It might be hard to see some days, but love can never be squashed. There is always a glimmer of hope on the horizon, and that’s what EDC Orlando tried to capture when it teamed with Smirnoff in bringing the Smirnoff House to its festival grounds.
“Smirnoff has been an ongoing supporter of the LGBTQ community for almost 20 years,” says Jim Sias, Smirnoff’s director of influencer and advocacy. “As a brand built on inclusivity, we wanted the Smirnoff House at EDC Orlando to honor the strength of the Orlando LGBTQ community by sharing a message of positivity and acceptance for all. It was especially important to us to come to Orlando with a message of inclusivity and highlight how love continues to overcome hate.”
The colorful love shack of sorts first made its debut at EDC Vegas where two men were married following the legalization of gay marriage by the Supreme Court. It was a beautiful moment, but it was quickly overshadowed by the tragic shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub that left 49 killed, 53 injured, and so many more scared beyond repair.
Pulse was a safe haven for the LGBTQ community, or so they all had believed. The nightclub has been closed, but the message of love has only continued to grow in the face of such bitter hatred with an astounding outpour of support for those who’s lives were effected near and far. In honor of that message, Smirnoff House welcomed the DJs and bartenders of Pulse nightclub to run the show Friday evening.
A crowd of nearly 2,000 gathered to hear the sounds of DJ Ressie Cups, DJ Simon, DJ Infinite, and DJ Flawless, as well as to enjoy the custom “Love Wins” mural.
“Smirnoff believes that music is the ultimate connector of people across different age groups, cultural backgrounds, genders, experiences and communities, and that good times are only made better when everyone feels welcome and is included,” Sias says. “The Love Wins mural was designed to honor the overwhelming amount of love that continues to pour out from people all over the world in support Orlando’s LGBTQ community. We used the bright, bold colors of the rainbow to represent the community and used the message of ‘Love Wins’ to highlight the rallying cry that brings so many people together under one unified display of inclusivity.”
Smirnoff donated $5 for every person who joined in the celebration to Equality Florida Action, Inc., as a means to help “continue establishing safe spaces and celebrations within this amazing community.”