Wanda Sykes, Natash Bedingfield, Indigo Girls Headline Milwaukee's Pride Lineup

Tue. June 3, 2008 12:00 AM

wanda sykes to perform at milwaukee's pride fest

Milwaukee, WI - PrideFest kicks off Milwaukee's lakefront festival season with the nation's biggest LGBT pride entertainment lineup. The festival celebrates its 21st anniversary June 6, 7 and 8 at Maier Festival Park (Summerfest Grounds).

PrideFest's mission is to celebrate the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) culture and community, and all members of the larger community are invited to join in that celebration. The festival features international entertainment, hundreds of food and merchandise vendors, and educational and advocacy activities.

"PrideFest is a celebration of the strength that diversity brings to our communities, and we want to share that celebration with everyone, whether they are gay, straight or anywhere in between," said PrideFest Communications Director Paul Williams.

Unlike any other gay pride event in the U.S., Milwaukee's PrideFest presents full-length concerts from popular performers who have strong gay audience appeal, but who have also achieved mainstream success. "Great music and performances are an incredible way to connect people, and ultimately PrideFest seeks to bring people together," Williams said.

PrideFest will feature comedian Wanda Sykes, pop superstar Natasha Bedingfield and LGBT cultural icons Indigo Girls. Other featured performers include Transgender comic Ian Harvie, Starbucks Hear Music label artist Hilary McRae, The L-Word Soundtrack star Kirsten Price, world-renowned DJ Tony Moran, underground music superstar Kevin Aviance, and more than 120 additional performers.

PrideFest will kick off this year's festival June 6t with an exclusive Midwest performance by one of the world's biggest comedians, Wanda Sykes. She has been called "one of the funniest stand up comics" by her peers, she ranks among Entertainment Weekly's 25 Funniest People in America, and she was featured in the April issue of Vanity Fair as one of the "Queens of Comedy."

It's hard to watch any form of media today and not run into Sykes and her sassy wit. She is currently featured in TV sitcoms, stand-up comedy specials and movies, and she has appeared as Jay Leno's favorite guestas well as the voice of Crank Yankers and Applebee's commercials.

Saturday, June 7, PrideFest welcomes Natasha Bedingfield, one of the biggest performers on today's music charts. Her sophomore album, "Pocketful of Sunshine," debuted in February on the American charts at #3, the highest-ever debut from a British female performer. Her current hits include "Pocketful of Sunshine," which recently blazed into the national Top Ten and onto MTV's TRL Top 10 countdown, and "Love Like This," a duet with reggae star Sean Kingston. With more than 6 million albums sold worldwide and the most played song on U.S. radio in 2006, Bedingfield has established herself as one of the biggest names in pop music. Anyone who listens to radio or TV knows her biggest hit, "Unwritten," which has become a major anthem for self-empowerment (and the soundtrack for a shampoo commercial!). Bedingfield has also scored big with the singles "These Words," "Single," and "The One That Got Away."

"We're thrilled to have a current Top 40 hit-maker like Natasha Bedingfield in our lineup," said PrideFest Entertainment Director David Charpentier. "She joins the ranks of legendary artists like Chaka Khan, En Vogue, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Kathy Griffin, and Berlin who have all headlined PrideFest."

For her part, Bedingfield is excited about her appearance, saying, "I can't wait to come and do my thing at PrideFest. I'm a big supporter of the gay community, so I'm honored to be headlining! It's going to be a great event!"

The festival will close out June 8 with a rousing performance by the Indigo Girls. As one of the most popular folk rock acts of the past two decades and icons of the LGBT rights movement, the Indigo Girls will bring a powerful close to PrideFest's celebration of LGBT culture and community.

With hits like "Closer To Fine," "Hammer and a Nail," "Galileo" and "Shame On You," the Indigo Girls are known for legendary live shows that inevitably turn into massive group sing-alongs. They also carry the respect of their peers in the music industry, having won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Recording and receiving a nomination for Best New Artist.

Premium reserved seating is available for the Natasha Bedingfield, Wanda Sykes and Indigo Girls shows at $75 per show, but a major draw for fans are the $13 Advance General Admission tickets and $35 Weekend Passes that include the headline performances. Single-day General Admission tickets at the gate will be $15.

"We are thrilled to offer the world's best entertainment for a price everyone can afford," Charpentier said.

For information on Milwaukee's Pride Fest, visit www.pridefest.com