Nick Staples doesn’t want Pride on the Shore to be simply a musical festival, but a fully immersive experience. This is the first large-scale event he is spearheading as the producer for Imagination Entertainment. On June 3, he wants Stage AE to be a place of “Pride. Reimagined.” His particular idea of how to achieve this and set a new precedent for how Pittsburghers can celebrate Pittsburgh Pride is through Community.
After the queer community in Pittsburgh experienced a lack of transparency from and trust in the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, which used to produce these large-scale Pride performances, Staples believes Pride on the Shore will set a new standard. “A successful Pride event must be within the community and for the community. We have 28 local performers on our pre-show stage to support our headliners.” This pre-show party is free and produced by Luna Skye and Indi Skyies with S&S Productions. Before names like Jessie J, Mo Heart, and Raye perform, audiences will see what incredibly talented drag artists bring to our city, like Lola LaCroix, Dynasty, Akasha L Van Cartier, Eddie Alabaster, soft boy, and many more. Staples is proud to say that all of the talent is being paid.
A large community initiative of Pride on the Shore is choosing a different LGBTQIA+ focused organization every year to give back to. For its inaugural year, Pride on the Shore will give a portion of its net proceeds to Proud Haven, which helps queer youth and adults experiencing homelessness and housing instability in the Pittsburgh region find resources and housing options. “I contacted as many LGBTQIA+ organizations as possible, and Proud Haven was chosen based on references and other community advocates who believe in their mission.” The donation will be determined after the event, and Staples has promised transparency in the coming months in regard to that number. He added, “There are certain sponsorship partners who have committed to donating money to Proud Haven as well.” Pride on the Shore is sponsored by Zenergy Cycling, Sequence, Coldwell Banker, Voltage, Made in PGH, QBurgh, and Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty.
Another initiative to uplift the community is by donating tickets. “To those in our community and advocates who may not have the means or funds to attend the event, we are making sure that tickets get in their hands.” Staples says he has done so in a variety of ways by donating tickets to nonprofits like TransYOUniting and True T PGH as well as partnering with Central Outreach where you will receive a voucher for free general admission by getting a free STD screen at any of their locations. Staples acknowledges they could be doing better with these types of strategies but is determined to build upon them in future years. “I am making sure Pride on the Shore always goes back to the community, and I think the trust will speak for itself as festival-goers attend the event.”
Pride on the Shore is also calling all artists to submit designs for the official event t-shirt in partnership with the Center for Organ Recovery and Education. The winner will have their own design featured on the Pride on the Shore shirts and will receive two VIP tickets. The deadline for entries is May 11, 2022.
The event also has an exclusive After-Party headlined by Trixie Mattel that requires a separate ticket. Trixie will be supported by Grammy Award Winning Dave Audé and Joe Gauthreaux who will transform Stage AE into an explosive dance floor. The tickets to the After-Party are selling fast as the event has limited capacity. “We have outdone ourselves with the production quality and special effects,” said Staples, “I’m looking forward to getting on stage and saying ‘look to your left, look to your right. Every person around you is here to support every person in this community.’” Staples is eager to grow this community as he imagines a future where Pride on the Shore becomes one of the biggest Pride’s on the east coast. “I think the audience we can pull is so enormous since we are such a central location to other cities. This will only benefit and build our community up and help us create more LGBTQIA+ friendly spaces for Pittsburgh in years to come.”