Words and photos by Curtis Vadnais
Christopher Street West hosted their 46th annual LA Pride Musical Festival & Parade this year. The festival took place over three consecutive days from June 10th through June 12th, 2016. In previous years, it was held on the grounds of West Hollywood Park with a plethora of live music, incredible artwork, and a float-filled parade on Sunday morning.
The music lineup was what really kicked off the festival, with Krewella headlining on Friday night, Charli XCX on Saturday night, and Carly Rae Jepsen closing out the festival on Sunday night. While the headliners certainly brought the majority of the crowd, they weren’t the only ones who stole the spotlight. Breakout acts such as Bebe Rexha, who has been featured on Billboard charts with artists like Nicki Minaj, Cash Cash, and G-Eazy, also took to the Main Stage over the weekend. Pop sensation Hailee Steinfield, R&B artist Gallant, dance-pop artist Daya, and electronic singer/songwriter Shamir also brought their energy to the festival.
Several artists took the time to honor the victims of the tragic shooting in Orlando on Sunday, June 12th, 2016, with moments of silence just before their sets and often times revisiting those moments between their sets when dedicating some of their hits. Shamir also took a moment on Saturday night to dedicate one of his songs to the late The Voice contestant Christina Grimmie, who passed away the night prior.
Charli XCX brought out a few special guests for her set on Saturday including music sensation Rita Ora and Pop artist JoJo. Her set was filled with fan-favorites, an abundance of pink lighting, and plenty of crowd interaction. Bringing her spunk with hits like “I Love It,” “Fancy,” and closing with “Boom Clap,” made for a perfect ending to the second night of the festival.
Carly Rae Jepsen’s set was nothing short of spectacular. She opened her set with her contagiously catchy hit off Emotion, “Run Away With Me,” followed by performances of songs off both This Kiss and Emotion, including “Boy Problems,” “Good Time,” “Your Type,” “I Really Like You,” and of course, the hit that launched her career, “Call Me Maybe.” She took several moments to interact with the crowd throughout her set, stepping off the stage and onto the speaker system for a personal VIP experience. A special shoutout to the lighting designer who truly showcased the artist that Carly is, as she owned the spotlight that was shone on her throughout her entire set.
Despite the tragedy and fear that struck some of the attendees on Sunday, the festival went on as scheduled, thrived significantly and showed just how strong the LGBT community and foundation is. Every year the organizers of LA Pride outdo themselves and this year was no exception. The staff and crew truly are passionate about putting on an event where everyone can enjoy themselves without any cares or judgments. One thing is clear, and that is that this community is about spreading love and acceptance, and LA Pride will continue to spread that mission for years to come.