LadyLand Festival Brings the Pride Party to Brooklyn With Pussy Riot, Yvie Oddly & More

Santiago Felipe/Getty Images
Pussy Riot perform onstage during Ladyland Festival at Avant Gardner on June 28, 2019 in Brooklyn, New York. 

It’s WorldPride weekend in New York City, with the annual Pride March commemorating 50 years since the Stonewall riots. On Friday (June 28), the actual date marking 50 years since black trans activists kicked off the modern struggle for LGBTQ equality, LadyFag (NYC's after-hours Pied Piper) demonstrated the best of New York nightlife to any visiting WorldPride revelers in attendance with the second annual LadyLand Festival. And like last year, it was a peerless blend of performance, dancing and inclusion.    

Expanding from one day in 2018 to two days in 2019, the festival returned to the open-air Brooklyn Mirage venue and boasted a rare U.S. performance of Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist collective whose anti-Putin punk prayer landed them in jail in 2012. Unlike the fast, loose rock that put them behind bars and catapulted them to international renown, Pussy Riot brought an eclectic, far more polished sound to the stage. With dancers sporting their infamous neon balaclavas, the core band alternated between melodic indie pop and hard-hitting dance with thick bass and throbbing techno. The performance art entity remains hard to pin down, but impossible to look away from.  

 

After a surprise appearance from dance/nightlife legend Kevin Aviance, Honey Dijon hit the turntables and delivered a lengthy, exhilarating DJ set that was easily the highlight of Friday night. Paying close attention to cross fades and the necessary peaks and valleys you need to keep a crowd in motion without risking exhaustion, Dijon’s set kept the crowd rapt and made it painful to leave the dancefloor to hit the restroom or bar.   

She also spoke to the beauty of the inclusive space LadyFag has created with LadyLand, saying it meant a lot “as a black trans woman to have so much support. The gay community is the first that fucked with me.” Dijon mentioned numerous bookers have ignored her in the past, telling her she’s too queer for a DJ gig. “Where the fuck did you think this shit started?” Dijon asked rhetorically, nodding to the fact that the modern dance scene originated in the black LGBTQ community.

 

Late into the night, RuPaul’s Drag Race’s most recent winner, Yvie Oddly, hit the stage for a wiggly lip sync to Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy.” Considering Aquaria performed at LadyLand last year, you might think LadyFag has an inside track to the show -- but as she told the crowd, she booked Oddly well before the season aired, proving the nightlife maven’s instincts remain fully intact. Speaking of Aquaria, the previous season’s winner was present Friday night as well, and on LadyFag’s request he hit the stage -- minus drag -- to play hype man to Oddly. It was a cute, unscripted moment that spoke to a sense of camaraderie in both the drag scene and at LadyLand.  

Saturday (June 29) night’s lineup includes Mykki Blanco, Gossip, Allie X and another Drag Race champ, Violet Chachki. 

Festivals 2019


THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.