Paula Cole Set to Headline Charlotte Pride Festival in August

Baby Tate, Bob the Drag Queen and Slayyter will also perform on main stage

a headshot of Gramm award winner, singer-songwriter Paula Cole
Paula Cole is set to headline Charlotte Pride Festival 2024. (Promotional photo)

Kicking off Pride Month in fashion, Charlotte Pride on June 1 unveiled the headliner for its upcoming 2024 Charlotte Pride Festival Weekend, scheduled for Aug. 17-18. Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Paula Cole will close things out on the main stage in Uptown on Sunday, Aug. 18.  

The organization also announced a slate of other performers that have been added to the lineup for the August celebration, including country pianist and singer/songwriter Reyna Roberts and Charlotte-based alt-rockers Modern Alibi, a band that Queen City Nerve profiled in January.

Read more: Alt-Rockers Modern Alibi Store Memories in the Grooves 

Cole, who first gained attention as a vocalist on Peter Gabriel’s 1993-94 Secret World Tour, won Best New Artist award at the 1997 Grammy Awards. The award was in recognition of her 1997 album This Fire, which reached No. 20 on the Billboard 200 and has sold over 2 million copies over time. 

Also a producer, Cole was the first woman nominated for a Producer of the Year Grammy that same year for her work on This Fire

Though later albums did not reach the levels of popularity that This Fire did, Cole is seen as a trailblazer as the first woman to receive major acclaim for an album she produced herself. After taking a hiatus from music between 1999-2006 to raise her child, Cole resumed making music, releasing the jazz-influenced album Courage in 2007 and returning to her folk-rock roots with 2010’s Ithaca.  

Throughout her career, Cole has remained vocal in her social commentary. 

Her Grammy-nominated song “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?,” the lead single from This Fire, was a commentary on gender stereotypes. She has also made other songs criticizing America’s involvement in the Iraq War and our country’s historic use of slavery to build wealth. 

She covered Marvin Gaye’s song “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” in support of planetary health on her 2019 album Revolution. The track “Silent” on the same album is about her experience of being sexually assaulted early in her career and her refusal to continue to be silent about the experience.

Cole has collaborated with other music legends including Peter Gabriel, Dolly Parton, and Herbie Hancock, with an influence that extends across genres and generations.

Modern Alibi and Reyna Roberts are set to perform on the main stage on Saturday, Aug. 17, followed by headlining acts including rapper and singer Baby Tate, Bob the Drag Queen, and electropop singer/songwriter Slayyter. 

Drag queen Tora Himan will perform alongside DJ Ghost both Saturday and Sunday.

A rising country artist, Roberts was featured on “Blackbiird,” a track off Beyonce’s 2023 Cowboy Carter album, and impressed judges on the May 28 premiere of America’s Got Talent with a performance of “Raised Right.” 

a portrait of Baby Tate, an American rapper and singer holding a bouquet of balloons
Baby Tate is set to headline Charlotte Pride Festival on Saturday, August 17. (Promotional photo)

Baby Tate, previously known as Yung Baby Tate, toured with Charli XCX on her 2022 tour and has collaborated with artists like 2 Chainz, Flo Milli, 21 Savage and JID. She most recently released her EP Baby Tate Presents – Sexploration: The Musical in October 2023.

Other notable performers include Bob the Drag Queen, who won the eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Slayyyter, the popular electropop artist. 

On June 1, Charlotte Pride held a community audition for 10 acts at Divine Barrel Brewing. The three winners — Maggie Lowe, Katalina, and Camden Kawaii — will now perform earlier in the day on Saturday.

“We are beyond excited to bring such a diverse and talented group of performers to the Charlotte Pride Main Stage this year,” said Meredith Thompson, managing director of Charlotte Pride, in a release on June 1. “From the iconic Paula Cole to Reyna Roberts and local talents like Modern Alibi, this lineup embodies the spirit and diversity of our community. We can’t wait to celebrate with everyone in August.”

Charlotte’s first pride event was in 2001 and garnered around 2,000 attendees; in 2022, it welcomed a record 275,000 people. Admission is entirely free, and attendees are encouraged to donate to help continue the event, which will feature a parade, vendor fair and other activities.

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