Will Young is the first act to be announced to play Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend 2016

The Manchester Pride Festival organisers can confirm the first wave of artists that will appear at the award-winning annual Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) celebration this summer.

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Will Young is the first act to be announced to play Manchester Pride’s The Big Weekend 2016. The icon, singer and actor, will be making his only LGBT festival appearance of the year at the event held over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

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In 2015 multi-million selling Brit Award winning singer-songwriter Will released his sixth album ’85% Proof’ representing his most accomplished work to date. Arriving at the top of the charts (making it his fourth No.1 album), ‘85% Proof’ is an eclectic, hugely confident and startlingly human record which continues to cement Will’s status as both a national icon and reigning artistic powerhouse.

Along with the success of ’85% Proof’ Will embarked on a long-awaited ‘Love Revolution Tour’. His first nation-wide tour in four years saw him playing to 23 sold out dates across the UK and Ireland in October and November 2015.

International DJ, Judge Jules, is the first DJ to be confirmed to play a set in the Gaydio Dance Arena.

Winner of a huge list of awards, Jules has earned his place amongst the DJ aristocracy with such accolades as – Best DJ (Muzik Awards), No.1 DJ (Mixmag readers’ poll), Best International DJ (Dancestar Awards), and Best Radio DJ at the Smirnoff Dancestars and regular Top 10 positioning in Dj Mag’s Top 100 Dj’s poll, peaking at no. 3 in the world.

Jules has enjoyed a long and hugely influential radio heritage over two decades, with Kiss FM, then BBC Radio 1, and his internationally-syndicated Global Warm Up show, winning numerous awards and plaudits from music fans and fellow DJs along the way. The Global Warm Up is currently broadcast weekly on over 70 stations around the world, including Sirius XM across the United States and North America. Jules also presents a weekly music TV show which is broadcast throughout Europe on Clubland TV.

The Big Weekend is also set to see the return of Pride-favourite and singer/songwriter, Heather Peace and the popular ‘Heather Peace Presents’ Boutique Stage line-up in Sackville Gardens.

Last year’s ‘Heather Peace Presents’ saw performances from Miri, Jess Vincent and Joe Slater on the Saturday of The Big Weekend.

Manchester Pride Patron, Heather who has been acting for over 20 years, has starred in TV shows such as London’s Burning, Lip Service, Waterloo Road and Prey. She most recently appeared in the National Film Awards’ nominated Never Let Go.

In 2014 she released her biggest album to date The Thin Line, which entered the UK Independent Album Charts top ten. The lead single, ‘We Can Change’ was featured as the ‘Uncharted Territory’ artist of the week on BBC Radio 2.

Mark Fletcher, Chief Executive of Manchester Pride, said: “The Big Weekend 2015 was a great success and we’re preparing for the challenge of matching it this year. Our first announcement demonstrates our commitment to delivering a first class line up of entertainment for The Big Weekend in 2016 as we embark on our mission to celebrate, campaign and raise money for the LGBT communities of Greater Manchester.

“Will, Heather and Judge Jules are huge icons in their own right, and this first announcement is a nod to the diversity in musical tastes that we’re aiming to cater for at The Big Weekend 2016. There are more big announcements to come – each one providing even more reasons to buy your Pledge Band early this year.”

The Manchester Pride Festival is an award-winning four-day event celebrating LGBT life. The event takes place in August, with the Big Weekend running from Friday 26 – Monday 29 August and the Parade on Saturday 27 August.

The Big Weekend tickets are on sale from tomorrow, priced at £18 for weekend tickets. Day, family and children’s tickets will be released at a later date. Tickets are exchanged for Pledge Bands at the festival providing guests with access to the event, including the Main Arena, Sackville Gardens, the Gaydio Dance Arena and the Expo and help Manchester Pride raise essential funds for LGBT and HIV charities and organisations in Greater Manchester. For more information on The Big Weekend visit the new website at bigweekend.manchesterpride.com.

Manchester Pride asks the community to wear their bands with pride as they pledge to; help Manchester Pride create a safe, world class LGBT celebration, support Manchester Pride’s devotion to raising essential funds for LGBT and HIV organisations in the North West and support the organisation’s campaign for greater LGBT equality.

There’s more to The Manchester Pride Festival than the Big Weekend, with events taking place throughout the month of August. This year also sees the return of Superbia – a year-round calendar of events that showcases, supports and celebrates LGBT and relevant arts, comedy, debate, film, literature, music, sport, theatre, family and community led projects within Greater Manchester, with the aim to encourage engagement, wellbeing and culturally enhance our communities.

To find out more about the Manchester Pride you can follow the charity on Twitter @manchesterpride or visit the website at manchesterpride.com

Photo By neal whitehouse piper from UK (Will Young – Glastonbury 2008) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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