PrideFest, as well as several other Milwaukee lakefront festivals, were canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19. In 2021, Milwaukee Pride returned to Henry Maier Festival Park but it was in October called "Pridetoberfest."
The Milwaukee Business Journal reports in 2022, Milwaukee Pride will work with a smaller budget and shortened time-frame due to continued impacts of the pandemic.
PrideFest is usually a four-day festival, instead it will be Thursday to Saturday. It will also have a smaller footprint, operating from the Henry Meier Festival Park's mid gate to the north end of the park, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.
The reduced budget will make up for increased wages and cost of doing business.
"The truth is the two years of no revenue was stressful for the organization. We are financially capable of moving forward with a June 2022 event, but we do have financial limitations due to the no revenue and will be operating on a smaller budget and a smaller scale to hopefully grow the festival and grow the revenue centers and attendance back into that 45,000-person attendance that we had in 2019," Wes Shaver, president of PrideFest parent organization Milwaukee Pride, told the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Shavor said Pridefest is facing labor shortages and challenges recruiting volunteers. The organization is also seeing increased product costs from tables and tent rentals to trailers and golf carts.
"We have a sliding scale of forecasting attendance numbers and revenue projections. To keep a world-class event running and sustainable, we have to meet attendance goals. We’re working very hard to create an affordable event for people that allows us to be financially soluble," Shavor said.
The attendance projection is around 25,000 to 30,000 attendees, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.
To learn more about PrideFest 2022, click here.