Tucson's Pride in the Desert

By Megan Wadding, Oct. 9, 2014.

For 37 years, Tucson’s Pride in the Desert has served as a celebration of diversity, community and family. Year after year the festival continues to grow — both the event itself as well as attendance and participation — and 2014 is no exception.

Tempest DuJour (top photo) and Sandra Valls will co-emcee the festival stage at this year’s Tucson Pride in the Desert. Courtesy photo.

According to April Moss, Tucson Pride president, the festival continues to add more exhibitors and vendors each year. And, as a result, she hopes to see even more attendees than previous years.

“We have people from Phoenix coming down, people from Bisbee coming up, and also people from San Diego, San Bernardino and Las Vegas,” Moss said.

A Family Affair 

Always in search of ways to improve upon the previous year, Moss explained a top priority this year is to make the event more family-friendly, with a big focus on improving the children’s activity area.

“We had a pretty good deal with our kids area last year, but we’re working on making that better,” said Moss. “Last year we had a rock-climbing wall, but there was a height requirement, [so] the kids kind of got left out [of that].”


As more and more attendees are bringing their families to Pride these days, Moss said Pride is taking its cue and aiming to becoming more of a family event.

“Tucson Pride is working on [what we hope] to be a very special ‘Family Area’, one that goes back to Tucson Pride’s first years,” said Moss. “This year we’re trying to make sure it’s [an area where] both the kids and the adults can enjoy the activities.”

The Festival Stage

Comedienne Sandra Valls and Arizona’s own Tempest DuJour will co-emcee the event from the festival stage. Meanwhile DJ Amy Alderman and DJ JST will be behind the turntables.

The entertainment will also include headliners Jason Walker, a soul/pop/house singer based in New York City and Shadina, a hip-hop/R&B singer originally from Baltimore.

“We’ve got some good entertainment lined up,” Moss said. “[Walker] has a big hit with Taylor Dayne’s ‘Tell It to My Heart’. His stage presence will bring excitement and an upbeat flair.”

Singer Jason Walker. Photo by Wilson Models. Courtesy photo.

Walker, who’s making his first appearance in Arizona, said he’s “super excited” about playing at the festival.

“I’m going to do a bunch of the songs that I’ve made over the past ten years,” he said. “The cover of ‘Tell It to My Heart’ will definitely be the mix.”

Walker maintains that his musical style spans many genres, so there will be something for everyone when he takes the stage.


“I love house music, I love club music. I don’t like to get tied down to one genre,” he said. “[Singing] has always been something that I’ve wanted to do; it’s been the only thing.”

Walker said his vocal inspirations include Patti LaBelle, Chaka Chan, Whitney Houston, Prince and Madonna, but credits Kristine W with teaching him how to sing.

“The music business has changed so much … I feel like the world as a whole is getting better, but there are still some hurdles that we face. There’s still a certain stigma. But at the same time, I think that barriers are breaking down little by little.

Walker has spent the past three years recording his forthcoming album, which he describes as “all live instrumentation, it’s all original, and it’s all old-school sounding.” 

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