Oh, for crying out loud. I blogged last year about the way Seattle’s PRIDE celebration ended up moved out of Seattle’s lesbian/gay Capital Hill community (its location for 30 years) and to the Seattle Center (concrete, corporate, upscale, trendy, incredibly spendy) by a unilateral decision of a small group of men who then created the new “Seattle Out and Proud” organization (SOAP). All sorts of intrigue ensued, beginning with a petition signed by 8,000 people demanding that PRIDE not be moved, followed by major sponsors refusing to support the new “PRIDE,” followed by confusing press releases and web information suggesting groups like Dykes on Bykes supported SOAP and the new location, when, in fact, they hadn’t even been consulted, and (almost) ending with two PRIDE celebrations: one in the Seattle Center, and one on Capital Hill in the old location, with both parades led by Dykes on Bykes. I say “almost” ending because there were a few loose ends remaining, like the bill of $100K which remained due and owing to the City of Seattle as of February. Supposedly, SOAP worked out some kind of deal with the City and as of last month, corporate sponsors were being solicited for this year’s PRIDE at the Seattle Center and the community was being assured that PRIDE 2007 was going forward as planned.
But yesterday I got this press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, April 23, 2007 Seattle – In 2006, the Seattle Pride March and Festival moved from Capitol Hill to Downtown Seattle and the Seattle Center. Event attendees, organizers and city officials all hailed the events as great successes. Unfortunately, the increased scale of both the March and Festival produced poor financial results including the well publicized and still unpaid debts. The move created a lot of controversy and a competing event was produced that divided sponsorship opportunities and divided the community. Simply put, the income from both events was not adequate to cover the costs of the March and Festival. In 2007 Pride organizers Seattle Out and Proud (SOaP) voted in new leadership and SOaP’s primary concern was to produce a financially sound March and Festival in 2007. This week, after months of intense research and negotiation, it has been concluded that producing a Pride Event at Seattle Center is not financially prudent at this time. While most people believe that the 2006 March and Festival in Downtown Seattle showcased the LGBT Community extremely well, a fiscally responsible 2007 March and Festival, no matter their physical location, is the most important goal. With all of the baggage that has built up over the last year, the SOaP board has decided the best thing for the community and the future of Seattle Pride is for SOaP to step down from producing the Seattle Pride Parade and Festival, and allow someone else to step in and take over Seattle Pride. We have honestly tried to do our best as a volunteer board with no agenda other than to produce a great celebration for our community. We hope that whoever does step in can unite the community behind them and likewise lead with no alternative agenda. We look forward to supporting whichever group of people can step up. We must agree that as a community we must cut our losses and start anew. We must keep moving forward with energy, strength, unity and passion. The SOaP Board of Directors will be meeting tonight to start working out the details. This press release is being sent out as heads-up and courtesy to the community. A formal press release will follow in the near future. No further information or interviews will be granted until after our Board meets tonight. For questions please contact Eric Albert-Gauthier at email@example.com # # #
A hearty and resounding (sic) to all grammatical and spelling errors in this press release.
Notice how the event held in Capital Hill for 30 years has now become “a competing event.”
Notice how the old event, you know, the one held in Capital Hill for 30 years, is described as having “divided the community.”
It’s not moving the event to the Seattle Center without even telling anybody or checking with anybody outside of seven or so males that “divided the community.” It’s not owing $100,000 to the City of Seattle after last year’s PRIDE, when at least 8,000 people never wanted PRIDE there in the first place, and sponsors took note and refused to support the move, that “divided the community.”
No, no. The dividers were all of those who failed to support the move the seven guys decided on, and signed on to, without checking with anybody.
As to this “volunteer” board–what did the volunteers do with the money that the sponsors who DID support PRIDE 2006 supplied? Where did that go? Where did the registration money for the parade go and where did the money paid by vendors go?
What a freaking fiasco.