Photo by torbakhopper/Flickr
Organizers of Folsom Street Fair and Up Your Alley, two San Francisco street festivals geared towards the leather, kink, and fetish communities, have announced that both events will be moved online for 2020.
Both events draw hundreds of thousands of attendees from around the globe each year, and generate more than $200 million in revenue, with proceeds from the event going to benefit local San Francisco nonprofits. Up Your Alley was originally scheduled for the weekend of July 26, and Folsom was scheduled for the weekend of September 27.
Folsom Street Events, the producer behind both festivals, said that organizers had been talking about a possible virtual move ever since residents began sheltering in place back in March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We feel it is the ethical and the responsible choice to make before fair planning and production proceeds any further,” Angel Adeyoha, the interim executive director of Folsom Street Events, said in a statement. “The safety and wellbeing of our attendees and community members are our top priority.”
“While we will miss the fairs this year, I commend Folsom Street Events for taking this proactive step to protect public safety,” Maggie Weiland, the executive director of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission, said in a statement.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed also backed the decision, thanking FSE for “making a decision that is in the best interest of public health but still allows people to celebrate virtually.”
Details of how the festivals will be carried out virtually remain scarce, but Adeyoha told SFist in an interview that FSE is trying to ensure that the sense of togetherness remains intact.
“People come to [these events] to be in community, to see and be seen,” they said.
Adehoya noted that there will be music and performances from DJs and live entertainers, and that organizers will be trying to find ways that attendees can interact with participating vendors online. The festivals will also be working with a digital partner to stream adult content during the events.
In keeping with the events’ charitable mission, FSE encouraged fans and attendees of both festivals to consider donating to the SF Queer Nightlife Fund and the Bay Area Leather Lifeline Fund in lieu of travel expenses.
“If you have some spare funds, please consider donating to assist queer nightlife workers and members of the leather community who are heavily effected by this pandemic,” the organization tweeted.
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