DTLA PROUD Festival Version 2.0 Makes Waves in Downtown Los Angeles

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Photos and Text by Paulo Murillo

The DTLA Proud Festival returned for a second year to Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles on August 26 and 27, and version 2.0 was bigger and better than the first. The festival expanded to two days that were jam-packed with floaties, bubble machines, live DJ sets and and a long list of live performances.

Pop-up water park Summer Tramp returned this year with blowup water slides and other soaking wet areas. It gave trampy boys the excuse to walk around in their Speedos and barely there Andrew Christian underwear against the normally button-downed Bunker Hill business district in the background. Summer Tramp producer Andrés Rigal gave the crowd Milk Milk, Bears in Space and club promoter Mario Diaz was seen dancing and behind the DJ booth encouraging everyone to drink up and party.

Actor and club promoter Maria Diaz – by Paulo Murillo
DTLA Proud fest by Paulo Murillo

The main stage was hosted by the Mistresses of Ceremonies, the Boulet Brothers. Acts included GayC/DC, The Hound, Pickle, and Hym the Rapper to name a few. This year’s attendees were also treated to an all LGBT Mariachi band, Mariachi Arcoiris (meaning rainbow).

Visitors got a blend of local queer culture, art, history and entertainment with over 40 community and retail booths, and food trucks. This year, DTLA Proud partnered with ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives and the Los Angeles Conservancy to celebrate “The Run”– a mural that focused on queer history through images and stories of individuals, groups, events, and places from each neighborhood in and around Downtown Los Angeles.

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives and the Los Angeles Conservancy celebrate “The Run” – photo by Paulo Murillo
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The Artist Alley featured a curated section that displayed a diverse collection of locally-based artists, designers, fashionistas, and craft makers. The series also included live art installations created by big-name and up-and-coming queer visual artists. People could witness the creation of murals from start to finish.

An estimated 9,000 attended DTLA Proud festival last year. Organizers expected 4,000. Pershing Square has a capacity of 6,500. This year’s added day and street closure of Olive street gave the event some much needed relief from the congestion it experienced on its inaugural year.

DTLA Proud festival 2018, promises to only get better.

DTLA Proud fest by Paulo Murillo
DTLA Proud Festival 2017 by Paulo Murillo

For more information visit dtlaproud.org