PrideFest Milwaukee kicks off today, starting Milwaukee's busy season of festivals along the lakefront. This year's PrideFest features bands like The B-52s and LGBT activists such as Danica Roem. But the festival is about more than national acts - it's also an opportunity for local artists to showcase their work.
The PrideFest Wom!nz Spot stage is committed to showing the vast range of female artists within the LGBT community.
"It's very important to show that female artistry in the LGBT community isn't just folk music, which I think is a very common thought process... It is that, but it's also tons of other things," says stages manager Sarah Tybring. "We have rock artists, we have hip hop artists, we have phenomenal poets, we have people who do physical art. Those are things that should be seen, should be given a stage, and should be promoted just as heavily as any other form of artistry or gender."
Milwaukee hip hop and R&B artist kEwii has been performing locally for a number of years now and will make her PrideFest debut Saturday evening on the Wom!nz Spot stage. She notes that while her performance is a great opportunity to showcase her work, it is also a good way to network and align herself with other artists and future opportunities.
"So many people spend their time trying to compete with each other - I don’t think people take the time to try to see what they could accomplish if they actually worked together," says kEwii.
Tybring adds that an inherent part of PrideFest is the support system it offers to all who enter its gates - on and off the stage.
"Please remember to support each other, please remember to promote each other, please remember to invite everyone to all of the events because everyone deserves this shot," she says. "Everyone deserves this recognition - we're all doing the same thing in a different way."