It's been almost a year since Big Freedia shut down Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE, and now the New Orleans Bounce icon is set to head back to Toronto to perform at this year's Pride festivities. She will be headlining June 23's Blockorama party which will be held at the Bud Light Wellesley Stage, and will be joined by none other than Grammy Award-winner Mýa. R&B singer Tweet will also join in on the Pride fun, and will play the main stage alongside an as-yet-unannounced headliner.
After a bit of tumultuous year (which included budget issues, an ongoing beef with Toronto Police and rumors that executive director Olivia Nuamah would resign) the annual LGBTQ+ festival has pivoted and is prioritizing local acts, has scaled down the weekend's festivities from 14 stages to eight, and is placing less emphasis on alcohol sales and more on sobriety and accessibility.
Some notable parties to check out on opening night (June 21) include the mainstage hosted by Montreal's Moonshine, DJ Blackcat's Go Hard party, Yes Yes Y'All's Pride Block Party featuring DJ Venus X on the Wellesley stage, DJs Vanessa and Pam's 90s-themed Electric Circus and the Black Eagle's monthly Dance Floor Makeout. Phew. Save some energy for June 22 when Bambii's Jerk party will headline Tun Up, a stage that highlights parties thrown by queer people of colour. Tun Up will also welcome RUDE Collective, ballroom party Ovah and Brooklyn's Papi Juice.
Another new addition this year is a DJ Station at the corner of Church and Wood featuring even more local favourites including Raven's Vision, Balls Deep Disco, Josh Karmin and Boy Pussy. Chippy Nonstop, Babygirl and Karim Oleh Ash of DJ workshop collective Intersessions will also be on site.
For the full list of this year's Pride Month and Pride Weekend events, visit pridetoronto.com.