Chicago Pride Fest is a weekend of celebration and reflection

Thu. June 20, 2024 10:06 AM by Ross Forman

chicago pride fest, 2022

photo credit // steven koch

“I appreciate that we have the opportunity to remind everyone of the work still to be done,” says Pride Fest chairperson Mark Liberson

A star-studded lineup is set for the 23rd annual Chicago Pride Fest, a two-day street festival, June 22-23, the weekend before the Chicago Pride Parade (June 30).

Natasha Bedingfield is the headliner on Saturday, hitting the North Stage at 9:15 p.m.

Amber Riley is the headliner on Sunday.

The entertainment schedule for Chicago Pride Fest also includes Max Rae, Avi Sic, Sixteen Candles and the CircuitMOM Experience with DJ Alex Lo, among others.

Chicago Pride Fest is a celebration of LGBTQ+ life, culture and community in Chicago’s landmark LGBTQ+ Northalsted neighborhood. Pride Fest features live music on three stages, a Youth Pride Space for teens, best of Chicago drag performance, the Proud Pet Parade with prizes, dance exhibitions, Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, guest speakers and more than 150 food and merchandise vendors.

Admission is a $15 suggested donation, which helps pays performers and festival workers, and supports local non-profits & community programs such as the Chicago Pride Crosswalks: 14 rainbow-paved intersections installed in 2019 that make up the longest installation of its kind in the world.

“I’m extremely excited for Chicago Pride Fest; it’s a great opportunity to celebrate our community with music and entertainment, and for me it is an opportunity to re-energize by linking with friends, family and making new friends in our community,” said Mark Liberson, chairperson of Pride Fest, which he tagged as “one of my favorite events.”

“I love seeing our community and allies get together and celebrate all we have accomplished, and I appreciate that we have the opportunity to remind everyone of the work still to be done from the stages in between headliners with speakers from many of the major organizations serving our community.”

Liberson said he gets excited every Pride Month, celebrating 30 days with all members of the LGBTQ+ community. “Pride Month is a chance to reflect on what we have accomplished, as well as a time to think forward on what work still needs to be done to create a world that respects that Love is Love, and that all people deserve the right to be who they are, not who you want them to be,” he said.

Liberson tagged the annual Chicago Pride Parade as “one of the best parades in the city,” and added that he is “excited to see it march through our historic LGBTQ+ Northalsted community, one of oldest and few remaining LGBTQ+ business districts in the country.”

Liberson added: “While we have achieved a lot in terms of increasing rights and acceptance for members of the LGBTQ+ community, we are facing challenges as politicians return to demonizing us. We must push back against the growing hostility towards the transgender and non-binary community seen in the rollbacks of hard-fought progress being codified through policies pushed forward by conservatives in many states. More than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in 41 states, making it clear that we are in a battle to retain what we have accomplished for people to live their authentic truth, especially as hundreds of these bills specifically targeted transgender people. These legislative attacks have led to increased violence that threatens basic human rights, In the last year, violence claimed the lives of at least 25 transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S., with violence disproportionately affecting Black transgender women. These numbers are most likely underrepresented, as attacks against the LGBTQ+ community often go undocumented.

“Pride was a protest, and we must continue to protest and act to protect the rights of all members of the LGBTQ+ community as the battle is not over till everyone can live their authentic lives without risk of harm or discrimination.”

Organized by the Northalsted Business Alliance, Chicago Pride Fest runs Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on N. Halsted St. from Addison to Grace. A $15 suggested donation is recommended. Donations helps pay performers and festival workers, and supports local non-profits and community programs.

Downloadable Schedule and Map