Used to be you really had to reach to find decent music during the Pride festival. Not any more. Check out these excellent artists, just some of a raft of cool performers this year.
New Orleans sissy-bounce rapper Big Freedia plays the Drake Hotel June 28. Freedia puts on a legendarily great live show - expect the whole club to be wall-to-wall jiggling butts.
It could be just a coincidence that the flamboyant NYC pop band plays Toronto Pride weekend, but it's great timing for the super-gay rockers to be swinging through town. They play Sound Academy June 28.
House music gets its name from Frankie Knuckles's residency at the Warehouse in Chicago from 1977 to 82, and no one spins it quite like he does. Expect a soulful foot-stomping journey when the legend plays a very special free (!) gig at the Green Space on Church June 29.
The infamous Shame edition of Will Munro's queer punk party Vazaleen continues to be a highlight of Pride weekend, but now as a celebratory memorial for the influential artist/activist/DJ/promoter who died of brain cancer in 2010. This year it returns to Wrongbar July 1, with performances by Limp Wrist and Vag Halen and DJs Miss Barbra Fisch and Rawbert.
Horse Meat Disco
UK underground disco team Horse Meat Disco are DJing at the Drake Hotel Underground June 30. Expect a night of bumpin' bass lines, forgotten classics and dance-floor oddities.
Yes Yes Y'All
The popular queer hip-hop, dancehall and R&B party has DJ Jr Flo playing the Annex Wreckroom June 30. Get there early if you want to get in.
There's tons of free great music outside all weekend on the official Pride stages. NOW recommendations include Rae Spoon (June 30, North Stage; see also Queer Quips, page 5), Kids on TV (July 1, Alexander Parkette; see also Kids' John Caffery, Queer Quips page 5), 88 Days of Fortune (July 1, Wellesley Stage), Deko-ze (June 30, Wellesley) and Tom Stephan (June 30, Wellesley; and July 1, South Stage).
Kansas City art/punk/dance weirdos SSION play Wrongbar June 30, with Toronto dance rock trio Lioness opening up. Expect an over-the-top extravaganza.
Steers & Queers
The Pride edition of the Gladstone Hotel's charming gay country party is the Night Of A Thousand Dollys (June 28). And, yes, they mean Dolly Parton. Bring your wig!
At the Garrison, the campy drag-friendly dance music party gets in the holiday spirit with a Christmas-themed party June 30. (We don't get it either.) Musical entertainment includes Christeene, DJ JJ Booya, Das Hussy and Produzentin.