By Megan Wadding, August 2015 Issue.
San Diego will play host to a variety of events and festivities, as party of LGBT Pride weekend, July 17 to 19.
“The theme this year is ‘Liberty and Justice for All’,” said Stephen Whitburn, San Diego Pride executive director. “We [were] crossing our fingers for a Supreme Court ruling that gives marriage equality for all people. We … have a lot to celebrate.”
The Pride Festival, which ran alongside the Pride Parade as the weekend’s staple event for the past few decades, has morphed into what is now called the Pride Music Festival. This year marks the second annual event, which will take place in Balboa Park and will feature DJs, bands, comedians, dancers, vendors, art, cultural presentations, food and more.
Pride Music Festival
The Pride Music Festival, according to Whitburn, helps emphasize what is new, fresh and exciting in the world of entertainment within the realm of the LGBTQ community. It has already become the city’s biggest music festival since its inception last year, Whitburn added.
“We heard from people within our own community, and I think this is typical of Pride festivals around the country, that after a while it starts being the same thing every year, the same visitors and so forth” Whitburn explained. “But I think that sometimes people forget how fresh and new the entertainment can be. So we started referring to it as the Pride Music Festival … We want people to come for the entertainment and this is a way to emphasize that.”
The Pride Music Festival boasts five stages with more than 100 performers, over two days, in Balboa Park. Whitburn said he is excited about this year’s amazing line-up, which feature a diverse group of amazing talent.
“It’s going to be a big party,” he said., adding that attendees can expect dance, pop, hip-hop, Latin and other acts. “Carmen Electra will host the main stage on Saturday and Mary Lambert, a well-known lesbian singer, [will perform].”
Ruby Rose, an Australian DJ, actress and model, will be headlining on the first day of the festival. Rose, who debuted on season three of the Netflix original series, “Orange is the New Black,” will be DJing on the Stonewall Main Stage at 9 p.m. Saturday.
“We’re excited about Ruby Rose as one of our headliners this year,” Whitburn said. “Her popularity has just exploded over the past several weeks.”
Other performers include Taryn Manning, who also stars in “Orange is the New Black,” as well as San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, Coco Montrese, Emma Hewitt, Rich White Ladies and more.
Jana Goldberg, who was born and raised in Scottsdale, but has lived in San Diego for the past three years, said she attends Pride every year with her partner and is very excited for the music line-up this year.
“I definitely want to see Ruby Rose and Mary Lambert. My partner will probably want to see Taryn Manning,” Goldberg said, adding that she has friends driving over from Arizona and family coming from Los Angeles to attend the festivities.
Janet Blinder, who lives in Paradise Valley, said she flies to San Diego every year to attend San Diego Pride and has attended at least five so far.
“I take someone new each year. I like to introduce new people to this fun-filled, fabulous day,” said Blinder. “I don’t go for the performers. I go for the fun and to support equality for all.”
The Pride Parade, which will begin in San Diego’s unofficial “gayborhood” of Hillcrest, will run 1.1 miles around the city. Whitburn said they expect to have about 175 contingents in this year’s Pride Parade .
Instead of appointing a single Community Grand Marshal of the Pride Parade, this year the title will be shared among a group within the community. According to Whitburn, the honor will be bestowed upon the entire transgender community, who will then lead the parade.
“There is still a tremendous amount of prejudice for people who are transgender, even within the LGBTQ community, in some cases,” he said. “So, we are putting the transgender community at the front of this year’s parade to increase visibility and to make a statement about hope important it is to reduce prejudice.”
According to Whitburn, the parade draws more than 100,000 spectators, and about 40,000 attend the Pride Music Festival afterward. Whitburn added that around 2,000 of those people come from Arizona.
“We really appreciate our friends in Phoenix and elsewhere in Arizona,” Whitburn said. “We have people head over there for Phoenix Pride and now it’s our turn to invite everyone to come and cool off in San Diego’s ocean breezes and enjoy a fun pride weekend here.”
For more information on San Diego LGBT Pride festivities, including the Spirit of Stonewall Rally and The Pride of Hillcrest Block Party, visit sdpride.org.
San Diego LGBT Pride
July 17-19, 2015
Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego
Pride Music Festival
11 a.m.-10 p.m. July 18; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. July 19
Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado, San Diego
11 a.m. July 18
The parade begins at the Hillcrest Pride Flag (University Avenue and Normal Street) and will proceed west on University Avenue, turn south on Sixth Avenue, turn left onto Balboa Drive and end at Laurel Street.