Christopher Street West, the non-profit that stages the annual LA Pride Festival and Parade each June, was criticized last year for high ticket costs, for turning ticket buyers away from an overcrowded festival space and for not accommodating enough non-profit organizations.
This year CSW, under the new leadership of Executive Director Madonna Cacciatore and Chair Estevan Montemayor, is proposing a major modification to the footprint of the annual LA Pride Festival to create “Pride on the Blvd” a weekend-long free festival on Santa Monica Boulevard from La Cienega Boulevard to Doheny Drive.
A memo from the city’s Economic Development Department recommends that that section of Santa Monica Boulevard be closed from 10 a.m. on Friday, June 7, to 7 a.m. on Monday, June 10. Stretches of the boulevard would remain accessible to local traffic, allowing access for residents and many local businesses. The memo also recommends closing Robertson Boulevard from Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue from 8 p.m. on Friday, June 7, through midnight on Monday, June 10. As in years past, San Vicente Boulevard would be closed from Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue from 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, to 7 a.m. on Monday, June 10.
The Pride Festival traditionally has been held in West Hollywood Park, and in recent years has included the plaza on the San Vicente side of the Pacific Design Center. However, construction related to the redevelopment of West Hollywood Park has reduced the land available for the festival in the past two years. By closing and including a stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard, the festival area will be increased.
The “Pride on the Blvd” festival “will feature a combination of exhibitors, non-profit organizations, a local artists showcase and an art installation commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots,” says the city memo. The Pride Parade would take place on Santa Monica Boulevard from Crescent Heights to Robertson Boulevard on Sunday, June 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Saturday, the AIDS LifeCycle riders would ride through the fire lane adjacent to Pride on the Blvd.
The West Hollywood City Council on Monday will be asked to approve the modification to the Pride festival footprint. The closure will cost the city $418,000 to pay for Sheriff’s deputies
Other changes proposed by CSW and endorsed by the city’s Economic Development Department include:
— Relocating the Pride ticketing area to trailers on Santa Monica Boulevard between Palm and Hancock avenues. That would relieve congestion from the main gates to the festival.
— Staging a free Friday night event in West Hollywood Park to kick off the Pride weekend.
— Producing a live televised broadcast of the Pride Parade, which includes a number of floats sponsored by major companies and marchers representing LGBT groups and organizations.
The broadcast would take place in Sal Guariello Memorial Park and be televised on a local network.
— Placing grandstands for seating along the parade route between Kings Road and Alfred Street.
— Hosting an invitation-only Sunday brunch to celebrate the transgender community.
Local drivers would have limited access to Santa Monica Boulevard between Doheny Drive and Robertson Boulevard and between Hancock Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard.
The City Council will consider the CSW proposal at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. Parking is free in the five-story structure behind the Chambers with a ticket validated in the lobby.