Manchester’s infamous Pride is off to a flying start with the news that none other than Sir Ian McKellen will be the Grand Marshal at this year’s Pride Parade.
Sir McKellen, who hails from Burnley, is one of the world’s leading LGBT rights campaigners and will lead the parade through the streets of Manchester on Saturday 29 August.
A star in hugely popular films such as The Lord of the Rings and X-Men, Sir Ian will follow in the footsteps of last year’s hugely popular parade leader, Lea Delaria from Orange is the New Black.
Mark Fletcher, Chief Executive of Manchester Pride said, “We’re privileged that Sir Ian will be leading the parade through Manchester City Centre in this milestone year, where we are marking 25 years of charity fundraising events celebrating LGBT life in Manchester.
“Sir Ian is a genuine inspiration for the global LGBT community, not only for his status as one of the world’s most acclaimed actors but also for his unwavering dedication to campaigning for LGBT rights.”
Speaking about this year’s theme of ‘Devotion’ Mark added, “Manchester is a city devoted to embracing and celebrating diversity, especially the LGBT communities that have helped to shape Manchester’s cultural heritage and landscape over the centuries. We want people to celebrate the fact that Manchester is proud of its LGBT history and shares in its future.
“Whoever or whatever you’re devoted to – the Manchester Pride Parade is the perfect platform to show your devotion!”
Expected to be the biggest and best parade yet, this year’s procession will take a new mile-long route, setting off from Liverpool Road down Deansgate, turning up Peter Street, then leading onto Oxford Street, Portland Street and Princess Street. The parade will then turn onto Whitworth Street ending outside Manchester’s world-famous Gay Village on Fairfield Street.
This year’s parade is expected to consist of around 2,500 people from across Greater Manchester, with around 100 entries from small community groups, to large commercial organisations all expressing their support to the LGBT community as well as the thousands of spectators lining the streets in support.
A host of big names including Texas, Union J and DJ Fresh will perform in Manchester during the Big Weekend. They will be joined by Lucy Spraggan, Heather Peace, the Shane Ritchie Band and many more to be announced.
The Parade is a free event that is part of the wider Manchester Pride Festival. The Big Weekend tickets are currently priced at £25 for a weekend ticket, £15 for day tickets and children’s tickets are also available from £5. Tickets provide guests with access to the event site, including the Main Arena, Sackville Gardens, the Gaydio Dance Arena and the Expo and help Manchester Pride raise money for LGBT and HIV charities and organisations in Greater Manchester.
For more information on The Big Weekend visit the new website at bigweekend.manchesterpride.com
In addition to the Big Weekend and Manchester Pride festival, several events will take place throughout the month of August and continue throughout 2015.
To find out more about the Manchester Pride you can follow the charity on Twitter @manchesterpride or visit the website at manchesterpride.com