Big Weekend Survival Guide
Published: 21 August 2018 Tags: #Bigweekend By James Harris
Manchester Pride 2018 is almost upon us – here are a few tips to help you have a safe, enjoyable experience…you never know, you may have overlooked something!
For our full Pride Programme please click HERE
Bring a portable phone charger: You’re going to be using your phone A LOT – online, taking photos, trying to locate mislaid friends – so its battery is likely to abandon you sooner than usual! Never assume loyalty from a phone battery. Ever.
Agree on a regrouping point: If using your phone isn’t an option, firing a flare into the sky every time you get separated from your friends may be a little extreme. And could attract a rampaging T-rex.
Expect rain: Clear skies are full of lies. Bring a small umbrella or a disposable poncho that can fit in your pocket. Or live on the edge and forego such precautions entirely – dancing in the rain is one of the most liberating, joyful experiences you can have!
Minimise baggage: There are few surer ways of spoiling a festival experience than by loading yourself up with stuff you end up not even using, too distracted guarding against theft to fully enjoy yourself; you aren’t taking your belongings out for the day. Also, while you’re at it, leave your cares behind too – they can be the biggest baggage of all.
Visit our Community Café! If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of other Pride events, LGBT Foundation will be providing an alternative, free community space offering a range of activities in the heart of the village. It is a unique Pride experience where you can feel empowered to be yourself, and even make some new friends along the way. Just turn up whenever you feel like it – we look forward to seeing you! (See ‘Further Information’ at the bottom of the page for our location/activity schedule.)
Familiarise yourself with the Pride area layout/stage timetable: The streets around the main stage can get extremely crowded, especially in the evenings/during headline acts, so know where you need to go before you enter the chaos. Or be spontaneous and let yourself be carried along by the flow...
Arrive early to avoid disappointment: Unfortunately, your favourite act won’t wait for you to turn up before beginning their set, and once the main viewing area gets full you’ll have no choice but to watch from the outskirts, pouting disconsolately through the barriers.
Beware of thieves! Stuff that purse/wallet so far down into your pocket even you have to stretch to find it. Attach it by a chain! Stuff some notes in a sock! Even wrist wallets are a thing now – what a time to be alive.
Hydrate! All premises in England and Wales licenced to sell alcohol are required by law to provide free water, so don’t hesitate to ask if that one shot too many needs diluting.
Wear comfortable shoes: You’ll be on your feet a lot and there’ll be few opportunities/places to sit once you’re in a busy crowd!
Dealing with crowds: Even if crowded environments are a little out of your comfort zone, just relax; while crowds can be stressful, being part of one while everyone is having a good time is totally worth it. If you have an issue see one of the door staff at the venues, or one of the Manchester Pride security team, located on all entrance/exit gates.
Be patient: It’s understandable to get frustrated with people knocking into you, but everyone is in the same situation; the person who bumped into you may have been pushed in your direction by someone else, and an aggressive reaction will only make things worse. Plus getting stressed and irritable will spoil your fun.
Drug aware: Don’t assume that drugs are what they claim to be, and be aware of the risks: https://lgbt.foundation/substancemisuse/drug-types
Drink responsibly: Got to be on this list somewhere! It’s always dangerous to be drunk and disorientated in a city, but during Pride it’s even easier for someone to mug you without being noticed, more difficult for friends to find you or event staff/emergency services to reach you, and to be heard on a phone over the noise of a crowd. Don’t leave drinks unattended!
Safe sex: It’s easy to get carried away during a party atmosphere, but there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy yourself while still being responsible. LGBT Foundation will be supplying plenty of free safe sex packs to various bars and clubs throughout the village over the weekend. https://lgbt.foundation/sexualhealth
Exit plan: Make sure you know the way back to your hostel/hotel, preferably with friends. Have your accommodation details to hand, ready for the taxi driver. Write them down somewhere or set a screenshot/photo of the map as your phone background. Use a reputable cab company; there’s a black cab rank located on Chorlton Street (next to the coach station) and private hire stations around the perimeter of the event site.
Be proud: Be nice to a stranger. Share a joke with the person next to you. Resisting the rainbows is futile.
LGBT Foundation address:
5 Richmond Street
Press the buzzer and one of our friendly service delivery assistants will let you in.