DOVER — The Firefly Music Festival’s Pride Parade Sunday was the first such event to ever take place at the music festival.
Starting with performances from drag queens Lala Ri and Monique Heart at the Treehouse stage, a marching band and circus and burlesque performers then marched from the stage through the rest of the Woodlands with over 1,000 festivalgoers behind them adorned in rainbow gear.
China Christopher and Hailey Foster, both from Dover, wore pride flags as capes through the parade. Ms. Christopher said the LGBTQ+ community in Delaware feels small, so the huge crowd of queer representation made the space feel safe.
“It feels so good to be seen,” she said.
Ms. Foster added that it felt like home.
“Every time we have something as simple as a small (Pride) festival it makes me feel represented and noticed,” she said.
David Rivas is from Long Island, New York. He’s been coming to Firefly for four years and said the Pride Parade this year was liberating.
“This is exactly what we need to show that we’re here and we’re queer,” Mr. Rivas said. “This is the first-ever landmark Pride fest at a festival so we are showing that drag and pride, queer media and queer art, is a mainstream function.”
Kaitlyn Houreas is from Baltimore County, Maryland. Firefly is the first music festival she has ever been to, and the Pride Parade was her first Pride event as well.
“(Firefly) has been really inclusive to the LGBTQ community by having LGBTQ artists like Girl in Red (Thursday) too,” Ms. Houreas said. “There is a lot of peace and love here.”
Cherry Bomb, a burlesque performer for the Peek-A-Boo Revue in Philadelphia, said the majority of their group are part of the LGBTQ+ community, so participating in the parade was an easy decision.
“Some festivals wouldn’t even think about stuff like this,”she said. “It’s amazing that burlesque is now being recognized in a sense that we can be invited to something like this. Before, we were kind of flying under the radar but now we’re becoming more mainstream.”
Brie Mealey is a circus performer with Jewelz Entertainment from Philadelphia who stood tall above the crowd on stilts for the parade. She said that a lot of her fellow performers and artists are also LGBTQ+.
“It’s awesome to be seen by the whole community instead of just the LGBT community,” she said. “We love our Pride parades but it’s nice to bring the pride to a regular encompassing festival.
Following her performance, Lala Ri, the stage name of LaRico Potts, a drag queen based in Atlanta, and a contestant on season 13 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” was feeling the love as well.
“It was so wonderful to be a queer artist at a mainstream festival like this,” he said.