Taste of Paradise: Iconic gay club night promises to ‘turn it up a notch’ for 21st birthday over Manchester Pride

Party people this Pride weekend are in for a treat as one of Manchester’s most iconic nights is back with a bang… and organisers claims they are ‘taking it up a notch’. 

Paradise factory is set to return over Pride Weekend on August 23 at the Albert Hall to celebrate 21 years since the club first opened. 

This extravaganza comes off the back of the huge level of success the Paradise Factory reunion had, which saw ravers take a trip down memory lane in the hallowed Princess Street location. 

Peter Dalton, who took over the Paradise Factory in 1993, told MM: “After I sold the club I always said that was it. It was done and dusted, but last year people reminded me it was 20 years on, which was kind of a milestone.

“I thought I’d give it a go and we smashed it and sold out with three hours so there definitely an appetite for it and it was amazing seeing old faces. 

“People started really nagging us to do one more and I thought I couldn’t top what we did last year. If we wanted to do something again it couldn’t be a reunion it would have to be a birthday and a celebration.”

He added: “We don’t want to just appeal to the old crowd but rather put it in a large dramatic setting like the Albert Hall and just take it up a notch.”

Vocal powerhouse Heather Small will be blasting out some of M People’s biggest hits during an incredible 30 minute show.

Heather will be joined on bill by the event alongside classic Paradise DJ’s such as Tim Lennox, Dave Kendrick, Dave Booth, Huey Garry, Dylan Jeffers and Mike Allan.

The night will be hosted by The Divine David and Sister Marta, and will be an official Manchester Pride fundraising event.

Peter said: “At the height of Paradise Factory and Manto we did a Party at the Gmex in 1996 and got 8,000 people there for.

“It was a charity event over the Pride weekend M People headlined it, so I thought it would be a great thing to revisit, and she was up for it from the start.”

Peter opened Manto Bar in 1990 alongside property developer Carol Ainscow when he was just 23.

Manto was one of the catalysts for Manchester’s now-established bar scene, proudly showcasing the creativity and vibrancy of the gay scene behind a glass front for the first time. 

It’s been a while since Paradise Factory closed its doors, and several years since Peter Dalton shut up shop and sold Manto in 2007, and he feels that the party scene has changed a lot since then.

“I don’t think Manchester is such of a party city as it used to be in all honesty,” he told MM.

“Rewind 10 to 15 years ago there would be four or five parties every night over Pride, even on the Monday, and I think that has tailed off over the years, which is a shame.

“Having the regular venues are great, but having the big one off parties in different locations is what I think made it so special. 

“It’s still a great city to go out in and people are doing a lot of amazing things, I may be getting a bit older to be honest.”

There will be a number of people this year who will have never been to the club before and people will be coming from all over the country who do not know anything about Paradise Factory. 

Peter said: “The first time I went into the Albert Hall I was blown away by it, it’s such an amazing space. I think it’s the perfect place for what we want to do, back in the day we used to take over other venues so it’s nice to keep up with tradition and do something really big.

“I think it’s great there will be new people there because they will be able to see what we we’re all about and the parties we used to put on. I’m really looking forward to having that cross over crowd.”

Peter is insistent that this will be the last we hear from the Paradise and that the celebration over the bank holiday weekend will be the last. 

“I’m definitely not doing it again. A 22nd birthday just sounds ridiculous so this will be the last time.”

That said, when pushed about a potential 25th birthday he said with a cautious but knowing laugh ‘that’s four years away yet’.

To buy tickets for Factory’s 21st Birthday, click here

Image courtesy of Peter Dalton, with thanks

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