Big Name Artists Bring Huge Crowd to Atlanta Pride
The annual Atlanta Pride Festival was held in Piedmont Park this past weekend, drawing in people from all over the Southeast with its welcoming atmosphere and its high-profile music lineup.
Although Atlanta Pride has been underwhelming in terms of music acts in the past few years, this year was a different story. Power 96.1 sponsored two of the performing artists, bringing Top 40 sensations Kiiara and Zara Larsson to the festival.
The headliner was none other than R&B icon Jody Watley, accompanied by members of her former group Shalamar. Towards the end of the day on Saturday, each of these women took to the Coca Cola Stage to perform their sets. The star power undoubtedly helped boost attendance at 2016 Pride to 300,000, which far exceeds the 200,000 expected to attend and makes the festival the most attended in Pride History.
This was good news not only for members of the Atlanta LGBT community but also for Atlanta businesses. In between the two performance stages was about a mile long strip of stations where local businesses and nonprofits lined up to meet potential customers and donors. Drawing a crowd is crucial for these businesses to expand to and growth within the LGBT community, which is why revamping the festival’s musical element was imperative for an attendance boost.
The Atlanta Pride Committee partners only with local gay and gay-friendly businesses who adore their involvement with the festival and organization, some of which are already engrained in the LGBT community. Joanne “Jo” Steiner of Sips n Strokes in Toco Hills has been a partner “since a time when it wasn’t popular to do so.” Just as she supports Pride, Atlanta Pride supports her and Sip n Strokes, “We are truly partners. We’re all here for one another.”
According to Pride’s 2014 survey, 72 percent of attendees purchase a product or use a service from a company that they were introduced to at Pride, and 90 percent of attendees are likely to do business with a company because of their involvement with the organization. Thanks to 2016 Pride’s stellar lineup, local businesses that are part of and friends to the LGBT community will reap these benefits on a much larger scale than ever before.