Ed. Note — After this issue went to press Q-Notes received new information that Asheville PrideFest found a new location for their event on Oct. 11. The annual festival will be held Noon-6 p.m. at Grove House (Scandals Nightclub), 11 Grove St. A more in-depth article regarding Asheville PrideFest and its current situation will be printed in the Oct. 4 issue.

ASHEVILLE — Asheville Pride is in crisis — that’s what monthly LGBT publication Out in Asheville reported on Sept. 11.

The annual festival’s 2008 event is scheduled for Oct. 11 and was to take place on the property of Western North Carolina Community Health Services (WNCCHS), a non-profit community health service provider.

However, Pride organizer and founder Kali Brewer announced Sept. 11 that the celebration had lost its home and was in desperate need of a new location. As of Q-Notes’ press time, Asheville Pride had yet to find one.

Brewer was notified of WNCCHS’ withdrawal of their sponsorship on Sept. 9. She also said that the “entire festival is already planned.” All the group needs now is a location.

WNCCHS Executive Director Carlos Gomez told the monthly publication that a lack of communication, publicity and diversity led to his group’s sponsorship cancellation. He also bemoaned what he interpreted as festival vendors’ quest for money. After last year’s festival, he said he overheard vendors’ lamenting their lack of sales.

“I thought it was a community event, not a money-making event,” Gomez said. “I told Teri that if we did this event again, we need to have more input and community involvement.”

That input never came, Gomez charged. His group never heard from Asheville Pride organizers concerning plans for the 2008 event until August. By then, another event focusing on the gay Latino and transgender community had already been scheduled on WNCCHS property on Oct. 11.

“I knew it was in October,” Gomez told OIA. “The issue is there was no communication throughout the year…there was an assumption…”

OIA also reported that they had yet to receive any press releases from Asheville Pride organizers. Q-Notes received a release on Sept. 10 and wrote a brief story on the event at Q-Notes Online. The story was later pulled when editorial staff heard the group had lost its location.

Adding to the perception that festival planners had failed at effectively communicating with the surrounding community, several leaders of Asheville-based organizations told the publication they had also not heard of any festival plans thus far.

The lack of transgender and gay male participation in the event has also raised concerns. Brewer said the festival’s choice of gay singer Josh Zuckerman was an attempt to reach out to gay men. A transgender support and social organization was also offered a vendor space at the event.

— Out in Asheville’s Lin Orndorf contributed to this report.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

3 replies on “PrideFest in crisis”

  1. I realize Out In Asheville is a “competitor” to Q-Notes, but I’d expect Q-Notes to be at least professional in their mention of OIA in this article. The tension is so thick you couldn’t cut it with a knife (i.e. referring to OIA as a “monthly publication”).

    I have colleagues at both Q-Notes & OIA. OIA is definately more than just a “monthly LGBT publication.” Like Q-Notes, Out In Asheville represents some of the best LGBT journalism in the country.

    In fact, prior to the editorial staffing change at Q-Notes… the Catawba Valley relied solely on Out In Asheville to get our LGBT news because they were the only LGBT news organization that reported on happenings in our area.

    I’m glad to see the collaboration between OIA & Q-Notes in this article, but don’t diminish their worth by calling them “a monthly publication” while Q-Notes boasts as “THE Carolina’s LGBT news source.”

  2. Brandon, you know that I count you as a valued friend and colleague and have a great amount of respect for the bravery and a sheer courage you show being so out and open in an area where many people are still forced by their families, peers, community and faith groups to remain living in a closet and in solitude. As such good colleagues, I would have appreciated a private conversation to address these concerns before they were made public. Since they have been made public, I’ll address them here.

    There was no ill-will meant by describing OIA as a monthly publication. OIA has grown much in recent years but is still not widely known. Saying they are a monthly publication is a valid description of their organization and introduces them to our readers, who might not have ever heard of them before.

    I thank you so much for your kind words regarding Q-Notes and I am happy to see that during my short tenure thus far, we have been able to reach out to readers who had, for whatever reason, abandoned Q-Notes as a news source.

    Both Q-Notes and OIA have claimed status as “the Carolinas’ LGBT news source” at one time or another. It is my hope that through collaboration and professional cooperation, OIA and Q-Notes will both continue to serve the LGBT community in their own unique ways.

    Lin, Porscha and I worked together quite nicely for this article. We’re working again on a follow-up, which will appear in Q-Notes’ Oct. 4 issue. I’m sorry you read tension in the article, but I believe you read it into the piece. I know I didn’t write it in to it, as I hope my professional relationship with both Porscha and Lin has been above-board, honest, open and sincere.

    Calling OIA a monthly publication is not “diminish[ing] their worth.” It is fact. Similarly, calling The Advocate a monthly publication (whenever they finally cut back to monthly) isn’t diminishing their worth either.It is just as if OIA called us a bi-weekly publication. Calling the Charlotte Observer or Winston-Salem Journal “the daily paper” (something we do all the time) is also the same. We are all of these things. They are facts, and they help describe each publication.

    Thanks for your comments and I hope I have addressed your concerns. As I have said, I did not intend for any tension to be in the article and believe you read it into it, rather than it being there to begin with. I value my relationship with OIA’s editorial staff and associate publisher. They are wonderful to work with, I respect them and their views and, personally, would do nothing to destroy that relationship, especially something as petty as describing them as a “monthly publication” (something that, in fact, they are).

    Thank you,

    Matt Comer
    Editor, Q-Notes

  3. Mr. Comer: Brandon Greeson’s criticisms are obviously nothing but his own personal feelings intruding into reality. I detected not a wit of “tension” or anything of the sort when reading this piece. You described OIA accurately and fairly. Mr. Greeson’s take is a clear case of actively looking for drama and — surprise! — finding it.

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