It seems that no one has ever thought about that figure. If you look at the facts, a crowd of that size is a physical impossibility on such a short route and on such relatively narrow city streets.
On 28th August 2005, in the article ‘Thousands flock to Gay Pride Parade’, the Manchester Evening News reported that ‘more than 200,000 people’ had watched the Manchester Pride parade on the previous day.
However, five days later, on 2 September 2005 and in the article ‘Fantastic gay pride festival sets record’, the Evening News had reduced the attendance figure to one quarter: ‘one of the highlights of the 10-day event was the Key 103 Pride Parade through the streets of Manchester, watched by an estimated 50,000 people’.
The BBC News website reported that 'tens of thousands' lined the streets in 2005.
Nearly a year later, on 25 August 2006, in the article ‘We’ll attract record crowds predict Pride festival chiefs,’ The Manchester Evening wrote that ‘about 250,000 people’ had gathered in the city centre to watch the Saturday parade in 2005 and it said that this was a figure that the police had estimated.
On 19 July 2006, in ‘Rumours Dog Manchester Pride’, the gay.com website said that the Parade ‘promises to be the biggest ever’ and was ‘expected to be viewed by up to 250,000 people’.
In 2005 the route of the Parade was from the junction of Miller Street and Corporation Street, along Cross Street, Princess Street, turning into Whitworth Street and finishing at Piccadilly Station.
If you measure the 2005 route on a map (and it has always been a similar distance) it is about 2500 yards in total.
If you could squeeze two people into each yard of kerb (it would be impossibly crushed), that would give you a total of 10000 people standing along the entire route on both sides of the road.
A crowd five people deep on both sides of the road would be 50,000 people.
To get a figure of 250,000 people, the crowd would have to be 25 people deep on each side of the road along the entire route.
If you know Manchester, visualise 50 people standing across the width of Cross Street, Princess Street or Whitworth Street, with two lines of people to each yard. The streets would be completely blocked.
Needless to say, anyone who has been at Manchester Pride in the last few years knows that the crowds have been nothing like this.
In fact, in recent years, security people and barriers have been used to keep the crowd almost entirely on the pavement, which I estimate is only about 8ft wide along most of the route and there are tall buildings behind the pavement most of the way.
These distorted figures are one the ways that the organisers keep this event afloat and reduce any discussion about alternatives. Very little real information about ticket sales or gross income is made public.
Manchester Pride is part of Marketing Manchester -- the tourist board. Pride makes more than £20m for businesses in the city each year. The City Council and the businesses don't want a smaller, less commercial and more community-based event. And they want the gay community to fund the costs of a large event.
The taxman has decided that Pride 2004, 2005 and 2006 did not qualify as charity events and has asked for VAT to be paid on those three years. That money is being taken out of what was left after 50% of income was handed over to Manchester Pride to cover running costs of the event and Operation Fundraiser took off its own costs.
In 2003 Operation Fundraiser's costs were £59,520. In 2004 its costs were £79,982). A 33% increase.
The £70,000 left for good causes in 2006 is one of the lowest amounts ever raised.