Get Ready for the 2nd Annual Alternative Pride Festival in Vancouver

By Kendell Yan

Vancouver Art and Leisure (VAL) may have had to leave their warehouse site on Main street this past June, but the closure hasn’t stopped Matt Troy and the rest of the team from breaking ground by curating the second annual Alternative Pride Festival!

VAL’s mission is to present and advocate for artistic events in unconventional and non-traditional spaces that transgress barriers artists and organizers may face in developing and putting on shows in Vancouver. Barriers such as venue costs, access to permits, resource allocation, and underrepresentation of visible minorities and local artists in mainstream venues.

The festival is community-supported and artist-run, meaning it has received no corporate or government sponsorship, ensuring full artistic freedom and autonomy, while offering fair compensation to artists and aiming to bypass censorship or exploitation.

This year, the festival boasts 9 diverse events across three days, with express festival passes for all events available for $100. There is also an access program in place to help support members of the community who face financial barriers, reserving 10% of the festival passes to be subsidized for volunteer positions of all skill levels and abilities.

See below for just a few of the events being offered at this year’s must-attend Alt-Pride Festival.

Thursday, August 3

Drag Carnival
Where: The Villa, 494 Railway St. 7pm-12am
What: Wild gay games and spectacular spectacles, Drag Carnival is hosted by local superstar Dee Blew, and mesmerizing newcomer Gluttony! This opening night event is sure to entice you and get freaky with a slew of incredible drag talent, including Amy Grindhouse, Eva Scarlett, Kebby, Rose Butch, and Vixen Von Flex.
Starring: Starring Grace Towers (San Francisco) and Beardonce (Toronto).
Co-presented by Puppyteeth
How much: $15 Advance / $20 at door. Free with a Festival Pass.

Friday, August 4

Pride is for Everyone
Where: The Villa, 494 Railway St. 9pm-3am
What: The premier Alternative Pride event is dedicated to making space “for everyone, everybody, and every body, because love and dance floors are not exclusive.” Hosted by the inimitable vixen Berlin, everyone’s favourite Shay Dior, and making her VAL debut, (yours truly) Maiden China, Pride is for Everybody will have a variety of international DJs as well as visuals by Endtask, and art installations by Link Leisure and Dylan Kaiser in the gorgeous and opulent Villa warehouse. Harm reduction program in place by Good Night Out Vancouver. Wheelchair accessible.
Starring: Starring Octo Octa (New York)
How much: $25 Advance / $35 at door. Free with Festival Pass.

Saturday, August 5

Pride Ride
Where: Various Locations from Davie St to the Fraser River
What: An inclusive group bike ride with activities for everyone of all skill levels, body types, and gender expressions to show pride in alternative and fun artistic ways. Riders have the option of beginning their ride at Jim Deva Plaza or joining at any stops along the route.
Meet at Jim Deva Plaza 12:00pm – Depart @ 12:30pm
Mt Pleasant Park – Arrive 1:15pm – Depart 1:45
Winona park – Arrive 2:15 – Depart 2:30
Arrival at  Disco al Fresco – Outdoor Pride Party – Saturday! – 2:45 – 3:00
Starring: You!
How much: Free to attend

Sunday, August 6

Backdoor Pride Edition (closing event)
Where: The Villa, 494 Railway St.
What: The infamous gay warehouse party that started it all, anything goes and everyone is welcome! Hosted by Berlin, this party boasts two levels of marble floors, a spiral staircase, a massive dance floor, and lots of intimate spaces to party the night away in including a patio overlooking Vancouver’s shipping docks.
Starring: Karsten Sollors (Chicago), Nark (Seattle), Perfect Lovers (Mexico City)
How much: 45 advance, $70 Door if available. Free with Festival Pass. 

Kendell Yan is a queer, second-generation POC who navigates the hyphen of mixed ethnicity LGBTQ2+ living in Vancouver. Kendell has a penchant for drag Queens and Kings that borders on obsession, and he favours events that encourage free expression, inclusivity, and love in all  flavours.

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