Stonewall Riot commemoration events have evolved in San Diego since they began in 1970. In 1975, the first permitted Pride march started downtown and ended with a rally in Balboa Park. As the march and rally grew, our community utilized that opportunity to organize, provide information and resources, and eventually add music, entertainment, food, and beverages. Each of these steps brought us closer to the Pride Parade and Festival we know today. We all continue to build on those brave beginnings, as the Pride Festival now boasts over 50 LGBTQ-serving organizations providing care, over 100 artists across 7 entertainment zones, and over 50,000 attendees.
While we have some incredibly talented headliners Saturday and Sunday, our goal at this year’s Pride Festival is to predominantly feature our fiercely talented local LGBTQ community who have struggled to make ends meet throughout the COVID-19 shutdowns. We are thrilled to come together again for our first in-person Pride Festival in three years, where our artists and entertainers help us be seen, be heard, find family, raise funds, build capacity, and carve out the space for us all to be unapologetically our true, authentic selves.
I hope seeing these LGBTQ performing artists at Pride inspires you to find ways to engage with, book, and support them all year round. Please take the time to listen to and learn more about our LGBTQ artists and come to enjoy their music at Pride. For many of us, Pride is the one time a year we have to love and dance in the daylight, and I am so proud of our team for working diligently to ensure the diversity on our stages reflects back to us all the diversity in our community. The funds we raise at our annual Pride Festival help us grant money back to our community and support our year-round education and advocacy work. This is how we pursue Justice with Joy!
P.S. If you haven’t heard, there will be no beverage garden fences at Pride this year similar to attending a sporting event or concert. You will be free to enjoy the festival with your food and beverage in hand.
Fernando Lopez is the Executive Director of San Diego Pride. Lopez’s years of LGBT advocacy, nonprofit management, public education, diversity consulting, media relations, guest lectures, and organizing have made them a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.