You may recall that last year, when Manchester Pride weekend came around, I opted to sit it out. I still celebrated the weekend in my own way, but I didn’t attend The Big Weekend – the four-day event/party which takes place in the city.
This year, it’s likely I’ll be sitting Pride out again – but not because I have other plans, but because I’m being priced out of the event. And it’s not just me – a lot of people are being priced out too.
Last week, tickets went on sale for Manchester Pride Festival 2019. Unlike past years, where the tickets ranged between £20-£30 for a weekend pass, this year the price has jumped up to a whopping £64.50!
With a booking fee on top (yes, there’s a booking fee), a weekend ticket will cost around £71 – which is double what a ticket cost last year. Understandably, a lot of people are rather frustrated and confused about this price jump.
So, what gives? Is this because the event has moved?
Why has Manchester Pride moved from the Village?
Last year, the organisers of Manchester Pride announced that 2019’s Pride event would be moving location. The reason for this was simple: A developer had bought land in Manchester’s Gay Village and there was no way the organisers could erect a huge stage and various events when the space was no longer available.
It was not the news many wanted to hear – especially as the four-day Pride event at the Village had become so popular. The idea of moving it out of the Village seemed disastrous.
After many suggestions from Pride-goers about where the event could be relocated to, a venue was finally announced – Mayfield Depot. The new venue – just a short walk from the Village – seemed like a fair compromise.
The idea was to house the stage/events at Mayfield Depot, while keeping the Village as the main hub/after party space. Sure, it wouldn’t be quite the same as Pride of yesteryear, but it would be fine, right?
The new venue has brought new wrinkles.
Wrinkle #1: The stage/events being held at Mayfield Depot will take place on the Saturday/Sunday only, rather than the Friday – Monday of previous years. So instead of four days of pop acts, there are now only two.
Wrinkle #2: The creation of a second venue means Pride-goers still need to pay to get into the Village. After all, the Village will still require security for the weekend and someone needs to pay for it.
So, how does the pricing work?
Pricing for Manchester Pride 2019
If you want to attend the two days at Mayfield (aka Manchester Pride Live), plus you want four-day weekend access to the Village, you will need to pay the aforementioned £64.50 (plus booking fee). Should you only want access to one day at Mayfield it’ll cost you £34.50 (plus booking fee) on the Saturday or £38.50 (plus booking fee) on the Sunday.
If you decide you want to skip Mayfield altogether then it will cost you £15 for a weekend pass to the Village, or a tenner per night if you opt to visit for one day. A family ticket (2 adults/2 children) is also available for £20.
Now the organisers of Pride have said that the cost to get into the Village this year is cheaper than it was last year, which is technically true. However, it’s not the same event as it was last year and none of the pop stars that usually perform in the Village will be there.
And this is what is angering many people. The price to get into Mayfield Depot is one thing, but then charging to get into the Village is something else.
I understand the need for security, so it’s difficult to argue against a charge that will pay to make the venue secure. After all, Pride brings a HUGE amount of people to the city and the Village becomes swamped, but this pricing just doesn’t seem quite right.
According to Manchester Pride, “Manchester Pride Live at Mayfield will take place over two days – Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August – and will host about 30 artists across two stages in and around the Mayfield Depot, part of the former Mayfield Station site. World class acts will perform each day in a ticket-only party, the like of which has never been seen before at the festival.”
Who are these 30 artists?
Unfortunately, there’s no news on who will be appearing amongst this line up. Presumably it’ll be artists of note to warrant the new ticket prices, but for the moment if you’re buying a ticket, it’s not clear who you’re paying for.
I’m really unsure how I feel about the whole situation. I understand that circumstances have changed and the event has had to change too, but the new pricing just seems too high.
I published a post last summer, asking if comic book conventions were becoming too expensive? I feel like this is a similar situation.
When an event gets past a certain price point, is it all just a bit too much? Adding in travel, accommodation, drinks, food and other costs, this is an expensive weekend, especially if you want to attend as a couple/family.
What do you think? Are you attending Pride this year? If so, what ticket are you going for?
If you’re not going, is it due to the cost of the tickets? How do you think this situation could have been handled differently?
Sound off in the comments section below.