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South Bay Pride

by Cutter Slagle
Saturday Sep 2, 2017

Something prideful this way comes... Specifically, the South Bay Pride Art and Music Festival. According to organizer Dae Elliot, who has been heavily involved in the event since it started, they are celebrating their anniversary of the original event, with many new and fun additions.

The Rage Monthly sat down with her to talk about the event's history, why it's important they have their own Pride celebration, what attendees can expect and why the greater San Diego LGBT community should join in.

"The original event was held August 24, 2008, in Memorial Park, off of Third Avenue in Chula Vista," shared Elliot. "It was solely a music festival, we didn't add the 'arts' until 2011 and it was attended by, at most a few hundred people...In comparison, the 2016 event brought in over 15,000."

She continued, "We moved the event to Bayside Park in 2013 and two years ago, we added a second stage, then last year we had yet a third. Every year we have increased attendance, as people find out about the event. Right now, we are a one-day celebration, but expect to make this a two-day destination celebra- tion in the future."

Elliot went on to explain how South Bay Pride came to be and why it's so important to have another Pride event in San Diego. "This event was done in direct response to being told by our local politicians that Prop 22 was a 'Hillcrest' issue and there were 'few LGBT's in the South Bay.' We saw again during Prop 8, there needed to be a lot more awareness that people who are LGBTQ reside in San Diego's South County and that they are our neighbors, friends, children, students, siblings, etc." Adding further, "We pushed and encouraged, along with others in PFLAG and GLSEN to extend GSAs in schools, but the mindset that the LGBTQ population was centered mainly near Hillcrest, was not only an attitude found with our local politicians, but also within the LGBT community and many of the organizations there."

"South San Diego county is more diverse, both racially and economically," Elliot went on to explain. "It also has much closer ties to our Tijuana neighbors and we all know the border doesn't really count when we're talking about important services for the LGBTQ community around education, safer sex practices and combating homophobia." Specifically discussing South Bay's needs, Elliot offered further, "South Bay's LGBTQ community needed the same services, but were often expected to go downtown. In many cases, we found it was just not affordable or feasible and the difference in the two communities was ignored. This notion fed into the illusion that issues surrounding the LGBTQ community, did not need to be addressed in our area."

As to what makes this Pride event stand out from other Prides in general, Elliot offered this. "We are one of the few Pride events that are held directly on the beach here in California, giving us a unique advantage to provide a
different type of celebration." She continued, "South Bay Pride is community driven-free and run by volunteers-with the idea that both creating the Pride event as well as attending builds local networks and communities. We support local bands, local arts and there is far less commodification. People come because it feels like a community gathering, it's more laid back and more along the lines of the older experience of Pride celebrations. This is about affirming the community here in our own backyard, building networks and sense of belonging where we live."

As to what guests can expect, "Something we have that didn't happen with San Diego Pride, is our craft beers and wines can be consumed throughout the park. Families and friends are no longer relegated by penned-in drinking areas. This has made it a much more inviting place to hang out in mixed age groups." Elliot also added there will be, "Great food, a laid-back relaxed waterfront experience, with cool bay breezes, craft beer and wines, kayak tours, face painting, paddle board demonstrations, artisans selling their creations and lots of fun!"

South Bay Pride takes place on Saturday, September
9 at Chula Vista's Bayside Park, 999 Bayside Parkway. For more information about the event or to get directions, go to

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