With fairy wings, rainbow swimsuits, hip-hop funk, blues, and rock and roll, the Volunteer Park Pride Festival brought Seattle’s celebration of LGBTQ+ to Capitol Hill Saturday as part of a busy month of events in the neighborhood culminating with a weekend of parties around Pike/Pine and Broadway before the city’s annual parade on June 30th.
“The event being in the backyard of where I grew up is such a huge thing for me. I’m so proud to be on stage singing my heart out for the Seattle queer community,” J GRGRY, one of the musical artists who performed at Saturday’s festival told CHS.
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Like J GRGRY, many of the artists and performers from this year’s festival have Seattle connections and queer roots. J was happy to return to Capitol Hill as a performer in the Volunteer Park Pride Festival after recently relocating to Los Angeles. He said he hoped his performance contributed to manifesting the queer acceptance and love the event is emblematic of.
Started in 2010 as a family picnic day at the site of the city’s original Pride gathering space, the Volunteer Park Pride Festival has grown into one of Seattle’s biggest and best free days of music, still all-ages, but now with a beer garden, live music, food trucks, a craft fair, and plenty of informational booths. Marco Collins, a longtime Seattle DJ credited for helping fuel the city’s grunge explosion on the national music scene and now part of the lineup of voices at the city’s nonprofit music giant KEXP, brought together the 2019 lineup including Whitney Mongé, Left at London, SassyBlack, and headliner Thunderpussy. Drag queen Betty Wetter helped host the daylong event.
Saturday’s festival came amid a busy schedule of Pride events on Capitol Hill before the big day downtown. Next up is Thursday’s annual Capitol Hill Queer Art Walk. Volunteer Park will also host a new Pride event this year as Hugo House and Western Bridge team up for a Ginsberg poetry festival and art installation. There is also special Pride artwork up on the Capitol Hill Station development construction wall in preview of the coming AIDS Memorial Pathway at the site. You can check out the CHS Capitol Hill Pride Calendar for more.
CHS summer intern Emily Piette contributed to this report.