Decca Aitkenhead on Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras, Europe's biggest gay celebration, takes over Manchester's gay village this weekend for three days and nights of the finest camped- up carnival. Among the many eclectic entertainments lined up (this is, after all, an event whose own theme tune features a line-up ranging from Cindy Beale to Margarita Pracatan), are two nights offering something old and something new from the best of the city's gay clubbing tradition.

For some of the 80,000 "Fags, Fagettes and Friends" expected in town for the weekend, Flesh - the grand old dame of the scene - is hosting parties all weekend in the new venue of PragueFive. Traditionally held in the Hacienda, Flesh's new location at the heart of the village is a cavernous bar split into several levels looking out over the canal. The classic Flesh party runs from midnight on Saturday to 8am in the morning, with old favourite Tim Lennox as the resident DJ.

On Sunday night, Mardi Gras reaches its climax with the Freedom Gala, a hugely ambitious 12-hour extravaganza for more than 20,000 in the G- Mex centre. With five different dance arenas, funfair rides, a swimming pool, laser show, 50 stalls and mysterious "showbiz hosts", plus go-go dancers, drag queens, circus and trapeze artists and Rio-style flamenco dancers, the "biggest ever indoor gay celebration" leaves few, if any tastes, uncatered for.

DJs Tony de Vit and Malcom Duffy, from Trade in London, are joining Manchester's Paradise Factory DJs Dave Kendrick and Tasty Tim, with live acts from M People, Jocelyn Brown, The Beloved and many others. Clubbers arriving from London can travel up in the Discoloco, a specially chartered train complete with its own nightclub carriage, DJs, drag hostess and bar. Coaches with music and entertainment on board will be coming from all over the country.

Flesh: tickets pounds 8/pounds 7; call 0161-861 7270

Freedom Gala: tickets pounds 25 (pounds 5 going to North West Aids charities), call 0336-404959

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing