Pride week is back in Nanaimo, and with it comes a busy schedule of performances.
From Thursday, June 7 to Saturday, June 9, local and visiting musicians, DJs and drag royalty will be performing at indoor and outdoor venues for youth, family and adult audiences.
“We want to make sure that for most of the events [the entertainment] is very family-friendly, it’s very fun, it’s very inclusive, that it’s going to get the crowd going, it’s going to get the crowd hyped, but that it also is supportive,” said Pride vice-president A.J. Macleod, who has been with the organization for three years.
“I think it’s important for us to make sure that our performers are allies or members of the community and they’re supporting what the festival really means.”
The entertainment gets underway on June 7 with the Born This Way: Youth Pride Dance at German Hall. The free event gives those below the age of majority the chance to party, featuring DJ Teresa Battle and drag queen Enya Dreams, who recently moved to Nanaimo from Toronto.
The following night is for the grown-ups, with the 19-plus pride dance at the Bowen Park activity centre. DJ Teresa Battle will back spinning tunes and headlining the evening is Victoria-based musician Angela Hehr and her band.
“They’re an incredible, poppy, dance-y cover band. They also they get the crowd a-going and they’re just an amazing party band, so we’re really stoked about them,” Macleod said.
Pride Week’s parade and festival happen on June 9. From 1 to 5 p.m., Maffeo Sutton Park’s main stage will host a lineup of musical and drag performers, headlined by Nanaimo’s Femme Fatales for the third straight year.
“It’s one of my favourite gigs of the year, it is, because it allows [people] to come out and be who they are without shame, without blame and it’s just loving who you are no matter what you are and we support that,” Femme Fatales lead singer and drummer Jona Kristinsson said, adding that she’s performed at Victoria Pride for years as well.
“It’s always definitely been one of the most colourful, vibrant, amazing community events.”
The other festival acts include musicians Myla Barber, Stephan Crucil and the Cold Cut Trio. Also appearing are drag queens Enya Dreams and Conni Smudge and drag king Adam Lamborghini.
Later that night is the Cirque du So-Gay Pride afterparty at Evolve Night Club. The event features Enya Dreams, drag king Owen, whom Macleod called a “pioneer” of Vancouver-area drag and music from DJ O Show and DJ Nova Jade.
“I think it’s just something that’s going to continue to grow and expand in the future,” Macleod said.
WHAT’S ON … Nanaimo Pride Week takes places from Tuesday, June 5 to Saturday, June 9. Youth pride dance at German Hall June 7 starting 7 p.m. 19-plus pride dance featuring Angela Hehr at Bowen activity centre June 8 starting 8 p.m., tickets $20 in advance, $30 at the door. Festival takes place at Maffeo Sutton Park June 9 from 1 to 5 p.m. Afterparty at Evolve Nightclub starting 10 p.m., tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door, $30 VIP. Tickets at www.nanaimopride.ca.