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With the country out of lockdown and Manchester Pride allowed to go ahead, Friday night (27 August) saw the beginning of the weekend’s festivities as thousands gathered in the streets to party the night away. The annual Manchester Pride Festival made a return after last summer’s scaled-back celebrations due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, marking the first major organised event to take place since the pandemic began.

Taking place from Friday 27 August to Monday 30 August, the weekend featured an array of culture-based events which saw the community properly come together for the first time in almost two years. Saturday saw the beginning of MCR Pride Live, which featured performances from the likes of Yungblud, Jodie Harsh and Sophie-Ellis Bextor.

The event continued across the weekend, with Zara Larsson closing out the show on Sunday evening – something Ariana Grande did for the last time pre-Covid in 2019. The party raged on into the Bank Holiday as thousands continued to celebrate in the Gay Village, culminating in a candelit vigil on Monday night.

It closes out the four day festival every year as a tribute to those we have lost to HIV/AIDS and serves as a reminder of the LGBTQ+ people still being persecuted for who they are. In this photo essay, GAY TIMES document some of the highlights of what will be remembered as one of Manchester’s most special Pride events to date.