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Manchester Pride: The top 5 acts not to miss this weekend

By Will Stroude

Gay pride is all about celebrating LGBT+ love, equality, and diversity obviously, but it’s also about getting pissed with your mates in the presence of some of the UK’s biggest and pop stars, right?

Thankfully, Manchester Pride knows exactly what it’s doing in that regard, with no less than four days of performances planned throughout the city centre as part of The Big Weekend (which you can still get tickets for here, FYI).

There are more acts spread over the festival’s three stages than we can bring ourselves to count, but there are some we’ll be making sure not to miss over the course of the weekend, and neither should your lovely selves.

We’ve already brought you our handy guide of everything you need to know about what’s happening when it comes to parade times, routes and the like – now it’s time to find out where you should be headed when the party really gets going…

Melanie C

When: 9.45pm, Friday 25 August
Where: The Thomas Cook Airlines USA Stage

Is a gay pride truly a gay pride unless at least one member of the Spice Girls is in attendance? Perhaps, but certainly not one we want to be at. Mel C – aka the best solo Spice (don’t fight us) –  will be getting the weekend’s big festivities officially underway with a headline set in the centre of Manchester’s gay village on Friday night. Mel’s a girl who knows what the gays want (even if she sometimes refuses to give it to us *cough* Spice Girls reunion *cough*) so expect plenty of the bangers from her 18-year solo career to get you into the party spirit. Give us a live rendition ‘I Turn To You’, Mel, and we’ll forgive you for letting GEM happen.

Louisa Johnson

When: 8.30pm, Sunday 27 August
Where: The Thomas Cook Airlines USA Stage

Listen up, world! It’s time to stop sleeping on Louisa Johnson. The 2015 X Factor winner criminally robbed of the chart smash she deserved when the British public failed to buy ‘Best Behaviour’, and the 19-year-old from Essex has pipes to compete with the world’s biggest pop girls. Louisa put of a show-stopping performance at Brighton Pride earlier this month (think pink, think glitter) and crowds can expect more of the same in Manchester as she delivers hits like ‘So Good’ and her Clean Bandit anti-heartbreak anthem ‘Tears’. Which brings us nicely on to our next act…

Clean Bandit

When: 9.30pm, Sunday 27 August
Where: The Thomas Cook Airlines USA Stage

The might be missing their dishy violinist since Neil Milan decided to quit the chart-topping group last year, but Clean Bandit this year have proved that being a man down hasn’t slowed them down. With two more UK Number Ones added to their impressive discography this year in the form of ‘Rockabye’ and the Zara Larsson-fronted ‘Symphony’ (complete with a video that features a hearbtreaking gay love story, you can expect Grace Chatto and brothers Jack and Luke Patterson to heal your hangover with hits on Sunday night. Plus, they’re on right after Louisa Johnson, who we’re fully expecting to join them on stage to see out the night with a barn-storming rendition of ‘Tears’. We’ll be the ones at the front screaming along into a bottle of alco-pop.

Liberty X Girls

When: 8pm, Monday 29 August
Where: The Thomas Cook Airlines USA Stage

If you’re still standing come Monday night, three-fifths Liberty X will be transporting crowds back to the early noughties with the some of the former Pop Idol rejects’ biggest hits. Yep, the girls have shed the testosterone-filled deadweight to give Manchester a concentrated dose of gay pop goodness. We want Jessica Taylor in enough PVC to make the leather-daddies blush. We want Michelle Heaton swinging a cane dangerously over the heads of increasingly unnerved fans. at In fact, we basically just want a scene-by-scene recreation of the ‘Just a Little’ video live on stage please.

Gok Wan DJ set

When: 4.45pm, Saturday 26 August
Where: The Thomas Cook Airlines USA Stage

Whether he’s cooking, making people look good naked, presenting the Attitude Pride awards or turning tables on the DJ decks, apparently there is nothing our Lord Gok Wan can’t do. The 42(!)-year-old TV host will be keeping the Pride parade hype going on Saturday afternoon as he spins some tunes on the main stage. Attitude saw him doing his DJ thang at big ‘ole gay fest The Mighty Hoopla earlier this summer and we can personally vouch that it went OFFFF. We’ll see you there.

For more information visit Grab your tickets for The Big Weekend festival here.

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