Several hours into the live music portion of the three-day arts festival dedicated to celebrating Harvey Milk's legacy, heavy rain brought the festivities to a temporary stop. By the time things cleared up, many attendees had already left.
According to Shannon Fortner, the festival's founder and president, the all-volunteer event relies heavily on donations, sponsors and day-of concessions, so the drop in attendance was a significant financial blow. So this Saturday, the Harvey Milk Festival will host a fundraising party to help raise enough money to cover the $5,000 cost of reserving the space in Five Points Park next year.
"We were hoping for a typical Florida moment, and that it would blow over," says Fortner. "But it didn't. We had a feeling we were going to need another fundraising event. Throb is one of our big sponsors every year, and they told us they were happy to help."
The party, which takes place from 7 to 10 p.m. this Saturday at Throb Nightclub, will feature Fortner's band, MeteorEYES, which sacrificed its slot at the festival to ensure the traveling headliner bands would have the opportunity to play. DJ Imminent will also perform, and attendees will have the opportunity to shop for official festival gear from this and previous years.
"This festival has come a long way," says Fortner. "It's great to see how much it's grown and how much support we've gotten. We're really grateful for the attendance we did have this year, and we're excited to get everyone out to celebrate with us."