WeHo's 2024 OUTLOUD Music Festival Was a Glimpse Into the Future of Pride Events

From where I stood, the crowd gathered at West Hollywood Park resembled a gentle technicolor wave emerging from a horizon. I was a part of that crowd moments prior, riding the wave, merrily singing and dancing along to one of dance-pop’s most iconic artists.

As I pulled myself away from that spirited crowd, I found myself under a multicolored tree. And it was there, beneath the twinkling lights, watching the audience so carefree and full of life, that I came to a humbling realization: it wasn’t that long ago that we as queer people were not allowed to celebrate in this fashion.

When discussing the emergence of the gay rights movement, the Stonewall Riots of 1969 are considered to be the spark that lit the fuse. The series of demonstrations against the police raiding of a New York City gay bar were a direct response to the oppression faced by LGBT citizens at the time. The anniversary of the riots was marked by marches across major American cities, thus ushering in the modern-day gay pride parades.

Half a century later, Pride events have transformed from political calls for action to utopias celebrating everything queer, from self-expression to sexual freedom. This transformation continues into the 2020s, as evidenced by the recent addition of multi-day music festivals centered around pride.

“I think that it has been an evolution,” Jeff Consoletti, CEO and Founder of OUTLOUD Music Festival, tells EDM.com. “You have to educate young people of where pride originated from, what Stonewall means, who these pioneers of LGBT history are, and why we have a Pride march.”

Cyndi Lauper performing at WeHo Pride 2024.

Jon Viscott

Consoletti created OUTLOUD in 2020 as an online platform for queer artists to showcase their talents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project has now grown into a full-fledged music festival, partnering with the city of West Hollywood as its flagship WeHo Pride event.

“We want to be the epicenter of queer music, introducing rising artists with established acts that have a track record of servicing the LGBT community,” Consoletti explains. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that every artist on our bill has to be queer, as we gladly welcome allied artists that have been championing voices in our community for years.”

As an independent producer, Consoletti emphasized the importance of embracing the diverse range of talented musicians found within queer spaces. And with electronic music having strong ties with the queer and Black communities, Consoletti knew he had to include dance music in the mix.

“You can’t do any show these days without an electronic component,” Consoletti adds. “This was one of our biggest DJ-driven lineups we’ve ever put together.”

“Big” was an understatement. Over a three-day period, West Hollywood Park transformed into a haven for dance music enthusiasts. Beginning on Friday night, audiences were transported to electro-nirvana by way of 2010’s dance party girl, Kesha.

Kesha performing at the 2024 OUTLOUD Music Festival.

Steven On The Scene

Things kicked into high gear on Saturday as Yaeji, Channel Tres, Purple Disco Machine and EDM.com Class of 2022 alumni Kaleena Zanders energized crowds across both OUTLOUD’s mainstage and the Summertramp-hosted stage.

Come Sunday, spirits were high as the post-Pride parade crowds emerged from the street party on Santa Monica Boulevard and flooded into the festival grounds.

On the mainstage, drag queen-turned-star DJ Trixie Mattel spun a mix of house music heaters, followed by Ashnikko and Big Freedia, who perfectly complimented each other with their dynamic performances.

Trixie Mattel performing at the 2024 OUTLOUD Music Festival.

Naz Massaro

Over on the sweltering Summertramp stage, Kiesza animated the dancefloor as she performed tracks off her latest album, Dancing and Crying: Vol. 1. The Canadian electro-pop songstress, who recently emerged from a hiatus after a severe car accident, emphasized how her road to recovery inspired her latest project.

“I sustained a brutal brain injury from a car crash in 2017,” Kiesza told us onsite at OUTLOUD. “I’ve turned a corner now where I’m going to be able to come back to the dance scene. I’ve been a dancer my whole life and having lost that side of myself was truly tragic.”

Kiesza’s love for dance was most apparent in the timeless music video for her 2014 debut single, “Hideaway”. The video, which sees her dancing through the busy streets of New York, was shot in a single take and has amassed over half a billion views on YouTube.

“I want my music to encourage people to be okay with who they are inside… if you know who you are, make that louder,” Kiesza says. “Express that. Throw it out into the world. Even if people don’t accept you, don’t stop being you. We will all find each other eventually.”

Kiesza wrapped up her WeHo Pride appearance with a performance of  “Hideaway” before leaving a note of encouragement to the gay community, with whom she has strong ties.

“I know we’ve come a long way, but there’s still a lot left to do,” she asserts. “I want to be in the forefront to help push that in the right direction.”

The Summertramp stage was also host to another dance music diva, the house music vocal legend Crystal Waters. The iconic singer-songwriter put on a spectacle as she belted out her classic 90s hits “Gypsy Woman,” “100% Pure Love” and “Destination Calabria.”

As Waters’ dynamic performance came to a close, the pulsating beats of electronica prevailed well into the evening. DJ Holographic, Hot Chip and Josh Peace took to the stage and aided in keeping the Summertramp faithful hot and steamy all night.

Back on the mainstage, the surge of energy emanating from the crowd only grew bigger as Diplo took to the decks. Blending together gay anthems and techno hits, he activated the audience, turning them into ravers for the evening.

Diplo and Bebe Rexha performing at the 2024 OUTLOUD Music Festival.

Naz Massaro

After Diplo’s heart-pounding performance, which included a surprise appearance by Bebe Rexha), West Hollywood was treated to an unforgettable spectacle of a show by OUTLOUD’s top-billed headliner, Kylie Minogue, a dyed-in-the-wool queer icon in her own right.

Minogue’s influence on dance music is undeniable. Everywhere you turned, audience members were singing and dancing along to hits like “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” “Love at First Sight,” “Get Out of My Way” and, of course, last year’s runaway hit, “Padam Padam.”

Kylie Minogue performing at the 2024 OUTLOUD Music Festival.

Jon Viscott

Back under that rainbow-colored tree, I watched as the happy-go-lucky, free-spirited crowd abandoned the dancefloor and dissipated into the street party behind me. But the gravity of the moment wasn’t lost on me—I knew that despite all the progress for our community, the fight continues.

As for OUTLOUD Music Festival, Consoletti and his team managed to create an inclusive safe haven for music lovers of all genres. The event was the highlight of WeHo Pride and delivered on its mission to bring queer artists and allies together in celebrating the LGBT community.

“My relationship with the city of West Hollywood is incredibly important to me,” Consoletti said. “There’s no other municipality that will go all out for the queer community. So in terms of OUTLOUD at WeHo Pride, this show is not going anywhere.”

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