.