Estelle, Billy Gilman to headline Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade, Aug. 15-16

Annual event in Uptown Charlotte hopes to build on last year’s 100,000 visitors, features expanded festival attractions including Kids Zone, karaoke lounge and more

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Grammy Award-winning British songstress Estelle and double-platinum, award-winning artist Billy Gilman will headline the Wells Fargo Stage at this year’s Charlotte Pride Festival & Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade, slated for Aug. 15-16, 2015, in Uptown Charlotte. The two internationally-acclaimed singers will perform Saturday and Sunday at the PNC Bank Festival Zone on S. Tryon St. Passes for the Charlotte Pride VIP Experience, presented by Time Warner Cable, are now on sale at charlottepride.org.

Estelle Sophy White WebEstelle released her fourth studio album, True Romance, in February, featuring the inspirational Top 20 radio hit “Conqueror.” The album has garnered praise from the likes of Elle, Oprah Magazine, Cosmo, Instyle, Entertainment Weekly and VH1. Estelle, who also had a recent cameo on the hit FOX show “Empire,” has also landed appearances on “The View,” “Live with Kelly & Michael,” “The Real,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and was also profiled on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” She first burst onto the scene in 2008 with her double-platinum, international chart-topping hit song, “American Boy,” featuring Kanye West, transforming her into a pop and R&B sweetheart and earning her a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.

billygilman_webBilly Gilman burst onto the national stage in 2000, releasing his hit single, “One Voice.” His debut album was certified double platinum in the U.S., and he was included in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the youngest singer to ever reach number one on the Billboard Top Country Album Charts. He has sold five million albums worldwide and garnered awards and nods from the Academy of Country Music, the Country Music Association, Billboard Magazine and the American Music Association. Now 27, Gilman, who came out as gay in November 2014, is eager to come back and share his new music and sound with fans. He released a new single, “Say You Will,” in 2014.

Other entertainers will include “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants Trinity K Bonet and Yara Sofia, presented by The Scorpio, as well as R&B artist Shadina and The Prancing Elites, currently the stars of the Oxygen Network show “The Prancing Elites Project.” Several talented and diverse local entertainers, from individual singer/songwriters to bands, will also perform, including Charlotte area bands Messenger Down, Dust & Ashes and Lovesucker.

Organizers expect this year’s event will easily rival last year’s success, which attracted more than 100,000 visitors. An economic impact study in partnership with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority showed $7.75 million in total economic impact to the city from out-of-town visitors in 2014, including $2.49 million in labor income.

“The Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade has continued to achieve extraordinary growth and successes since we moved to Uptown in 2011,” said Charlotte Pride Co-Director Richard Grimstad. “Our growth comes in large part from the continued trust and confidence of our sponsors, vendors, city officials and, of course, our beautifully diverse and supportive community. We look forward to welcoming the greater Charlotte-metro area’s LGBTQ and straight ally community to our expanded event this year.”

Organizers say they are beefing up several attractions during the two-day festival. Families will be able to enjoy an expanded Kids Zone, featuring games and other family-friendly activities for children. Bud Light will also sponsor a new outdoor bar and karaoke lounge. Returning attractions include the event’s diverse food court, Campus Pride’s National LGBT-Friendly College Fair and several HIV/AIDS service organizations where festival-goers can learn more about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention and receive free testing services.

The PNC Bank Festival Zone will be open Saturday, Aug. 15, Noon-10 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 16, Noon-6 p.m. The Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade is slated for Sunday, Aug. 16, 1-3 p.m., with VIP parade viewing, emcee and judge stands located on Independence Square at Trade & Tryon Sts.

For more information on this year’s event, including VIP purchases and information on becoming a volunteer, visit charlottepride.org. A full list sponsors and partners, as well as more detailed information on the festival, parade and Charlotte Pride Week events will be announced soon.

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ENTERTAINER INTERVIEWS: Some entertainers will be available for media interviews, though some interview opportunities may be limited. If interested in interviewing one of our entertainers this year, please contact media@charlottepride.org.

IMAGES AND PHOTOS: High-resolution photos for our entertainers as well as previous years’ events are available for media. To request images, please contact media@charlottepride.org.

EVENT LOGISTICS AND MEDIA PASSES: Charlotte Pride will release more specific information on event logistics during the week of the festival and parade. A limited number of stage passes will be available for photographers and other journalists. You may pre-request stage media passes by contacting media@charlottepride.org.

ABOUT CHARLOTTE PRIDE: Charlotte Pride works to celebrate and empower our local LGBTQ community and produces educational and social programming highlighting the social, cultural, ethnic, artistic and civic diversity of the Charlotte-metro region’s LGBTQ community, including the annual Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade which hosted more than 100,000 visitors in 2014. It is one of the Southeast’s largest LGBTQ Pride organizations.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 17, 2015
Media Contact: media@charlottepride.org

Posted in Press Releases & Media Statements.