Based out of Lawrence, KS, I Heart Local Music Magazine‘s mission is to celebrate the local scene, giving attention to a diverse range of artists. On June 8th, they will be hosting the second annual Pride for the Masses! The event is free and open to all ages.
Here’s what you need to know:
PRIDE FOR THE MASSES
4:00 p.m. – Pride Promenade (March down Mass St.)
6:00 p.m. – Event starts at the Granada
Hosted by: Ms. Amanda Love
Cuee backed by the jazz band Glass Bandit
Wick and the Tricks
Drag performances by artists including:
–Ms. Amanda Love
-Raven Jade Von’Du
Dance party with DJ Candy Kitty
Fally Afani (2019 Rocket Grant recipient) is the editor and founder of I Heart Local Music and answered some extra questions about the event:
Q: What acts are you most excited about this year? Are there any acts that are returning?
A: Honestly, both the musical acts on the lineup are pretty thrilling. Wick and the Tricks are a Kansas City glam rock band, but they have such a huge following in Lawrence. Their vocalist, Wick, has such a fiery personality and has been known to pull some pretty cheeky stunts onstage. Wick has an extensive theater and music background, so this comes as no surprise.
Cuee became one of Lawrence’s fastest-growing rappers with ease. The fact that we get to see them with a huge jazz band backing them up is pretty thrilling. Cuee is also bringing some guests onstage, including SHAH, a 19 year-old rapper who just released the party song of the summer, “Wanna Be.”
Q: This is your second year doing this event. What were the biggest lessons you learned the first go round and how are you bringing that into this year’s event?
A: I’ve learned that it’s not enough to just put on a concert, it’s got to be a variety show. So we pulled out all the stops, with more drag performances, and we hear a rumor that a fire breather is going to show up.
Q: Looking at the photos from last year, you can tell this is such a celebration, there’s so much joy coming from every person in the room. Can you describe the energy at the event?
A: Last year was the very first year for the event. There hasn’t been much in the way of PRIDE celebrations for a decade or so in Lawrence, so we thought we’d throw something for the queer musicians in the area (because we worked with so many of them regularly). I really didn’t expect the event to take off the way it did. People came out to watch the parade, they partied at the event. The entire night folks were just running around, having so much fun. Not a single frown in the house. It was a great jumping-off point for what I’m hoping will be more PRIDE events in Lawrence.
Q: I read in the coverage of last year’s event that it was attended by both families with kids and older folks. Can you talk about the ways that different ages of people participated?
A: It’s our policy to keep shows as accessible as possible, so make them free and all ages. We’re trying to bond a community, and events like these give the community an opportunity to bond and engage with the hard-working performers in the area. It’s a relationship that benefits both parties—performers get to have a larger-than-usual audience, and the community feels like somebody cares about them. They have a place to be free and unapologetically happy.
Q: The name of the event is “Pride for the Masses”, which feels opposed to corporately sponsored Pride events that happen in major cities. This event feels very much by queer people, for queer people. That’s so important in a corporate climate that sells queer culture back to queer people. Can you talk about the name of the event?
A: Our events throughout the rest of the year are normally titled “Music for the Masses,” because we believe in accessibility and making sure there are ZERO roadblocks between performers and audiences. That’s why we make them free, all ages, and at a decent hour. We try to make it so that nothing can stop you from seeing a local musician and all the magic they bring to the stage. So we kept that theme with PRIDE for the Masses. This is for EVERYONE, and it’s important to make sure that corporations don’t profit off of queer labor. So we try to make sure some of the laborers involved, from sound technicians to bartenders (basically, anyone making money off the event), are queer.
When I was growing up, I vowed to make sure that there was a safe space for queer people to exist with the freedoms that are allotted to everyone else. That involves labor and live events. PRIDE has grown out of political activism and hard work, and my role is to make sure there’s room for fun, a place where the community can feel free and experience happiness as much as they can. I’m a big believer in unapologetic happiness. Though our event focuses on queer musicians, I also want to make sure that everyone can let their guard down and freely celebrate who they are.
Check out the coverage from last year’s event and get ready for June 8th! Pride for the Masses 2019 is going to be an even bigger party!
Drea DiCarlo, May 2019