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3 minutes with - Mark Fletcher, CEO Manchester Pride

Published: 05 June 2018 Tags: Manchester Pride 2018, Mark Fletcher, Big Weekend By John Walding

With the pride season officially underway at the start of this month, this week we catch up with Manchester Pride’s CEO Mark Fletcher. We find out a little more about the challenges of staging one of the UK’s largest Pride events and what we have to look forward to at this year’s Pride Festival at the end of August.

What has been your proudest achievement as CEO of Manchester Pride?

Re-engaging the many LGBT+ people, organisations and allies who had previously felt disconnected to the charity. This has enabled me to deliver a strategy that has turned around the Charity's fundraising efforts, and placed us firmly on track to continue on our path to fight for the advancement of LGBT+ equality.

What is the biggest challenge of organising something like Manchester Pride?

The Manchester Pride Festival is made up by a series of events, each of which provide unique challenges. One of the most difficult challenges is to manage the expectations of our audience and stakeholders. We all have our personal views on what our Pride celebration should look like, who should be involved, who should support us and what the outcomes should be. It's impossible to deliver an event that aligns with each of these views. Some of the ways we manage this are by providing an opportunity for our audiences to take part in one of our listening events and also by providing and publishing clear goals and outcomes, in order that people can fully understand the true impact of the festival and Manchester Pride as a charity.

Can you tell us a little about what people can look forward to at Manchester Pride this year?

This year is set to be a huge celebration of LGBT+ life, there's a lot to look forward to!

The Festival has a diverse offering which caters for many different tastes. We've listened intently over the past three years and have worked hard to create experiences for LGBT+ people with many different tastes and views on what the city's Pride celebration looks like.

The three free to attend events are: The parade, The Superbia Weekend and The Candlelit vigil. The Parade will be one of the largest we've ever organised. This year’s theme "Circus of Acceptance" encourages us to celebrate our differences, whilst honouring the political importance of one of Europe’s largest LGBT+ Pride marches.

The Superbia Weekend, which will take place again this year at 70 Oxford Road, provides a space to experience and absorb different elements of LGBT+ culture in an alcohol free environment. You can expect to enjoy performances, panel discussions, cabaret and craft workshops. It's hosted in a great venue that welcomes all, even if to have a natter and meet new people.

The Candlelit Vigil will take place on Monday 27th August in Sackville Gardens. As the closing event for the Festival the Vigil will, once more, provide us with an opportunity to remember those lost to and living with HIV. It also acts as time to stand in unity and draw focus to the many challenges we face as LGBT+ people at home and around the world.

For those who enjoy the more hedonistic elements of the celebrations, The Big Weekend will be back with one of the largest and most diverse entertainment line-ups we've ever presented. International artists, DJ's and performers from around the world will be descending on The Gay Village to keep our spirits high and our toes tapping all weekend. The Sackville Gardens stage is always something to look forward to a this gives us a taste of what The Gay Village and the City has to offer all year round. There'll be a few new additions to this area this year, but I'm not one to ruin a surprise.

For more information on Manchester Pride visit www.manchesterpride.com

The Manchester Pride Festival runs from Friday 24 August – Monday 27 August. Tickets for the Big Weekend are on sale now.

Click here for more information.