This weekend marks the second annual West Iceland Pride Festival. RÚV reports that the festival, which will take place in Ólafsvík, Grundarfjörður, and Rif, will include a parade, a picnic, and a ball headlined by gay icon Páll Óskar, and is intended to increase LGBTQIA+ visibility outisde of the capital area.
Alexander Aron Guðjónsson, one of the festival organizers, says that the West Iceland Pride Festival is here to stay. Last year’s celebration was held in the town of Borgarnes, and “was the biggest town festival that had ever been held [there].” He added that well over a thousand people took part in the Pride parade. “We plan to go all over the west—Borgarnes last year, [the municipality of] Snæfellsbær this year, and tomorrow, we’ll announce where we’re going next year.”
It’s important that the voices of LGBTQIA+ people are heard all over Iceland, Alexander Aron continued. “We hear this so often from people…Just now, a man came into our shop here to buy a flag to wave, and he was saying that this is kind of a male-dominated society that sometimes isn’t super open, such that you can see all its diversity. So it’s great to come here and show people who are in the closet and don’t dare come out because they’re afraid to […]: there are people like them here in the West and they are visible and want to be, they want to be loud and speak up about who they are.”
Pride Parade on Saturday
The festival’s main event, the Pride Parade, will take place in Ólafsvík on Saturday at 2:00pm. The parade will begin at Ólafsbraut 66, head down the street, and turn up Kirkjutún before ending at Sjómannagarðurinn (‘The Sailors’ Park’). Per the organizers, “We celebrate diversity and will ALL walk together in support of LGBTQIA+ people’s fight for their rights.” Drag Queen Miss Agatha P. Meðal will host festivities in the park after the parade, including live music and a Queer as Hell Disco with DJ AlexanderAron from 10pm – 1am.