Planning Pride during a pandemic

A behind-the-scenes diary series exploring how one of the city's biggest festivals comes together in the face of COVID-19.

click to enlarge "I seem to always be thinking about how other Prides around the world had made promises early in the year to deliver festivals and events, and had to backtrack as restrictions never lightened up," Fiona Kerr, operations and communications manager at Halifax Pride, says. - SUBMITTED
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"I seem to always be thinking about how other Prides around the world had made promises early in the year to deliver festivals and events, and had to backtrack as restrictions never lightened up," Fiona Kerr, operations and communications manager at Halifax Pride, says.
Editor's note: Hosting an arts event these days is no joke. It's more like a dance with a million unknown, ever-changing steps, making event planners need back up plans for their back up plans. They pivot and contort to COVID's inconsistent rhythm while keeping the beat at all feels like a feat.

Juggling public expectations and COVID regulations isn't easy, nor is navigating the financial realities of a pandemic. But even with the deck stacked against it, Halifax Pride knows how badly we need its annual dose of joy and community. Here, in the run-up to Pride's 2021 event this August, its organizers are giving a glimpse behind the curtain of how the summer staple is overcoming everything to bring Halifax the rainbow with this, a diary series. Below is the first entry:



July, 7th, 2021

Fiona Kerr, Operations & Communications Manager


Every single day last week was consumed by trying to get the newest version of our Pride Guide to the printer, so we started off this week with a staff and board retreat. The point was to eliminate the stress of the office to help us work on full-day run sheets for every festival event, but I had just gotten my second vaccine dose and was confined to a bed for most of it. The work got done as I shivered uncontrollably elsewhere. The rest of the week was spent tying up loose ends on the operations side of my job: Sending our new safety plan off to high-ups at the province to get their input, sourcing an industrial-sized light so we don’t have to work in the dark on site on the long days, getting our first liquor order in over two years submitted, and navigating a permit with a form that had no indication of where to submit it. I put three stamps on it and hoped for the best with the address someone gave me.


Time and work feel a bit weird right now because in a normal year we would be entering the final stages of planning (and stressing) before the festival, but instead we still have over a month, so it feels like we can relax a bit—but we can’t, because COVID is constantly threatening to change our plans. I seem to always be thinking about how other Prides around the world had made promises early in the year to deliver festivals and events, and had to backtrack as restrictions never lightened up. The fact that we’re in a position now to offer the scale of events we’re trying to almost shocks me, so I hope the community will be as happy as we are to offer spaces to gather again.


About The Author

Morgan Mullin

Morgan is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she writes about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She’s been with The Coast since 2016.

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