Concerts

LoHi Pride Music Fest Returns for Third Year With Three-Day Event

Revelers at a previous iteration of the LoHi Pride Music Fest.
Revelers at a previous iteration of the LoHi Pride Music Fest. John de Rochambeau
The LoHi Pride Music Fest, formerly known as the LoHi Pride Gala, will showcase a wide variety of artists performing over three days at the Monkey Barrel in Sunnyside. This is the third year of the festival, and it’s expanded from a small, one-day affair to a three-day event with space for as many as 500 people.

The growth led to the festival changing its name and bolstering its music lineup. “We are really excited that something originally probably 100 people went to is now a three-day music festival being independently created,” says organizer Sarah Christine, who is also performing on the fest’s closing-day lineup.

The LoHi Pride Music Fest runs from Thursday, June 16, to Saturday, June 18, at 4401 Tejon Street, and will include bands from Colorado, California, Tennessee and Minnesota.

“We look at everyone who comes and performs at our events as people who will become lifelong friends,” Christine says. “We look forward to building those relationships throughout the three days.”

This year’s event also supports Out Front magazine, which will release a collection of short stories at the fest. Organizer Stefani Walker, publisher of the online LoHi Lifestyle magazine, says that the past two festivals donated proceeds from a silent auction to One Colorado and The Center, both LGBTQ+-oriented organizations.

“This year we wanted to do something different,” Walker says. “Out Front has been around since 1976. It’s one of the longest-standing LGBTQ publications out there. … What they do for the community is amazing. They are continuously evolving.”

Christine notes the importance of throwing the festival the weekend before Denver PrideFest (June 25-26), because it’s focused on the LoHi area specifically and can serve as a lead-in to other events happening in Denver. “It’s just a really special event,” she says. “It kind of always has been the past few years. It just sets the tone for the week. A lot of us are really looking forward to participating in a lot of events coming that next week through Denver Pride.”

Walker says that prior to 2019, there wasn’t really a Pride event for the LoHi area, as most took place in downtown Denver.

“We are really excited we can bring this event to the Highlands,” she says. “Every year, we're getting more and more businesses involved in it as well. It was cool to separate ourselves from all the other Denver Pride events."

The first night, Thursday, June 16, will showcase singer-songwriter artists playing indoors at the Monkey Barrel from 4 to 10 p.m., including Brooke Delgado, Chandra DeSantis, Canyons Echo and Pedro Meyer. “We really wanted to highlight more of an indoor, open-patio showcase of artists who typically perform more on a solo basis,” Christine says. “On Thursday, the vibe is more singer-songwriter.”

On Friday, the festival will take a punk turn with California outfit NepCali and Denver pop-punk bands the Losers Club, hellocentral and Bury Mia from 4 to 8 p.m. “We are super stoked,” Christine says. “We wanted a diverse group of bands to pull in more diversity to Pride. It’s a high-energy, cool night. We think it can create a space for people who may have never joined a Pride event before to come out and see how amazing they are.”

On Saturday, the music runs from noon to 8 p.m. and includes sets from Jamison Murphy, Amy Martin, Britt Devens, Tyler Sjostrom, Lyons & Co., Taylor Tuke and Christine. Denver indie-rock band Elektric Animals will close out the night.

“That’s a really eclectic group,” Christine remarks.

Christine is an LGBTQ artist, and says that events like the LoHi Fest offer a safe place to just be yourself. Not all the bands on the bill have members who identify as LGBTQ+, and that’s the point, she explains: You don’t have to be gay or queer or trans to support people who are.

“We are in it together,” she continues. “It’s a safe and fun, high-energy space for a community that’s been suppressed for so long and is still being suppressed in many ways. I look forward to Pride every year, because it’s a cause for celebration of who we are.”

Not everyone understood the LGBTQ community in the conservative household in which Christine grew up, and she sees events such as the LoHi Pride Music Fest as a way to spread understanding.

Those in her upbringing "are so traditional, and they are very straight and very religious,” she says. “That’s all okay, but growing up in a super-conservative household knowing I was different...I really feel there are a bazillion people just like me who want to check this out.”

Walker says she is passionate about organizing the event because the LGBTQ+ community is one that still struggles to be accepted in a lot of places.

“There is a lot of false information out there,” Walker says. “My goal is to bring awareness to people who aren’t familiar with Pride and don’t understand what it’s about, and put it on their level [and show them], ‘This is what we are trying to do.’”

One-day, three-day and VIP tickets for the LoHi Pride Music Fest are available at eventbrite.com and lohilifestyle.com.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.