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Manchester Pride 2016 - our legal right to walk to business premises and homes


What happened? Here's what we live blogged during the weekend.


It's official: you have a legal right to reach premises (homes or businesses) during Manchester Pride. Without a wristband, accreditation or a resident and visitor pass.

On 22 April 2015, the Local Government Ombudsman ruled that Manchester City Council's wording of its Traffic Regulation Order for Manchester Pride 2014 was "unlawful." See the ruling here:


Let us know your experience of getting into the gay village without a wristband and being served. Our mail form can be found here. Or email us at: [email protected]


Tue 30 Aug 2016

08:20 Richard writes: "I got into the gay village Saturday, Sunday and Monday and wasn't stopped once at the gates. This was with a short sleeved Tshirt so quite evident I didn't have a band on. Various friends that I was walking through with suddenly realised what I'd been saying for years was true. They won't be buying tickets next year."

07:00 Helen tells us: "I had a wristband but hid it and walked in with my my fella and sister and brother in law who didn't after saying right of access. The bars didn't check but obviously couldn't get into events arena but didn't want to."

Mon 29 Aug 2016

10:20 Sarah says: "Myself and hubby walked in and out no problem and the guard made a sarcastic comment as I said 'no thankyou' ..he said 'Well you won't be allowed n the bars or venues.' I said 'won't I now' ..and I got in all of them !!!"

Sun 28 Aug 2016

22:50 This video on YouTube shows a successful walk in on Sunday at around 18:00.

21:15 Paul says: "They turned me away from Sackville Gardens even though I did have a wristband they said it had to be put on by the staff at the ticket office which is bollox as that's how they came through the post I never bought the ticket one of my m8s got me one because I refused to buy one and I had it in my camera bag because I didn't want to conform to Prides rules."

20:41 In a response to the video, Manchester City Council continues to claim that "staff are aware of access rights." So why do staff keep giving the wrong information at the gates and directing people to the ticket office?

17:00 turned away on Sunday

19:45 Video taken by G around 17:00 shows a small group of three -- a man with two women, very respectable looking -- being refused entry. He then walks over on camera, advises them of their legal right to enter. The video shows two woman police officers walk up behind and they tell the three yes they have the right to enter. They then asked G for his name and address which seems to have been nothing more than an attempt to intimidate him as there was no good reason to do that. Everyone has the right take photographs and film on a public street.

A stupid move on the part of the police as, with one very clear example of wrongdoing "in the can", they effectively shut down evidence gathering. That might have shown no further problems. However, as G captured it as soon as he arrived, it's reasonable to assume the guards were doing it routinely at that point.

17:00 turned away on Sunday

19:05 Christopher says: "C____ and I just got in at gate 8... No hassle at all and now in bar pop being served."

19:00 Em tells us: "You can't get in without wrist bands entered through different gates all weekend and all ask for wristbands and even if you do manage to get in some clubs are asking to see bands! Wouldn't come if you haven't got a band I've got. Weekend one."

17:51 R tells us that the ticket office "were told at 4.30 that afternoon [Saturday] to stop selling day pledge bands and only sell weekend bands I feel that's so wrong on there part." Asked how he knew, R said that his mate showed him the memo which they all got. Were you refused a day ticket and forced to pay much more? Get in touch and let us know.

17:00 G is on the scene now: "They r asking ppl to raise there hands at gate 1. Filmed them stopping a couple then they saw me filming and let them thru."

16:50 "I walked into arena yesterday," says Helen.

10:37 From Alice: "Me and a big group of friends all walked confidently through without wristbands yesterday, the security weren't even checking at the time. Later a couple of us went briefly out but were let back in when we said about right of access. We spent most of the evening in Via where no one was checking wristbands. All the pop up bars seemed to be serving people without wristbands too :) also nb you can watch the sackville garden stage by sitting on the wall outside and you can also hear/see the main stage if you stand outside (busy though!)."

09:41 From I by email: "I went to go in with my friends and they would not let us in with out bands I said the thing you said and they said this is a private event and turned us away at 9pm. I was only off work yesterday and then went to get a day band and they said sorry we only sell the full weekend one here £29.50 so had to pay that to get in and then as my friend was on crutches he was told by some bars he is not allowed in as he is a fire and health and safety risk to everyone so that ruined the whole night."

03:46 Medwyn says: "I passed through several gates today, and at all of them I was told that I needed a wristband. Some of the security staff told me to get a free walk-through wristband. However, I was not hindered when I replied 'no thanks'. Although no wristband whatsoever is needed, it seems that the security staff have been briefed to not reveal this but even to mislead people. I reported this to Verinica Wong of the Council's highway department as she was on duty in the Village checking that security staff were giving the right information. If you are told that you need a wtistband tell them that you don't and continue in your way. If you are denied access then phone Veronica Wong immediately, and she will assist. Her number is 07771607341. Btw, we are also not allowed into Sackville Gardens without a wristband.

01:05 Paul tells us: "Refused entry to Minshull St / Richmond St entrance. I said about the right of way. He said its a "back stage" entrance and I can get in but have to use another entrance. Went to Minshull/canal st entrance and walked straight in no checks despite 2 stewards and 2 police on it. Looks very busy. The bars are far too busy to ask for wristbands from what I've seen.

Sat 27 Aug 2016

23:45 Michelle writes: "Thanks for the advice about wristbands, I have avidly followed the posts for a few months, I got into the village with no trouble, donated in the buckets and had a bloody amazing day!"

23:30 Bev says: "Thanks for your advice :-) We went to the parade as always and then for the first time, we were able to get into the village without a wristband. We spent money at the stalls and we got food and we sang and danced and took billions of pics and we had a fabulous, very colourful day :-)"

23:30 Daniel reports: "My straight friends account of trying to access the village tonight: Security guard: have you got a wristband? My straight friend 'nope.' Won the battle, maybe not the war?" Daniel continues: "No issues with any bars at all. The security guard didn't even respond to him."

20:55 Marie writes: "Fantastic parade today and thought we'd try to do a walk through the village. The steward on the gate did try to tell us it would be better to have a wristband to avoid us being asked again but he did let us walk through."

18:30 Rachel Posts: "Letting them in now no gay lesbian etc people should be made to feel uneasy."

15:46 Jordan posts: "so far been to 4 gates no problems. Also have been served in 5 bars." Without buying a wristband...

10:50 JC posts: "Well guys well done you did it i did get in wihout showing my wrost ban last night and just walked up said by law i have tbe right of w.... And the guy just said go on in then i did however have a wrist ban but was hiding it."

04:15 more from P: "Just asked at gate 1 which areas you need a wristband for. He said the stage area the dance arena the expo Sackville gardens and the bars and clubs but we can't stop you going up this st without one. 2 stewards on gate 2. 1 on gate 1. Saw one patrolling the perimeter."

01:45 This report was sent to us by P: "Was stopped at the gate to the right of gate 1. Asked to see wristband. I said I said 'I don't have one - I thought I only needed one for the stage?' (Played dumb). He said 'you need one to access the event.' Said 'I'm not going to the event I'm going up the street.'

"Another one stepped in with 'security supervisor' on her back and said 'its ok let him through.'"

01:12 EC posts saying: "Just got in from canel street some bars in the village are wrist band only had to show ours to get entry! Wasn't closed off around 5 but later on barriers up and security on gates not sure if checking bands though."

00:45 The server stats show that our 2016 factsheet was downloaded 533 times in the first 14 hours: 18:00-08:00

Fri 26 Aug 2016

21:40 According to Matthew: "my friends and I got in not much of a problem, two of us got in g.a.y no problem, the rest weren't allowed because of no wristbands, while I sank a pint there they tried many other places, all said the same thing, no wristband no entry :/"

20:47 Gary walked in without a problem at gate no 1 on Sackville Street. At the other end at Thompsons Arms gate they didn't seem to be checking wristbands.

20:45 A YouTube video shows a wristband-less wander through the village at 20:45 this evening (Friday). This is what it's all been about.

20:12 Jordan reports that he got in with no trouble at the New Union entrance.

20:05 Gemma writes "Hi I am on canal street. Got in no problem. There is no security on the top gate at velvet. It is access for all. Security are actually letting non wrist band holders know where they can access. It's all good and non confrontational."

20:00 More from Paul at 8pm at Sackville Street/Whitworth Street entrance. He says "Still no checks at gate 1."

20:44 Friday at Sackville Street19:43 Paul Wheatley is at the scene. He says people are walking in unhindered and the gay village isn't closed down yet. Though bands are being checked into the car-park events area. Paul says: "I've seen 3 entrances now and 2 were totally unguarded and the other I just filmed - no checks."

19:20 Gemma says: "Hi I am on canal street. Got in no problem. There is no security on the top gate at velvet. It is access for all. :)"

17:53 JC says he failed to get in at 3 gates and also failed to be served in 2 bars [we're a little suspicious of this as later reports say the village isn't locked down except for the car-park event area. Later JC said he got in without - see above].

Our 2016 Factsheet is here to download as a pdf document:

And here it is as two images (handy for sharing on Facebook): page 1 | page 2

It's official: you have a legal right to walk to reach premises (homes or businesses) during Manchester Pride 2015. Without a wristband, accreditation or a resident and visitor pass. Providing those premises can't be reached by an alternative route.

On 22 April 2015, the Local Government Ombudsman ruled that Manchester City Council's wording of its Traffic Regulation Order for Manchester Pride 2014 was "unlawful." See the ruling here.

FACTS! Our 2022 factsheet is available to download. As a PDF here. Or as images (handy for sharing on Facebook & Twitter!): page 1 | page 2

There won't be a new factsheet for 2023. Older factsheets can be found on this page.

You can see our Live Blog pages from 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022.

Factsheet 2022/23

2022 factsheet Our 2022 Factsheet (PDF) about Manchester Pride is available (there won't be a new factsheet for 2023). Read about your right to access the Gay Village without buying a wristband, history & opinion .

Download the PDF version.

And here it is as two images (handy for sharing on social media): page 1 | page 2

Our factsheet from 2021 is still well-worth a look. It has four pages of facts, gossip and fun. Download it as a PDF here. See our factsheets page for other years.

Useful reading

The ruling by the Local Government Ombudsman in April 2015 (PDF). The Ombudsman decided that Manchester City Council had exceeded its powers by mentioning wristbands in a traffic order and that it was unlawful to restrict access to premises (businesses and homes).

Minutes of a meeting at Marketing Manchester in November 2002. These show that those present were told they couldn't charge people to enter public streets. However some of them went ahead and did so from 2003 onwards for a decade.

At the meeting were: Manchester City Council, GHT, the LGF (now known as the LGBT Foundation), Marketing Manchester, the organisers of Europride 2003. The advice seems to have come from the police. Yet the police apparently then turned a blind eye...

This document was unearthed at the Library Archives quite recently by a FactsMCR campaigner.

The media

Since the ruling by the Local Government Ombudsman in 2015 the media — both LGBT and mainstream — have stayed silent about the decade-long wristband fiddle and your rights. So some people continue to pay unnecessarily.

All your favourites know: GayStarNews, Pink News, Manchester Evening News, The Guardian, BBC and many more. In a letter to us, the BBC defended its journalist right not to report this. The same BBC that championed consumer rights at one time now prefers to cosy up to the civil-rights-infringing Manchester Pride, as a "sponsor" (the BBC says it doesn't give money).

These organisations don't need to lie. They simply ignore an issue completely. Or, they report some of the facts; perhaps popping in just one or two bits they don't like, to add a fake impression of balance. That's how they manipulate opinion in the direction they think it should go.

The veteran ITV reporter John Pilger says that "not reporting" is the most powerful form of censorship.

What else aren't they telling us?