PrideFest, scheduled for early June, will be postponed

First festival at Henry Maier Festival Park to be postponed

PrideFest organizers announced Wednesday that the festival, scheduled for June 4-7 at the Summerfest grounds, will be postponed.

The decision follows a wave of event cancelations and postponements due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. It’s the first summer festival held at Henry W. Maier Festival Park to announce it will be postponed.

In 2019, the four-day festival brought 45,787 people to Milwaukee’s lakefront.

“Pridefest is, and has been a safe space for people to celebrate community and the Pride movement since 1987. Due to the current status of COVID-19, the health, safety and protection of our festival patrons is our first priority,” said Wes Shaver, president of PrideFest organizer Milwaukee Pride, Inc. “We certainly don’t want to cancel, absolutely not. But, moving forward as planned brings too many risks to the forefront; for our attendees and for our organization.”

The festival’s board is working with Summerfest on possible alternate dates, and is also exploring “different formats and locations,” Milwaukee Pride, Inc. said.

“We don’t want people to think there will be no PRIDE this year,” Shaver said. “We simply want to ensure we’re taking the right steps forward. We hope people trust that our intentions are for the safety of the community, and for our ability to ensure the sustained future success of PrideFest Milwaukee.”

The organization said LGBTQ people are at a greater risk from the pandemic due to health disparities and barriers to health care access.

“It’s unfortunate that we need to hit the pause button, considering the significant work our team has already put forth – as well as the incredible and diverse lineup we had planned for our stages,” said Luke Olson, PrideFest producer. “I’m confident that once we have a new plan for this year’s festival we’ll be able to pick things up where we left off. We still hope to bring Milwaukee a world class event like it’s used to.”

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.

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