The Ninth Annual Harvey Milk Festival (May 10-12) celebrates and honors Harvey Milk, whose activism in the 1970s promoted gay rights. Described as “the most famous and most significantly open LGBT official ever elected in the United States,” Milk is seen as an LGBTQ (today’s emendation) martyr, with his assassination only 11 months after acquiring a city official position in California. Like Milk, the festival rejects discrimination and supports diversity, but also fosters emerging talents in the arts. With this year’s musical focus, the event encourages your voice to be heard, because all it takes is one performance to change a life.
The Harvey Milk Festival features a variety of attractions, including live music, film, performing and visual artists, speakers and vendors.
Day 1: HMF Art opens at Selby Public Library with Fluid Lines, an LGBTQ artwork showcase. It's a day of expressing one's self through the arts, embracing each other and feeling passionately about what you create. The event begins at 6 p.m.
Day 2: HMF Theatre hosts Cultivating Space Between the Spectrum, which brings together spoken-word artists, dancers and musicians. The night will also feature a screening of Had She Never Asked Me, written by Daniel J. Watts in response to the not-too-distant Orlando shooting. The event begins at 7 p.m.
Day 3: The festival ends with a free 11-band concert at JD Hamel Park at the intersection of Main Street and Gulfstream Avenue, Sarasota. Headliners include SSION, an electronic pop music project; Starbenders, an Atlantic rock group; and DVWEZ, an Orlando R&B singer.
Further talent, stretching to midnight, includes Sam Woolf, an American Idol finalist; Divine AF, a multigenerational LGBTQ collective; the Equines, known for their lyric-driven songs and snazzy outfits; N.E. Bodied Entertainment, New College's hip-hop group; Youth Antics, an indie, new wave band; Indee Killed the Pop Star, a classical-influenced Indie art-pop group; Gary Lazer Eyes, who describe their music as "creepy beach groove grunge"; and Firstworld, a chillwave group. The event begins at 2:30 p.m.
Visit harveymilkfestival.org for more info.