As Pride Month 2022 comes to its end, Chicago’s Grant Park is throwing one last hurrah with Pride in the Park. This year’s festival, scheduled June 25-26, features performances from Alesso, The Chainsmokers, recent Pollstar cover artist Moore Kismet, Alesso, Saucy Santana, Rebecca Black, Daya and more.
Founded in 2019, Chicago’s Pride in the Park celebrates Pride by bringing together the LGBTQ+ community, as well as allies. The event itself boasts drag kings, queens and LGBTQ+ vendors in addition to its musical lineup.
“It’s not just a dance party or celebration,” Chez Ordoñez, Pride in the Park’s head of community relations, tells Pollstar. “It’s really immersive because you’ll have everything from dancing to food vendors, to a kids’ section. And it’s a beautiful sauce of inclusivity, sugar and spice and everything nice.”
Pride in the Park aims to bring together the local community in Chicago for a two-day event that combines live music, good food, and Pride all together. Ordoñez emphasizes that a diverse lineup is important to the festival.
While the fest was forced to skip 2020 due to the pandemic, Pride in the Park returned for its second year in 2021, hosting 30,000 attendees.
“There were several reasons as to why we created the festival, but … it was driven more from the standpoint of a need in the queer community,” Dusty Carpenter, Pride in the Park’s lead organizer, says.
“Chicago has so many outstanding LGBTQ+ bars, restaurants, and well-known Pride celebrations … however, we consistently hear from so many people about the desire to experience an outdoor music festival with and for their community.”
Pride in the Park not only celebrates Pride, but honors the origins of protest found within the movement. Previous years of the festival have included voter registration booths onsite, and the festival’s organizers state that part of their reasoning for wanting a festival that includes dancing the night away is to keep true to the protest following the Stonewall riots.
“If there is one [goal], it would be bringing people together to feel seen, heard, and enjoy their pride and to live their truth,” Ordoñez says.
“It’s really to encompass the meaning of Pride. What we’re trying to do is create a safe space, so people are seen and heard. That’s what we keep saying, and really it’s just the truth. We look at all of these events as another great way to celebrate pride and for our allies to show us support if they’ve never been to a pride event before.”
Ordoñez added, “There’s so many things happening [throughout the country via proposed legislation] that are just anti-LGBTQ+ right now, and our mantra for the festival is love, music, and community. If we’re loving each other and through music, we can express ourselves and come together through uplifting our community.”
Pride in the Park was launched to create a safe space for all. During previous editions of the festival, performers invited local advocates to continue bringing together Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community.
“There is no shortage of great inclusive festivals – which many queer people travel to and love – but there are many in our community who just do not feel comfortable with that and want to celebrate their Pride locally,” Carpenter says.
“Pride in the Park was created to have top performers – queer and strong allies – celebrate Pride with us in [this] fantastic way.”