New end-of-June Pride Festival promises to counter ‘corporate pride’ and ‘give people their Pride back’

Calling it a “local Pride Festival just for you,” organizers of the new SLC Pride announced their festival will be at The Gateway on the weekend of June 27–30.

The festival is largely being put together by former Utah Pride organizers.

Former Utah Pride Parade director Bonnie O’Brien is calling SLC Pride “a new, independent, Pride Festival focused on marginalized community, full accessibility physically and financially. Our goal is not to make money, our goal is to provide full access.”

O’Brien said this community needs a Pride Festival that is unique to Salt Lake City, free from big corporations at the forefront. She said the group’s goal is to “counter” the corporate nature of the Utah Pride Festival, and “to give people their Pride back.”

O’Brien, who ran the Utah Pride Parade for 13 years, is the festival director. Roberto Lopez, who was part of Utah Pride for 8 years and has loudly advocated for the QTBiPOC and queer communities and worked for or been on the boards of Project Rainbow, Utah Pride Center, Redrox Music Festival, and Unidxs SLC, is the development director. Kyle Schons is the volunteer director, Quinn Winter is the vendor director, Kat Kellermeyer and Sammee Jackman are the entertainment directors. Over two dozen other organizers are listed on their website at slc-pride.org.

O’Brien and Rusk were declared QSaltLake Magazine Person(s) of the Year in 2020, the first year a Pride Parade hadn’t happened in decades, for their work during the pandemic gathering and repairing bicycles for Rose Park area kids and adults. They also held a “mini Pride Parade” with a few friends and fellow organizers at the time the parade would have happened. In the rain.

The group announced their plans in November as the “Pride Festival our community has been asking for. Local artists, local entertainers, local vendors. Accessible and inclusive spaces for all, eco-friendly, zero waste, minimal carbon footprint, safety plan with limited badges, full financial transparency, and pay what you’re able admission fees.”

Other stated goals include being transparent about leadership and partnerships, focusing on local community artists, performers, organizations, activists, and politicians, and allowing all 18 and under to enter free.

Vendor booths will cost $150 for local artists, nonprofits, clubs, and organizations. Local businesses, politicians, and government entities will pay $250.

Those under 18 will be allowed in for free, and others will pay a $5 entrance.

Sponsorships start at $500 and go up to $20,000 for corporate sponsors. They have a goal of $100,000 in sponsorships to cover costs and will offer signage on “bridges, walls, stages, porta-potties, zones, areas, [and] a fountain.”

For those who wish to participate, applications are on their website for volunteers, sponsors, community collaborators, exhibitors, and youth volunteers. Entertainer applications closed March 17.

More information can be found at slc-pride.org If you would like to support the Salt Lake City Pride Festival and/or be part of this inaugural community-focused celebration, reach out to robertolopezpru21@gmail.com

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