Chicago Pride Fest returns Sunday with Mya, Alex Newell and Chicago's Carlito Olivero

Sun. June 22, 2014 10:41 AM by News Staff

jennifer hudson performs chicago pride fest

photo credit // anthony meade

Jennifer Hudson gives explosive performance on first day of Chicago Pride Fest

Chicago, IL - After what appears to be record breaking attendance on Saturday, the 12th annual Chicago Pride Fest returns Sunday, June 22, with some heavy hitters. Among the acts appearing today are Mya, Glee's Alex Newell and Chicago native Carlito Olivero from X-Factor.

"Jennifer Hudson's performance brought Pride Fest entertainment to a new level and her energy was equally matched by the crowd's enthusiasm," Northalsted Business Alliance President Ramesh Ariyanayakam told "It was absolutely a seminal moment in the festival's history."

The Chicago native, Oscar-winning actress and Grammy-winning musician gave an explosive performance, which was delayed by nearly an hour after Hudson's entourage became stuck in traffic.

After the set, Northalsted Business Alliance Vice President Sean Kotwa presented Hudson with a check for her Julian D. King Foundation. Hudson graciously accepted the $3,200 donation, which was a collaborative effort between Steamworks, Progress Bar, Hydrate Nightclub and Halsted Bar & Grill.

Then shortly after 5:30 p.m., a thunderstorm deluged the area with rain, clearing much of the crowd. Organizers have yet to receive a final attendance number for Saturday. 

"It certainly looks like we are talking about record breaking numbers," said Jen Gordon, a spokesperson for the Northalsted Business Alliance.

"The crowd was a testament to Pride Fest's motto that bigger is better," added Kotwa. "And this year is special as it's a celebration of our achievements for equal rights."

The two-day street fest features 2 entertainment stages, plus a dance music stage with some of Chicago's favorite DJs. Among the other acts appearing are Amber, Kathy Sledge and Chicago favorite Sixteen Candles.

"We truly hope that people realize the value in the entertainment line-up and the time, effort and money that it takes to pull off a festival of this magnitude," said Ariyanayakam.

In addition to the non-stop entertainment, the festival will included 60 vendors offering arts, crafts and unique merchandise tailored to the gay community. Plus Miss Foozie will host the popular Pet Pride Parade, sponsored by PetSmart, on Sun. June 22 at 12:30 p.m.

Chicago Pride Fest opens at 11 a.m. on Halsted Street between Addison and Grace. A $10 donation is recommended. The Chicago Pride Parade is the following Sunday, June 29 at noon.

Chicago Pride Fest Schedules: Saturday, June 21 | Sunday, June 22

Chicago Pride Fest Interviews: Alex Newell | Carlito Olivero | Jennifer Hudson  

Headliners: Alex Newell | Amber | Betty Who | Carlito Olivero | Catfight | Crush on the Radio | Girlband | Jennifer Hudson | Kaci Battaglia | Mya | Thelma Houston Pride Guide