Manchester Pride: Council urges revellers to enjoy coronavirus-hit event at home

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Manchester PrideImage source, Manchester Pride/TheVainPhotography
Image caption,
Manchester Pride usually centres around the Gay Village but includes a city-wide parade

People should not travel to Manchester to celebrate Pride but enjoy it "safely at home" instead, the council has said.

About 250,000 people usually attend the event, but it will be held online from Saturday until Monday due to Covid-19.

People would be "disappointed", but should understand there is "a very real threat", Councillor Bev Craig said.

Pride chief executive Mark Fletcher said it had been "a very strange year", but he was looking forward to the Pixie Lott-headlined virtual event.

The Alternative Manchester Pride Festival will see new performances from singer Louise Redknapp and TV presenter Gok Wan and reruns of previous headliner sets by Rita Ora and Years & Years.

The three-day event will also follow the annual tradition of ending with a candlelit vigil on Monday.

It will be the first time the event has not held its colourful parade centrepiece, which usually sees floats and dancers tour the city before returning to the Gay Village, but Pride's organisers said a pre-recorded one would be broadcast online on Saturday.

'Another sacrifice'

Mr Fletcher said it had been "so important we delivered a celebration we could be proud of".

"This has been a very strange year both for us and the LGBTQ+ people that we exist to support," he said.

"With fantastic new performances from many of our favourite artists, the weekend promises something for everyone."

Ms Craig, Manchester's executive member for adult health and well-being, said the celebration was "one of the biggest in the UK and will be missed".

"However, we cannot and should not forget that Covid-19 remains a very real threat.

"We have all had to make sacrifices over the last few months, and not celebrating Pride in the normal way this year is another sacrifice we have to make to keep Manchester safe.

"Please do not travel to Manchester over the bank holiday weekend."

She added that if people were "already in Manchester, please remember that bars across the city will have a limited capacity - as will the Gay Village itself - so you will be expected to queue where necessary, and if the area is too busy, you may be asked to leave."

Lockdown restrictions on social gatherings remain in Greater Manchester following a local spike in cases.

The LGBT Foundation's Joe Nellist said the absence of the festival "will be felt [but] our sense of Pride comes from our collectiveness, our unity and our resilience".

"This will never fade away, this will still be with you at home and when we are able to gather again bigger and better in the future."

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