Pittsburgh Adds Queer Music Festival to Pride Events

Although not an official Pride event, Rhinestone Steel is a welcome addition to incorporate a different perspective into the array of celebrations of our community.

The event has a family friendly component earlier – including hula hoopers – and then becomes adults only after 6 PM.

Saturday June 23rd 2012 —-3pm until 1am
at 5020 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224
$5-15 suggested donation for all day.
Schedule of Events
3-4pm will  Dj by koko.
4-6  Variety Showesque with hula hoopers, french horns,  dance troupes, etc
6-Midnight – Drag and Performances with your fabulous local MC’s Jen Cooney and Fey
After 6pm it’s not so kid friendly and for more mature audiences….

Especially in the 1990s, Pride regularly featured performers and speakers and it was an excellent chance to explore the queer music scene.  Rhinestone Steel goes back to that era with an array of local and national performers. What is especially engaging is that two local women have taken on this task as individuals, not a formal event producer.  One of them, Teresa, explained why this is important

[To] help the queer music scene in Pittsburgh grow by supporting and strengthening our community and to provide a space for queer artists to feel comfortable in expressing themselves fully. This is an all-inclusive festival for everyone with an open mind-whether straight, gay, queer, whatever…. but to have it be fronted from a queer perspective, rather than the mostly straight normative culture that often dominates Pittsburgh’s music scene. 

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We hope that in putting on this event, queer musicians from out of town will see how wonderful Pittsburgh’s queer community is and will spread the word, possibly bringing more acts through town on a regular basis. We also hope that local folks will be inspired to start their own performance endeavors adding a colorful dynamic to our city! 

The performers are quite diverse. Teresa explains it best:

The performers that we are bringing in from out of town include Katey Red, a musician that has emerged from New Orleans creating a totally new genre of rap and dance called sissy bounce. We are so fortunate to be able to bring her here, she is AMAZING!!! We also are bringing in Nicky Click, a pop princess from Boston providing an energetic and dancey atmosphere. We also have Sgt. Sass and The Coolots from Philly. Sgt.Sass is a two-person rap troupe and The Coolots are a 5 piece female funk and soul group. Locally we have some people performing for the first time since this event, as a safe space, is the perfect venue for them to give performing a go. We also have more well known acts such as Bekezela doing spoken word, Layne James and the Bang Gang, Slagwomb, Vercua la’piranha, Cherri Baum, Phat man dee, Lilith Deville, and more. 

Here’s an interesting NYT piece explaining sissy bounce as a queer variant on the traditional bounce music. It is fascinating reading.

The organizers have been doing a host of individual fundraisers to bring these performers to Pittsburgh. Can you support diverse music and voices as part of Pittsburgh’s Pride celebration by donating $10?  They also have upcoming fundraiser listed in their Tumblr and Facebook.


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