L.A. Pride Replacing Parade With a Protest March

 

Instead of an annual parade, this year's L.A. Pride will feature a protest march through Los Angeles and West Hollywood. The organizers of the annual event are teaming up with the LGBT Resist March, which is happening nationally June 11. Construction at West Hollywood Park has reduced the space available to the related festival, resulting in a smaller festival as well as the parade's cancellation, reports WeHoVille.

Christopher Street West, which organizes L.A. Pride every year, made the announcement during a meeting Wednesday night. Christopher Street West board president Chris Classen said the group was losing around 70 percent of the space it used in the 2016 festival because of a three-year construction project in West Hollywood Park. Last year the festival featured three music/performance stages, but this year the group was told there may only be space for one stage.

Organizers are expecting a quarter-million to a half-million participants for the protest march, hoping to follow the success of the Women's March, which drew 750,000 people in Los Angeles the day after President Trump's inauguration and millions more in other cities around the world. The L.A. protest march route will be three miles long, starting at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue in Los Angeles proper, then going down La Brea Avenue to Santa Monica Boulevard and stopping at San Vicente Boulevard in West Hollywood, which is where the entrance to the festival will be.

Classen expressed concern about the smaller festival space, which may not be able to accommodate all the march participants. “Security insurance costs the same [whatever the attendance], but I can’t pay for that if I don’t have the footprint to let enough people in to buy tickets and food and beverages. Sixty percent of our income comes from people coming to this festival,” he said, according to WeHoVille. “Add on to that the fact that we may have half a million people who come on the march. If I only have room for 5,000 people on San Vicente, where do they go?”

A resident at the meeting suggested moving the festival to a different space, across the city line in Los Angeles, but Classen said the event is important to West Hollywood businesses catering to LGBT customers. The pride events produce around $9 million in revenue for these businesses, according to a report.  

Given the logistical uncertainties, Christopher Street West has yet to book any performers for the festival, which takes place June 9-11. Last year the festival featured Carly Rae Jepsen, Charli XCX, Krewella, Faith Evans, Da Brat, and Shamir, among others. This year there will be fewer performers and instead more DJs, WeHoVille reports. Tickets for this year's festival will be available for $20.

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