Written by: Kara Kundert
Wow. Another Pride season in the bag. Every year, we at Bluegrass Pride headquarters find ourselves in this rapid-fire maelstrom of preparations and events in June, and then wake up on June 30th wondering where the time went.
I know I came into this year thinking things would be easier the second time around -- we knew what we were doing, we had already figured out the path to follow, all that we had to do was walk along it. What I hadn't anticipated was the fact that we weren't crossing the same river twice. Not really, at least.
When we marched last year, we were a brand-new CBA project that was just finding its footing. We had raised money due to our novelty and the controversy that swirled around us. We held just about three events total in 2017, and our public profile was mostly generated from comment wars on the CBA message boards.
And somehow, our rag-tag team of friends and family made a huge splash. We won the SF Pride Best Overall Contingent Award of 2017 -- first prize out of more than 270 contingents; the first time ever that a first-time entrant has won.
So when we came back to SF Pride this year, we didn't come back as the same group. Between last year's parade and this season, we didn't just pause and hibernate. We grew. We evolved.
One became two -- our celebrations here in California were headed off by the folks of Oregon Bluegrass Pride up in Portland the weekend prior. Two became three -- as this Pride month comes to a close, we pass off the baton to Vancouver to carry us through the end of the summer. Della Mae, an internationally touring virtuosic bluegrass band, reached out to us to make sure that they could be on our float. We hosted events just about once a fortnight for months leading into Pride month, spreading the good word about Bluegrass Pride, and were invited to collaborate with new venues and festivals. Hell, we're making a music video that we're going to share with the world in September!
And, of course, a week before the parade, we received a sponsorship from the International Bluegrass Music Association, the professional bluegrass music association, honoring us for our commitment and capacity to bring bluegrass to fresh audiences and increase diversity and inclusion within the genre.
We here at Bluegrass Pride didn't set out this year with a carefully thought out plan for how to grow, or what new things we wanted to accomplish. Honestly, most of the plans we did make got thrown out or updated along the way to parade day.
The growth and gains we have made all came about organically as we pushed ourselves to do the best we could for this family we have built over the past 18 months. The love we have for each other and for all of you drives us to work harder and do more, every day.
I'm now coming to realize that this little group project I stumbled into 18 months ago is no longer just a project that I do every spring, throwing in a couple of hours after work and on the weekends.
This is my home. This is my life.
So this Pride month may be over, but we are not done. There's still work to do. There are still people out there who are waiting to be a part of this wonderful, loving, uplifting community.
Let us not rest now, nor grow weary. There is so much road ahead.