LA Pride Says It Is Leaving West Hollywood

LA Pride in West Hollywood (City of West Hollywood photo by Jon Viscott)

Christopher Street West, producer of the annual LA Pride parade and festival, is moving the event out of West Hollywood, which has been home to the Pride celebration since 1979.

In a letter today to members of the West Hollywood City Council, CSW’s board of directors said it decided to move the June 2021 event for several reasons.

“These include construction in West Hollywood Park, the changing demographics of Greater Los Angeles, our commitment to being responsive to the LGBTQIA+ community’s needs, and our allyship and collaboration with other movements for social change,” the letter states.

“We are grateful to the City of West Hollywood for our many years of partnership and collaboration in presenting LA Pride. West Hollywood has been a successful home for the parade and festival, providing millions with a unique and incredible experience centered in this city. The community we serve and our organization have grown during our collaborations with West Hollywood, and we have been grateful to support the city and its business community by bringing hundreds of thousands of diverse visitors to the city and highlighting West Hollywood on the world stage.”

The move is likely to have an impact on the city’s economy as well as its promotion of West Hollywood as the gay center of Southern California. Beacon Economics, a consultant hired by CSW, said the 2019 Pride event increased economic output in Los Angeles County by $74.7 million of which $27.7 million was concentrated in West Hollywood and $18.2 million in the City of Los Angeles. Economic output is the value of goods and services provided during the Pride event. Beacon said the event generated $896,100 in sales tax revenue for the City of West Hollywood.

It also increased labor income for workers in Los Angeles County by $33.1 million, including $14.7 million in West Hollywood and $7.4 million in the City of Los Angeles. And Beacon said that the Pride event supported the annual equivalent of 830 jobs in L.A. County, including 397 in West Hollywood and 191 in the City of Los Angeles.

Another consulting firm, RSG, was hired by the city to evaluate the financial performance of CSW and the impact of the Pride events on West Hollywood. Noting the growth in the city’s spending to underwrite the event and provide public safety services, RSG said the positive financial impacts of Pride “are less certain, particularly as the city’s contributions relative to both festival admissions and other fundraising efforts have increased significantly ….”

A report from City Hall staffers in January recommended that the city increase its financial support for the June 2020 LA Pride to $3.05 million, up 46% from the $2.09 million in 2019. Most of that increase ($2.4 million) was meant to cover the cost of public safety measures.

CSW cancelled this year’s Pride events, which were scheduled for the weekend of June 12-14, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year it had to reorganize the festival, which takes place typically in West Hollywood Park, because much of the park was closed for redevelopment. This year’s event would have been the 50th anniversary celebration of Pride, which began with a march in Hollywood in 1970. After announcing the cancellation of this year’s Pride event, CSW said it would stage a march from Hollywood into West Hollywood to protest police violence against Black people. CSW got pushback from Black activists who said they had not been asked to participate in the plan and from City Council members, who also objected that CSW hadn’t engaged the city in the planning of the event. City Councilmember John Duran described the proposed march as “reckless.” CSW then dropped plans for that protest march.

At the June 15 City Council meeting, Council members Duran and John D’Amico suggested the city prepare a request for proposals from other event promoters to stage the annual Pride event.  D’Amico will have an item proposing the city solicit multiple vendors on Monday’s City Council agenda.

“I wish CSW the very best in its future efforts,” said Mayor Lindsey Horvath today in a response to the CSW announcement. “For decades, the City of West Hollywood and CSW have enjoyed an incredible partnership and, on a personal note, I will treasure the memories I have made celebrating Pride with CSW within our city. The City of West Hollywood remains the heart of the region’s LGBTQ community and we take Pride in celebrating each and every day, year-round.”

In his response to the CSW announcement, Councilmember Duran said: “West Hollywood will continue to have its own Pride weekend as we have for the past 49 years. Santa Monica Boulevard and this historic Boystown district will remain the heart and center of Pride month as we always have.“

Councilmember John D’Amico said he believed the Pride celebrations are important to the City of West Hollywood and that it should continue to have them. He said he would be open to the city considering CSW if it were to be one of the applicants to put on the next Pride event. D’Amico said that the City of West Hollywood hasn’t had any control over the programming of the Pride events. That programming has been a source of controversy in the past, with some LGTBQ communities feeling they weren’t represented well enough. And he noted that the city doesn’t benefit from the Pride sponsorships and festival revenue. As co-sponsor, the city had to pay to support the event but didn’t get a share of the revenue it generated.

  1. Good luck CSW on finding a new daddy like the Weho city council was to provide you with millions of dollars of support each year. Let the city run it with the help of promoters as the city was pretty much paying for it anyway.

  2. It is too bad that the discourse here, as in much of public discourse, gets lost in memes, tweets, hashtags and soundbites. Most have missed the historical fact that CSW leadership has changed, and for the better. While I personally believe that DTLA is a better spot for what is truly a regional celebration, in large part because those in the provinces can find easy ways to get there on a host of public transport options, it is not because it should be shut out of WeHo due to prior management failings and an inability to listen and respond. I think the current leadership of CSW have listened, responded, learned and grown along with the community. People and communities evolve in ways that cancel culture is incapable of finding ways to accommodate. It is unfortunate that public comment, comfortably ensconced as it is in the cloak of anonymity, can malign the intentions, actions and reputations of those with noble intentions.

  3. Sheesh. Some on here want it moved elsewhere because most people can’t afford to live in West Hollywood and the new party scene is downtown????

    Transitory…shallow… and stupid babies really have no idea what went into making this community a stronghold for them to enjoy so freely now. Unbelievable.

    Next time you walk down smb notice the names on the sidewalk plaques, remember them. There was a time not long ago when going to a GP event meant putting your life in danger, job loss and ostricization from your family.

    Keep it in West Hollywood and we should ALWAYS have a 2 minute period of silence in every pride parade to honor and remember those who died and suffered along the way just for being gay.

    We didn’t just show up and the party started. We worked hard for this, so let’s not blow it like some drunken sailor on shore leave.

  4. West Hollywood and CSW had a good run but times have changed and a move by CSW is probably warranted given the need to be more inclusive.
    I wish them the best. The City can and will do its’ own event, ideally NOT in competition with CSW, and the LGBTQ etc-ect community will be the richer because of it. This gives West Hollywood the ability to be creative.

  5. Can’t say I’ll miss it. In the beginning, CSW was great fun. But, that was back when Weho (SMB to be exact) was Gay and I was much younger. Now, Weho isn’t so much Gay as “mixed”. Not a bad thing. Times change. One more thing, people who complain about the parade need to move. The parade had been a fixture for 40 years. Weho has undergone a transformation to cater to younger more “hip” crowds. As I said, not a bad thing. It’s just boring.

  6. RETURN THE COUNTRY WESTERN STAGE! We miss it and it was a HUGE draw to people sick of the profanity-laced Electronica and Rap stages. And please remember there is so much more to the LGBT+ community than just the 30 and under crowd. Remember, us old folks are the financially stable ones…

  7. Quite certain homeowners in WH are happy to hear this. Should be downtown or somewhere with the parking and the space needed.

  8. This is a win-win situation for West Hollywood. It removes a poorly-run organization that has lacked vision and proper oversight for many years now. Whatever celebration takes its place will likely be appropriately scaled and priced.

    The parade will likely remain in West Hollywood and the bars (that do reopen) will be fine.

    CSW will likely not have any luck getting the City of LA to contribute any cash with the likelihood of extremely tight budgets the next few years.

  9. Ditch CSW, WEHO can run their oven even as they do Halloween without the control of the inept CSW. They cannot get an act if their life depended on it..or they simply do not care to, they raise the cost to enter each year without any real explanation and contribute little to WEHO. CSW is poorly run and out for $ only.

  10. Horrible decision by the WeHo council! This yearly PRIDE event draws so many people and is loved by all who attend! Work out the differences with CSW and get this event back where it belongs!

  11. Seriously, this is a risky move for both sides.

    CSW will need to find a new home & primary benefactor while still keeping it’s support & sponsors. Even if they do this, they will be facing not only WeHo but also the bars & many organizations that will inevitably side against them. Even after the first year, CSW will face backlash from tourists who realize that LA Pride no longer takes place in the heart of the LGBT community, especially those who come for the first year without realizing the change that has occured.

    WeHo is gambling that CSW will simply collapse. Given the growing chaos within the organization, the odds that this change will lead to such an outcome are pretty high. And let’s be honest here, WeHo all but forced CSW’s hand by opening up the event to other groups.

    Needless to say, the next few Pride seasons will be interesting to watch.

  12. Thank you WEHO city Council members for your commitment to our city filled with diversity with deep roots in the LGBT community. I look forward attending this festival of gay pride 2021 shunning CSW..

  13. The West Hollywood West HOA will be staging a celebration consisting of residents stepping no more than 3ft from their front doors & golf clapping for 30 seconds at noon tomorrow. Can’t let it block off their streets, disturb other residents indoors with their windows open, or last too long.

  14. West Hollywood?? You mean straight Hollywood.. Long Beach is beautiful when they have gay pride there everything is great bigger better beach everything West Hollywood out of touch. 🙄🔥

  15. Is it true?????!!!!! The current West Hollywood location for the Pride festival has always been a problem.West Hollywood Park is too small and disjointed to continue the festival.Pride needs a larger space and I suppose Los Angeles proper can provide that.

    Long Beach Pride has the perfect location of Shoreline Drive where you are spread out and not feel squeezed in.CSW needs to look and study how Long Beach Pride handles that location,so they can get a better idea how better to make Pride.

    I have a feeling the era of Pride in West Hollywood is over.The residents are getting tired of being besieged by rowdy crowds and the traffic disruptions..It would have been great if this happened a few years ago,but with the loss of tax revenue,it may not be possible to have a WH version of Pride.Look for residents to make a stink if councilpersons decide to try another version of Pride.

  16. If anyone who will be involved in the future planning of WeHo Gay Pride please know that we here on the East Side would love to be a host. Maybe Friday night LGTBQ movies in Plummer Park? An art and food street fair? It would be amazing to see WeHo Pride spread out so our visitors can see how awesome it is to live east of Fairfax and our business owners can be rewarded for locating here! Don’t forget the East Side!

  17. This is perfect to change things up and bring new energy and ideas to West Hollywood to celebrate Pride in a different new way, out with the Old and in with the New

  18. LA Pride should be downtown. West Hollywood, as a gay living destination for young people, unless they are trust fund babies, at least for the immediate future is probably at a standstill.

    That’s because the tenant, besides having to have top credit ratings, must now document cash on hand and sources of income. Because of coronavirus, under the law, if someone rents, moves in… they can stop paying the rent. The landlord can do nothing about it. I have a friend who has two apartments available but he stopped showing them because the possibility of this problem.

    But in the future, there might be more apartment rentals available in West Hollywood because a lot of the commercial space could be converted. With gold’s gym and 24 hour fitness having declared bankruptcy, it’ll be questionable if they’re even around. Companies will probably cut down office space. Because people will be working at home.

  19. Fine with me. CSW has been troubled for years. Complaints about the costly festival, the parade which had become very corporate and in general, financial mismanagement. I think the City can have its own Pride celebration along SMB and probably spend less than the financial subsidy to CSW. Just closing SMB for the weekend and allowing the business owners along the block to open up and use the streets and sidewalks would be great. Invite nonprofits to set up booths on the street. Allow other merchants to set up booths too for a reasonable fee. We could have an event with inspirational figures who talk about history and the future. Have an inclusive list of speakers, and keep each speech short and sweet. Celebrate the full diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community. We have some amazing promoters in our city. Let them program a show each night. Everyone can dance on the street. And we don’t need to destroy the park again. Let’s be creative and wish CSW best of luck with whatever they do elsewhere.

  20. This is great news. CSW has run Pride into the ground. Time for the City to step in, take greater control, and bring on another event promoter to return Pride to its glory days.

  21. It’s probably time given that West Hollywood is no longer affordable for most emerging queer people. They’re living Downtown and in North Hollywood now, and the biggest gay parties are Downtown now as well. So why not move Pride to where the heat is?

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