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Lambert to lead latest growth of Pittsburgh Pridefest

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Adam Lambert
Creative Artists Agency
Adam Lambert

Singer Adam Lambert seems well-suited to one of the main goals of the Pittsburgh Pride festival.

“Adam Lambert is going to bring lots of youth, and we believe, families,” says Christine Bryan of the flamboyant tenor. “We've had lots of phone calls from people who are bringing their kids. We think that will open up a new opportunity for a diversity discussion to happen around Western Pennsylvania's dinner tables.”

Bryan is the marketing and development director of the Delta Foundation, which sponsors the yearly event to create and increase understanding of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lifestyles.

Although Lambert and the evening of music June 15 on Liberty Avenue, Downtown, are highlights of the event, Pittsburgh Pride starts June 13 with a swim party at a home in Mt. Washington and continues through a gay pride parade June 16.

Bryan says the choice of Lambert as the headline performer is part of the continued effort to “bring a bunch of different folks together.”

For instance, she says, the performance of Patti LaBelle in 2011 was attractive to the African-American audience, while Melissa Etheridge in 2012 presented a female rock star. Lambert, she believes, will reach out to a younger audience.

Lambert was the runner-up in the eighth season of “American Idol.” He generated controversy during the competition when questions circulated about his sexuality. He confirmed he was gay in an interview in Rolling Stone two days after the competition ended. Since then, he's release several albums and singles to critical success.

But the other sides of Pittsburgh Pride appeal to other audiences as well. Along with Lambert, the June 15 concert will offer Pittsburgh native Sharon Needles, English star Joe McElderry, piano virtuoso Dave Yaden and soul diva Candace Devine, along with music-video creators Ryan Amador and Jo Lampert.

The pool party at the home of Steve Herforth and Peter Karlovich will provide a social get-together, Bryan says, while the PrideMarch on June 16 offers a chance for participants to band together and show their solidarity.

The march will feature The Cadets, the oldest continually operating band in the annual Drum Corps International showcase.

Bryan thinks the growth of Pittsburgh Pride shows an increasing level of understanding in the area. The festival has been averaging increases of about 20,000 a year in the past three years, hitting a total attendance of 86,000 in 2012.

“We're hoping to hit 100,000 this year, if Mother Nature cooperates,” she says.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7852 or bkarlovits@tribweb.com.

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