From musical performances to spoken word, belly dancing along with pow-wow dancing and story telling by syilx/Okanagan nation artists, the jam-packed 2nd Annual Pride Arts Festival this weekend has something for everyone.
The event, this Saturday Sept. 23 at Gyro Park, will kick off with opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. at the bandshell stage led by festival MCs Cain Critchlow and Humaira Hamid. A wealth of artists will perform at the event from familiar local names to Okanagan regional acts along with headliners from Vancouver.
The family friendly free event is open to all ages from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Following the opening ceremonies the first event of the day is the Pride March that begins at 11:30 a.m. at Gyro Park, following the beachside walkway along Osoyoos Lake towards the bridge before turning up onto Main Street to return back to Gyro Park.
Live entertainment begins immediately following the march’s conclusion at 11:50 a.m. beginning with two performances from local syilx/Okanagan artists; fancy dance pow-wow dancer Jade and the ever-entertaining storyteller Madeline Terbasket.
“It’s truly amazing to have such diversity in our lineup,” exclaims Wina Poliquin, festival committee member and President of Wide Arts National Association (WINA) which is the festival co-host along with the South Okanagan Similkameen Pride Society (SOS Pride).
“It aligns with our mission of creating an inclusive festival for our community. We are looking forward to sharing this splendid day with everyone,” Poliquin added.
The festival has attracted performers out of Vancouver, including Leo D.E Johson, aka Boy Leo who is a trans masc, non-binary, Black Scotian rock n’ roll artist; and headliner Forrest Mortifee, a genre-fluid, transgender recording artist. They will be performing back to back starting at 5:45 p.m.
“We are looking forward to celebrating diversity, art and Pride together in such a beautiful location overlooking Osoyoos Lake,” shared festival committee member Heather Adamson.
“This festival is a labour of love for our committee that we start planning a year in advance. We hope to see many people attend to take in the amazing line-up of entertainment and share in the joy of the day.”
Leading up to the evening’s headliner is a full day of packed entertainment from local artists throughout the Okanagan. Performances start at 12:30 p.m. with local Okanagan Falls singer/songwriter Robert Torbica followed by RISE Dance Academy from Oliver.
Aeroz, a spoken word and visual artist from Kelowna performs at 1:15 p.m., with local Oliver based singer/songwriter ‘Tell Me Again?’ taking the stage at 1:45 p.m.
World renowned aerialist performer Jenn Bruyer will be high in the sky at 2:15 p.m., followed by Osoyoos based youth singer/songwriters Kai Allen and Levi.
At 3 p.m. visual artist Tommy Green from Burnaby will showcase his talent before Penticton’s belly dance Keisha Dances takes the stage at 3:30 p.m.
Kelowna’s singer/songwriter Fight or Flea performs at 3:45 p.m., with Lady Dia and Trophy of Kelowna’s Kinfolk Nation entertaining the crowd at 4:30 p.m.
Osoyoos local singer/songwriter Kansas-lee will perform at 5:15 p.m. opening for the lead acts from Vancouver, soulful rock’n’roll artist Leo D. E Johnson at 5:45 p.m. and recording artist Forrest Mortifee closing out the festival starting from 6:30 p.m.
“We hope this carefully curated lineup will showcase the wholeness of Pride,” says Artist Coordinator, Keisha McLean. “Pride was formed by Black Trans Women, and we are excited to continue their legacies through this movement of resistance and love.”
Throughout the entire day, a vendors’ market at Gyro will be open with over 20 vendors showcasing their creations and organizations sharing information about their services.
Three food trucks will be on site all day - Twisted Chopsticks, Sharkuterie and I luv my BFF, along with the Gyro Park Cafe. Beer and wine will be served by Firehall Brewery and Stag’s Hollow Winery.