Bloomington Celebrates PRIDE with Summerfest (Gallery)


Chris Forrester, Staff Writer


Bloomington’s annual LGBTQ+ Pride festival, Summerfest, took place last Saturday and saw roughly 10,000 people in attendance from Bloomington and surrounding communities. 2016 marks Summerfest’s third year.


The festivities took place on Kirkwood Avenue between South Walnut and South Lincoln Street, with events running from 2 P.M. to 11 P.M. Numerous performers kept attendees entertained at the main stage, while booths up and down the street, as well as lectures at the Buskirk, supplied alternative forms of entertainment.


Minneapolis-based punk rock group Sick of Sarah performed a set at the main stage, featuring a number of their own songs, as well as stylized covers of other artists’ work. Between performances at the main stage, DJ Unique hosted an all-day-long dance party.


Following Sick of Sarah’s punk-influenced electric rock performance, acclaimed Nashville-based pop/rock artist Sinclair took the stage for one of the more crowd-favored performances of the evening. Sinclair’s performance emphasized the importance of sticking together as members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community and spreading love, particularly in the aftermath of events like the shootings at PULSE Orlando.


Perhaps the highlight of Sinclair’s set was a soft and soothing, emotionally resonant love ballad performed with her wife, Natalie, who joined her onstage to great applause.


Following Sinclair’s performance came the crowd favorite– the drag show. The first of the performers was local Queen Argenta Perón– a frequent performer at The Back Door– who hosted all the events at the main stage and introduced each of the show’s numerous performers.


Following Perón came Rock Ruffergood, whose more masculine-oriented drag style offered a nice contrast to the other performers, each of whom embraced more effeminate looks in the vein of a more traditional drag performance.


Next came Mocha Debeaute– sometimes called “The Beyoncé of Bloomington”– with a performance equal parts saucy and sultry.


Following the local performers came two special guests– performers from PULSE Orlando, whose presence reiterated the festival’s underlying narrative of staying strong as a community more than ever in response to hate and adversity. First off was Kaija Adonis with a fierce and genuinely stunning Beyoncé tribute of which even Bey herself would be proud.


And last, though certainly not least, came Axel Andrews, second of the two PULSE performers, with a flamboyant punk-rock performance to close off the festivities with a bang. Afterwards, the festival continued at local gay bar The Back Door for those of age, and for those not yet old enough local organization PRISM offered a dance party at Rhino’s.


It’s genuinely special to see the community of Bloomington come together for an event like Summeriest. It’s a reminder of just how accepting our community is, and above all else it’s an absolute blast. Until next year, Summerfest…