Ariana Grande slays Manchester Pride – but many miss out on ‘shambles’ event

Ariana GRnade singing in front of a rainbow

Ariana Grande made an emotional return to Manchester to headline this year’s Pride celebrations, but many ticket-holders said they were refused entry creating a “health and safety disaster”.

The ‘thank U, next’ singer topped the bill at Sunday’s Manchester Pride Live, where she paid tribute to her legions of LGBT+ fans.

“The gays have always had my heart, personally,” she said. “I spent some of the happiest times of my teenage years singing in gay bars in New York City.”

Manchester Pride marked Grande’s first time performing in the city since her One Love benefit concert in 2017, which raised millions for the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.

Visibly shaking, she thanked the city for welcoming her back.

“I’m so happy to be here with you, it means the world, so thank you for having me.

“I’m sorry, I’m so nervous, I had so much more to say but I’m like very overwhelmed so thank you. It’s so beautiful, I love you so much.”

Thousands cheered on as Grande sped her way through a 30-minute set ending with a heartfelt sing-a-long to ‘One Last Time’, which was re-released as a charity single following the 2017 attack.

But for some Pride-goers, the closest they came to seeing Ariana Grande’s performance was this.

Some claimed they were refused entry despite turning up hours before the singer’s set.

Disgruntled ticket-holders reportedly took matters into their own hands, creating a “health and safety nightmare”.

For some, the “shambles” underlined a larger problem with the Pride festival.

This year’s Manchester Pride was the first to host live performances at Mayfield Depot, a former railway station turned music venue.

Weekend passes cost more than £70 including fees, more than double the cost of the previous year’s event.

Organisers said that they had been forced to move the Pride festival due to “significant property development” in Canal Street’s historic Gay Village.

They defended the rising ticket price, saying they had “essentially added a whole new event to our programme in direct response to the requests of our ticket buyers”.

Manchester Pride tweeted a warning on Saturday afternoon that the last entry to the Mayfield Depot was 7pm.

And on Sunday, it was announced on Twitter at 8pm that entry to Manchester Pride Live had been closed.

A Manchester Pride spokesperson told PinkNews: “Manchester Pride Live was an element of Manchester Pride Festival which is a multi site event.
“The festival ticket gained guests access to performances with managed capacities across the Mayfield site and the Gay Village and was not to see one artist.
“The last entry time of 7pm at Manchester Pride Live was published on our website and in the terms and conditions when purchasing tickets.
“We also promoted the closure via social media across the weekend. We had to turn away approximately 30 people who arrived after this time or left the site before and tried to come back.”