Organizers assessing situation
By James Mills
Amid coronavirus concerns, LA Pride officials announced Thursday, March 12 that it was postponing the annual LGBT pride festival to a date still to be determined. The three-day event, traditionally held the second weekend in June, was scheduled for June 12-14 this year.
Officials with Christopher Street West (CSW), the nonprofit organization which puts on LA Pride, announced the postponement via Twitter on March 12. That announcement read, “Due to the concerns of COVID-19, CSW will postpone all events related to the 50th Anniversary of LA Pride that were scheduled for June 2020. Organizers are assessing the situation. More information to be provided around the postponement as details become available.”
CSW board chair Estevan Montemayor told The Pride LA that CSW must confer with West Hollywood city officials before determining new dates. The LA Pride festival happens each year in West Hollywood Park, while the pride parade travels down a 1.5 mile stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard, so the cooperation of West Hollywood is required before LA Pride can continue.
While many other groups are cancelling or rescheduling events scheduled for March or April due to the coronavirus, this is the first event scheduled for June, three months away, to be postponed.
The postponement announcement came within an hour of the City of West Hollywood officially announcing it was suspending all non-essential city meetings and city-sponsored events through June 30 “in an effort to safeguard public health and slow the rate of transmission of novel coronavirus,” according to a press release.
That suspension includes any event which receives city funding. In addition to providing the space in West Hollywood Park for the pride festival, the City of West Hollywood is also covering $3 million in security costs for this year’s LA Pride festivities.
2020 marks the 50th anniversary of LA Pride and CSW officials plan an elaborate festival which extends beyond the usual festival grounds of West Hollywood Park and the adjoining San Vicente Boulevard. Several beer gardens and a family area are planned in parking lots in the vicinity of the festival grounds. Additionally, a special “Pride on the Boulevard” section covering several blocks of Santa Monica Boulevard will feature food trucks, vendor booths and nonprofit agency booths.
The Pride on the Boulevard section, first tried in 2019 to great success, is free and open to all; no ticket needed. However, a ticket will still be needed to enter the festival grounds where the music stages will be located.
No word yet on how rescheduling LA Pride may affect plans for the expanded festival.
Approximately 250,000 people attended the 2019 LA Pride festivities according to a study commissioned by CSW. That study showed those attendees spent approximately $18.8 million in West Hollywood and another $10.5 million in the city of Los Angeles.
While LA Pride may have been postponed to a future date, Long Beach Pride is currently still scheduled to take place on the third weekend in May, as always. This year’s Long Beach Pride dates are May 15-17.