May, 2014 / Author:

Forks Festival GroundsPride Winnipeg goers can look forward to a longer and less crowded festival this year. The organization is making changes to help alleviate overcrowding and long lineups. “The festival at this point is packed — it’s to the brim,” said Pride Winnipeg president Jonathan Niemczak. The festival at the Forks will now be May 31 and June 1 instead of just the Sunday. “We don’t expect as high of a number of folks coming out to the Saturday festival, so that will allow people who maybe don’t enjoy crowds to still enjoy the festival in a less-crowded atmosphere.”

210-may_june-12c-breaking-borders-with-winnipeg-pride-2014Because the festival was extended, there will be more headliners, including The Voice’s Beverly McClellan and hip- pop-dance-rock trio PRTY H3RO on May 31. On June 1, the performers include Eurodance diva Thea Austin and U.K. electro-dance princess Luciana.
Those hoping to listen to the tunes from the drink tent can expect to do so faster. Pride Winnipeg is bringing in a bigger beer tent and more efficient process so people over 18 can get wristbands and buy drink tickets quicker. Organizers are planning to have volunteers check your I.D., apply wristbands and sell drink tickets to those in line to help speed up the process. Also, all drinks will be the same price and use the same ticket — a big change from last year, when different drinks had different prices. “All of that kind of created some logistic nightmares and so this year we’re going to a flat price so probably about $5 for the drinks,” said Niemczak.

210-may_june-12b-breaking-borders-with-winnipeg-pride-2014But the festival isn’t only a celebration. The festival’s theme, “Without Borders,” is a reminder that it’s also a chance to bring to light the issues that continue to affect the GLBT* community. When the organizers were brainstorming themes, they thought about international issues such as hosting the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, under the power of anti-gay president Vladimir Putin and Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill.
Organizers also came up with the theme “Without Borders” partly because of a new program that Pride Winnipeg plans on doing every year. “With the extra revenue produced by the two-day festival, we are looking at sponsoring an LGBTTQ* refugee,” said Niemczak. “That’s going beyond our borders and assisting in the international community.” With the help of Reaching Out Winnipeg, a GLBT* refugee organization, this $5,000 program will help bring GLBT* refugees to Winnipeg from hostile and homophobic countries. “Those type of programs is ultimately what led us to ‘Without Borders’.”

210-may_june-12a-breaking-borders-with-winnipeg-pride-2014All of these changes are part of a three-year program redevelopment strategy. Last year the organizers redeveloped the dance party. This year it’s the festival at The Forks, and next year the organizers are looking at redoing the parade and rally. Check Pride Winnipeg’s website at for more information about Pride week events.

– Danelle Cloutier is OutWords’ music editor.

– All photos by Cynthia Bettencourt Photography 


Pride’s staple events June 1

11:00 am
Rally at the Legislature Come loud and proud to the rally at the Manitoba Legislature at 11:00 a.m. for music. At 11:20, special guests will talk about GLBTQ* issues.

12:00 pm
Pride parade March through downtown Winnipeg starting at 12 p.m. on June 1 at the Manitoba Legislature. You can expect lots of music, rainbow colours and an array of floats.

12:00 pm
Festival at the Forks Show off your pride at the two-day Pride Winnipeg Forks Festival on May 31 and June 1 from 12 to 6 p.m. There will be live entertainment, GLBTQ*- friendly businesses and lots of love from the community!

7:00 pm
Pride’s official dance party Dance the rest of the night away on June 1 at Pride’s dance party for $30. Go for drinks at The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre beforehand and the party for $60.

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