Following a week in which precautionary measures done in effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19 have resulted in countless event postponements and cancellations in and around Milwaukee, the threat of the disease has now officially delayed a major festival.

This morning, Milwaukee Pride announced PrideFest Milwaukee 2020—originally scheduled to take place at Henry W. Maier Festival Park June 4-7—has been postponed. In a press release, Milwaukee Pride president Wes Shaver says the festival will occur sometime in 2020.

“Have no fear, we are currently working on alternative dates and options to produce the world class event you’re used to,” Shaver says. “Milwaukee WILL exercise Pride in 2020. We are committed to working with our community partners while ensuring the safety and security of our festival attendees and public as our first priority. ”

You can read the full press release below:

Milwaukee, WI – Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Milwaukee Pride, Inc. – parent organization of PrideFest, Wisconsin’s largest LGBTQ+ event – announced today that it is officially postponing the 4-day event. The festival was set to take place at the Henry W. Maier Festival Grounds from Thursday, June 4-Sunday, June 7, 2020. This decision comes after a wave of large event cancelations and postponements due to the developing COVID-19 situation. This is the first time PrideFest has been postponed in its history.

“Pridefest is, and has been a safe space for people to celebrate community and the Pride movement since 1987. Due to the current status of COVID-19, the health, safety and protection of our festival patrons is our first priority,” said Wes Shaver, Milwaukee Pride, Inc. President. “We certainly don’t want to cancel, absolutely not. But, moving forward as planned brings too many risks to the forefront; for our attendees and for our organization.”

PrideFest 2020 planning was well underway, with musical acts under contract and marketing and media ready to launch. The increasing wave of event cancellations across the national and global stage has set a precedent of taking all precautions in order to keep people safe, and to err on the side of caution. LGBTQ people are at a greater risk from this pandemic for reasons such as health disparities and barriers to health care access. The safety and well-being of our community is the number one consideration of Milwaukee Pride in this difficult decision.

“It’s unfortunate that we need to hit the pause button, considering the significant work our team has already put forth – as well as the incredible and diverse line up we had planned for our stages,” said PrideFest Producer Luke Olson. “I’m confident that once we have a new plan for this year’s festival we’ll be able to pick things up where we left off. Our hope is to bring Milwaukee a world class event like it’s used to.”

The Milwaukee Pride Board of Directors are working with Summerfest on possible alternate dates. The board is also exploring the possibility of different formats and locations. Milwaukee Pride will continue to engage with the Milwaukee community on other, smaller events this summer to keep the Pride movement strong and present.

“We don’t want people to think there will be no PRIDE this year,” said Shaver. “We simply want to ensure we’re taking the right steps forward. We hope people trust that our intentions are for the safety of the community, and for our ability to ensure the sustained future success of PrideFest Milwaukee.”

For more information, please contact Wes Shaver at [email protected] or call 718-962-5639.

Photo by Kristy Tayler

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.