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Street festival for Pride?

If the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) has its way, a street music festival will be part of this year’s lineup of festivities marking the 30th anniversary of Pride.

The VPS has posted an online survey canvassing three downtown neighbourhoods — Davie Village, Yaletown and the Denman St area — to gauge the level of financial, infrastructural and human resource support for such an event.

Ultimately, says VPS president John Boychuk, the proposal will have to get the nod of city authorities.

“The [VPS] festivals committee wants to put on a Homopolooza music festival on the Friday night of Pride, but put it on the street,” explains Boychuk. “So the city has come back to us [with], ‘Well, you’re going to have to take it to city council first.’

“At this point, the city has asked us to canvass businesses but if there are residents who wanted to, there may be an opportunity for them to put comments in as well,” Boychuk says.

Boychuk indicates there’s “lots of buzz out there” about the idea of a street festival for Pride. He says “a couple of parties” in each of the three neighbourhoods have already expressed interest in collaborating with the Pride Society.

Survey participants are not only being asked if they want a music festival in their area on the day and at the times indicated, but whether they will provide volunteers and financial support as well.

It’s not enough, says Boychuk, for a neighbourhood to express interest in hosting the festival without offering management or funding support.

“We talked broadly about the idea of a music festival,” says the City of Vancouver’s special events supervisor Dave Rieberger when asked if he is aware of the VPS’ plans to survey community support for a street festival.

“I’m glad to hear they’re talking to the community directly so that they can get a sense of the level of support for the event,” Rieberger says, adding that a city council decision about the proposed festival could be made as early as mid-February.

The deadline to respond to the VPS survey is Feb 1.

Boychuk encourages all interested businesses to take the survey so the VPS can determine the community’s appetite for a street festival and who to partner with to bring it to fruition.