By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published May 10, 2022 at 8:01 AM

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Back in summer for the first time since 2019, PrideFest is ready to start the Milwaukee festival season right – and ready to celebrate with its newly announced lineup of entertainment headliners taking the stage on June 2-4.

Headlining Friday night's on-stage excitement will be a stand-up comedy showcase featuring a trio of LGBTQ+ acts: Cindy Foster, Sam Morrison and the evening's MC Marik Mavrakys. On night three, PrideFest will then welcome a plethora of impressive performers to its main stage, led by Grammy nominee Martha Wash taking the spotlight at 8:45 p.m. The evening will start with Prince Poppycock of "America's Got Talent" fame at 7 p.m., then come to a remarkable close with "American Idol" alum and Broadway star Frenchie Davis at 10:30 p.m.

"I am thrilled to see an all-LGBT comedy lineup," said Milwaukee Pride Inc. president Wes Shaver. "I worked with Bonkerz Comedy Productions owner Joe Sanfelippo to put together a custom, one-of-a-kind show that is 100 percent all LGBT – that's tough considering gay stand up acts are hard to come by. This line-up is stellar, and I think it's going to really engage people and bring LGBT issues, experiences and stories together for a hilarious show. Oh, and Martha Wash – to party with an OG Disco Diva is certainly a career highlight!"

The entertainment and events at PrideFest don't stop there. Across the festival's five shows, attendees will be able to find tribute shows to both Adele and Lady Gaga hitting the stage during the three-day celebration, along with a number of local drag performers, DJs – including the Bucks' famous in-house music maestro, DJ Shawna – dancers and more. A Pride Prom will dance the night away on Saturday while historians, activists and other speakers will share stories and history throughout the weekend at the fest's Stonewall Stage. And while tons of acts will shine on stage, fireworks will shine over the lakefront sky on Saturday night and the Hoan Bridge will light up the colors of Pride each evening throughout the celebratory weekend. 

"PrideFest is more than music; it's community, celebrating diversity, embracing fellow citizens, and coming together to raise others up," Shaver said. "It's about celebrating Pride while creating space to exercise your right to celebrate it – that in itself is a big thing to do. It's important."

This year's PrideFest, in honor of its 25th year calling June – aka Pride Month – home, will also showcase Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday celebrations. In addition to beer and cocktails that'll throwback to 1996 prices from 3-6 p.m. both days, PrideFest will stage several events and presentations honoring its past, a '90s boy band review, a headliner old-school jam session with 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and DJ Kenny Perez, a drag show revue starring BJ Daniels and a stacked lineup of local DJs keeping the energy high and the party going. 

"This line-up is fun, energetic, eclectic and hits so many corners of the community," Shaver noted. "It's really important to focus on local representation, and I'm so proud to say that 90 percent of this entire festival lineup is local and regional and authentically represents AND supports the LGBTQ community – and that is very exciting! It's truly a Milwaukee festival FOR Milwaukeeans and all those who come to enjoy it."

For more information on PrideFest's full schedule and lineup of entertainment for 2022, as well as ticket information, visit the festival's website. And for more summer festival updates, stay tuned to OnMilwaukee.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.