One of Manchester’s most eagerly anticipated annual events, Manchester Pride returns to the city for 2023 with a diverse line-up of local and global talent. Co-created with Manchester’s queer communities and collectives, this year’s four-day Pride celebration is dominated by homegrown queer performers, particularly women, people of colour and trans and non-binary artists.
Taking place across the August Bank Holiday weekend that runs from 25 - 28 August, The Gay Village Party is one of the city’s biggest yearly get-togethers. For 2023, the team behind Manchester Pride aim to “symbolise the importance of changing the conversation, elevate and showcase the world's biggest queer artists, and focus on community-led performances” through their curated line-up. This year, the festival says 96% of its performers are queer (the other 4% are allies), 54% are women, 51% are people of colour, and 42% are from trans and non-binary communities in response to Manchester Pride’s Pride In Our Future report.
Fitting the bill for ‘world’s biggest queer artist’ is Brazilian drag extraordinaire, Pabllo Vittar, who will headline the Canal Street party, alongside some of Manchester’s most innovative underground queer talent. Joining Vittar, who is also the most followed drag queen in the world, are a number of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK stars, including the winner of season four, Danny Beard and runner-up Cheddar Gorgeous.
Also taking centre stage is American singer/songwriter Jake Shears, the former lead vocalist of pop-rock pioneers, Scissor Sisters. Now releasing solo music of his own, Shears will no doubt treat crowds to some of his most influential hits, including karaoke staples and dance floor fillers such as Take Your Mama and I Don’t Feel Like Dancing.
Aiming for the 2023 line up to be the most diverse yet, this year's festival will welcome the Queer Asian Takeover for the very first time. Headlining the takeover is fashion guru turned DJ, Gok Wan, who will be joined on stage by The Bitten Peach, a local, gender-diverse, pan-Asian collective. Gracie T, who runs The Beatriarchy, a South Asian creative collective and platform for unrepresented artists will also take to the stage, as well as House of Spice, an LGBTQ+ South Asian and Middle Eastern performance group.
Manchester’s trans community are also at the centre of this year’s celebrations with performances from Trans Filth & Joy who are returning for 2023 with DJs, drag, burlesque, cabaret, activism and music. Headlining Trans Filth & Joy is British drag queen BIMINI, a modern-day cultural icon who is best known for their punk aesthetic and appearance on Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK.
Also joining Manchester Pride for 2023 is Black Pride MCR, who will celebrate the black roots of multiple genres through DJs and dancers, and Fat Pride, a collective celebrating big bodies with DJs, performers, and heaps of body positivity.
The festival’s Cabaret Stage is another addition to this year’s party, hosting queer comedy, theatre and cabaret. Already confirmed is The Enby Show, credited for being an “electric, unique and vibrant” gender-bending variety show, as well as Pecs Drag Kings, a female/non-binary theatre and cabaret company. Festival goers can also expect performances from Queeriosity Cabaret, Cutie-POC Cabaret, and Disabled Queer Joy Cabaret.
And what Pride celebration is complete without a bit of pop cheese? Manchester Pride will this year host Unwritten sensation Natasha Bedingfield and Lisa Scott Lee of STEPS, the iconic early noughties five-piece that stormed UK charts with their catchy car pop hits.
Other events announced for 2023 include Youth Pride MCR and Family Pride MCR, which will open up the celebrations to young people and families through a series of performances and events including Ginny Lemon’s Dog Show and Disney Classics performed by The Untold Orchestra.
More performances come from Kelly Llorenna from N-Trance, Jodie Harsh, Misty Chance and Friends, Lucky Roy Singh, Queen Bayard, La Discothèque Orchestra, Manchester Residents Blasha and Allatt (Meat Free/Frixxxion), Kim Lana, Mix-Stress and Friends, SWAGGA, Monopoly Phonic, Kele Le Roc, and Tom Aspaul.
Mark Fletcher, CEO of Manchester Pride, said: “We have worked closely with our communities to offer a line-up that is for the community, by the community. As a world leading city and an organisation that is spearheading the global Pride movement, our aim is to provide a platform which elevates and showcases local queer performers alongside renowned international LGBTQ+ talent, with a little support from our allies. This is Manchester and this is how our communities want us to celebrate our Pride.”
The events of Manchester Pride Festival 2023 are free to attend with the exception of the Gay Village Party, tickets for which can be purchased via the link below. £2.50 from every ticket will be donated to the Manchester Pride Community Fund, with the money going directly to LGBTQ+ causes and projects in Greater Manchester through the distribution of grants.