June 25th – 26th at Grant Park • PrideParkChi.com
Since 2019, thousands of people from around the world have come together for Chicago’s Pride in the Park music festival at Grant Park to celebrate love, music, and community. While Chicago has many outstanding LGBTQ+ bars, restaurants, and well-known Pride celebrations that include the Pride Parade, Pride Fest, Market Days, etc., many queer people also desire to experience an outdoor music festival with and for their community.
From the very beginning of the gay liberation movement that started in the 50s and 60s, to the uprising and refusal of continued persecution by the government and society, dancing as a form of protest has been at the crux of gay rights. Many are familiar with the events known as the Stonewall Riots. The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar in New York City where patrons were welcomed to dress in drag, connect with one another, and dance freely. However, Stonewall was frequently raided by the New York City Police Department, which was supported by the federal government’s fervent desire to restore “social order” and eliminate “homosexual perversion.” The feds even kept lists of known homosexuals, their friends, and their favorite establishments, and the US Post Office even tracked addresses where material pertaining to homosexuality was mailed.
Things began to change in the summer of 1969, when a brave and proud Black trans woman named Marsha P. Johnson sparked a series of protests against the ongoing harassment took place at the Stonewall Inn. Her actions compelled queer people at Stonewall and elsewhere to stand up and fight back. Today, the bravery of the Stonewall community is often cited as a turning point in queer activism.
For us—queer people—gay bars, parties, parades, and now outdoor music festivals such as Pride in the Park continue to be an essential refuge and component of queer culture. Today we dance, march, and fight for equality, equity, and inclusion while being mindful that our fight for liberation is ongoing.
A misconception about Pride is that it’s simply about people of the same sex loving each other. The truth is, Pride and queerness are inherently about questioning authority and finding a way to come together in a world that tells us who we’re supposed to be. Searching and finding out who we truly are is an awakening and liberating experience.
In that sense, Pride is a protest, and our dancing and froliciling in public view remain acts of defiance. Pride in the Park was launched to provide people a chance to dance freely with their partners, friends, and chosen family in a setting where they know they will always be accepted and safe. It provides Chicago’s queer community and allies with another great way to celebrate their truth while experiencing amazing musical and creative performances.
Pride in the Park is a true reflection of our community that gets better year after year, ensuring a diverse and equitable lineup that includes queer artists, Black, Brown, trans, allies, drag queens and kings, and more. The LGBTQ community loves that headliners New York electronic duo the Chainsmokers and Swedish DJ Alesso have added our Pride event to their tours. They will be joined by Rupaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 7 contestants Monet X Change; Priyanka; and Shea Couleeé, a renowned Chicago native. All three are former winners of the Dragrace franchise in different seasons, with Priyanka winning Canada’s version. In addition to these powerhouses, the bill includes gay rapper and rising sensation Saucy Santana, pop singer Rebecca Black, singer-songwriter Daya, electronic artists Joel Corry, Spencer Brown, Moore Kismet, Mz Worthy, J. Worra, GSP, and many more.
Chicago natives Avi Sic (who famously DJs for the Chicago Bulls) and rising house music star Janky will also perform, as well as local legends such as Mimi Marks, Khloe Coulee, Kenzie Coulee, Bambi Banks Coulee, Luc Ami, Travis Fiero, Alexandria Diamond, Dusty Bahls, Kenya Black Dupree, and Circuit Mom. It’s excellent at every turn.
LGBTQ+ people deserve the right to love, and we also reserve the right to have silly, queer, unadulterated fun. For the third year in a row, Pride in the Park is proudly making this happen as one of city’s many amazing gay celebrations. We’re a proud community working together towards an endgame of love, equality, equity, and justice.
We are here and queer. We dance for ourselves and our allies. We dance for a better tomorrow.
Join the love by going to PrideParkChi.com to get your tickets.
2021 Pride in the Park
This sponsored content is paid for by Dream Brite Productions.