Ed. Note — After this issue went to press Q-Notes received new information that Asheville PrideFest found a new location for their event on Oct. 11. The annual festival will be held Noon-6 p.m. at Grove House (Scandals Nightclub), 11 Grove St. A more in-depth article regarding Asheville PrideFest and its current situation will be printed in the Oct. 4 issue.
ASHEVILLE — Asheville Pride is in crisis — that’s what monthly LGBT publication Out in Asheville reported on Sept. 11.
The annual festival’s 2008 event is scheduled for Oct. 11 and was to take place on the property of Western North Carolina Community Health Services (WNCCHS), a non-profit community health service provider.
However, Pride organizer and founder Kali Brewer announced Sept. 11 that the celebration had lost its home and was in desperate need of a new location. As of Q-Notes’ press time, Asheville Pride had yet to find one.
Brewer was notified of WNCCHS’ withdrawal of their sponsorship on Sept. 9. She also said that the “entire festival is already planned.” All the group needs now is a location.
WNCCHS Executive Director Carlos Gomez told the monthly publication that a lack of communication, publicity and diversity led to his group’s sponsorship cancellation. He also bemoaned what he interpreted as festival vendors’ quest for money. After last year’s festival, he said he overheard vendors’ lamenting their lack of sales.
“I thought it was a community event, not a money-making event,” Gomez said. “I told Teri that if we did this event again, we need to have more input and community involvement.”
That input never came, Gomez charged. His group never heard from Asheville Pride organizers concerning plans for the 2008 event until August. By then, another event focusing on the gay Latino and transgender community had already been scheduled on WNCCHS property on Oct. 11.
“I knew it was in October,” Gomez told OIA. “The issue is there was no communication throughout the year…there was an assumption…”
OIA also reported that they had yet to receive any press releases from Asheville Pride organizers. Q-Notes received a release on Sept. 10 and wrote a brief story on the event at Q-Notes Online. The story was later pulled when editorial staff heard the group had lost its location.
Adding to the perception that festival planners had failed at effectively communicating with the surrounding community, several leaders of Asheville-based organizations told the publication they had also not heard of any festival plans thus far.
The lack of transgender and gay male participation in the event has also raised concerns. Brewer said the festival’s choice of gay singer Josh Zuckerman was an attempt to reach out to gay men. A transgender support and social organization was also offered a vendor space at the event.
— Out in Asheville’s Lin Orndorf contributed to this report.