While plans for Manchester Pride Festival have been put on hold this year, the LGBTQ+ charity has announced an alternative line-up of virtual events for the community and its allies to enjoy.

The physical event will return to Greater Manchester in August 2021 when it will hopefully be safe to hold large gatherings again, after this year’s line-up was postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the team have worked hard over the past few months to organise The Alternative Manchester Pride Festival 2020, which will feature free content for people to enjoy from the safety of their own homes over the weekend 29-31 August.

There will be a day of content inspired by the Festival’s Manchester Pride Live event on the Saturday, including live DJ sets, performances and legacy shows from previous years. The content will be available to stream agin on the Sunday for anyone who may have missed it.

Also on the Sunday there will be a line-up of YouTube programming curated by the charity’s Superbia and Youth Pride MCR teams.

On the Monday, the Candlelit Vigil will be streamed online so as many people as possible can join it. It will also be broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester and Gaydio.

“We have had an unbelievably tough four months as I know many other organisations both commercial and otherwise have and I am very proud that we are still in a position to deliver this much needed celebration of LGBTQ+ life,” said Mark Fletcher, chief executive for Manchester Pride.

“The country is still in shock and many members of our community have been adversely affected by the pandemic, whilst also our Trans and BAME families have faced further challenges. It is more important than ever that we keep conversations around equality and inclusion heard whilst also providing much needed entertainment.

“We remain unable to provide a large scale physical festival but we very much want Manchester’s Gay Village to remain at the heart of what we do. We are working to host a safe and distanced Vigil gathering in Sackville Gardens on Monday 31 August. We will also support the Gay Village businesses in whatever they are able to offer customers over the weekend and every other day too.

“I want to thank all of our partners and supporters that are pulling together to help us deliver this year’s alternative festival. From community groups to partners such as Gaydio, Hits Radio, BBC Radio Manchester, United We Stream, Manchester City Council, GMCA and a special thanks to Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Holidays and each of our other sponsors who are supporting this vital activity.

“Our Festival enables us to help LGBTQ+ people, organisations and charities and without the support of ticket buyers and sponsors we will not be able to continue this work. I ask that over the weekend anyone who can, does donate, because we must continue our work in supporting LGBTQ+ people across Greater Manchester. The conversation must, and will, continue…”

Sacha Lord said: “We are really pleased to bring United We Stream back online for Manchester Pride’s alternative festival. The Festival is a huge part of our city and we know how much LGBTQ+ people across Greater Manchester will miss it. I know we can deliver a brilliant alternative which will hopefully also raise loads of money for the charity to continue its vital work into 2021.”

There will be opportunity for the LGBTQ+ to contribute to the virtual festival through photos, videos and more.

If you would like to donate to Manchester Pride you can do so through the charity’s Just Giving page or donate £3 to Manchester Pride by texting MCRPRIDE to 70450. Texts cost £3 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about its work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. Those who would like to give £3 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text MCRPRIDENOINFO to 70450.