This June is shaping up to be the most pride-filled and prideful month in Montana history with the first-ever Butte-hosted Pride Celebration slated for June 14-16 and Interchange: A Festival of Color coming to Bozeman June 28-30. Pride Foundation awarded grants to support both events.
Known as the “richest hill on earth,” Butte, epitomizes the best of Montanans’ famous grit and sense of place. It once was the largest city between Minneapolis and Seattle. Now the population hovers at around 30,000, making it the fifth largest city in Montana. This is one historic mining town that knows how to throw a party, which you already know if you are Irish: Butte throws an internationally-known St. Patrick’s Day Celebration each March 17th. Along with the usual parade and rally, Butte Pride will include several youth and family events and a series of free workshops, including one on grant-writing tips presented by Cathy Cooney of the Montana Leadership Action Team. A weekend pass is $40, or you can buy a Saturday-only one for $20 that includes the workshops, drag shows, and author readings. You can purchase passes here.
Montana has one official Pride Celebration each year, with the location rotating every two years. The festival was in Bozeman for the last two years. The planning committee felt the event, which drew more than 5,000 people last year, should continue. After discussions with Montana Pride Network (MPN), the nonprofit in charge of the Pride Celebration, it was decided it would be best for Bozeman to move forward with another pro-equality event on a different date and continue to rotate the statewide Pride Festival according to MPN’s mission to help galvanize community building across the state. Thus, Interchange, billed as a celebration of human rights with a strong LGBTQ emphasis, was born.
“Interchange will annually evolve as we do, integrating awareness and giving a voice to a number of innovative topics, whether scientific, creative, national performing artists, or otherwise so long as they support the evolution and improvement of the causes essential to the spirit of the event,” explained Interchange founding board member Tate Chamberlin of Chamberlin Productions.
Interchange, which ran an Indiegogo campaign to raise more than $3,000 to support the event, will kick-off Thursday, June 27, with a pre-party at Bar IX in downtown Bozeman. On Friday at Montana State University, there’s an invite-only summit followed by a cocktails-and-jazz event, and then a drag show featuring Electra Sexton. On Saturday there will be a parade, rally, and several human rights educational opportunities. The music festival begins at 5:00 PM in Lindley Park. Chiddy Bang and Sol are headliners. Tickets start at $20 for the music festival with additional events ticketed separately. Purchase tickets here.
We are excited that the LGBTQ community is expanding in Montana to warrant multiple events, as well as thrilled to celebrate the equality of all people. Whether you identify as LGBTQ or are an ally to equality, Pride Foundation is thrilled to look toward full-equality and be prideful with you this June.
Caitlin is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Montana. Email Caitlin.