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Paula Abdul is opening LA Pride with a free concert

LA Pride
Photograph: Wain Tan

Pop veteran Paula Abdul is kicking off this year’s LA Pride Festival with a free outdoor performance on Friday, June 7. The Grammy Award-winning singer joins fellow headliners Meghan Trainor, Years & Years and a growing lineup of LGBTQ and allied artists billed for the three-day festival in West Hollywood Park.

Christopher Street West, the nonprofit that produces the annual LA Pride Festival & Parade, announced Abdul’s performance as part of LA Pride’s first official opening ceremony, marking the return of a free Friday night program for the first time since 2016.

The ceremony, which kicks off at 6pm, will also include “welcoming remarks from a diverse mix of community and spiritual leaders and advocates for the LGBTQ+ community,” according to CSW, as well as the WeHo Vogue Ball & Drag Show and local DJ sets.

Aside from scattered security checkpoints, the event will be completely open to the public and free of charge.

While the opening ceremony and parade are free to watch, the ticketed festival on Saturday and Sunday costs $30 for a day (VIP $250) or $50 for the weekend (VIP $450). Wristbands are on sale now, but those who want free admission can work a four-hour volunteer shift in exchange for single-day tickets to the festival.

Abdul, who wrapped her first solo tour in 25 years in December, will stage a one-hour performance of choreography-heavy songs like “Straight Up,” “Opposites Attract” and “Cold Hearted.”

“Throughout the course of my career, the LGBTQ+ community has stood behind me, and I’m honored to now have the opportunity to show my support and gratitude by performing at this year’s opening ceremony,” Abdul said in a statement. “I’m hoping the night will be a chance for all generations of the community to come together to celebrate one another and the work that has been done.”

News of her LA Pride concert dropped as the 56-year-old singer-choreographer gears up for a return to television during the Billboard Music Awards this Wednesday, where she’ll close out the show with her greatest hits during the ceremony’s annual throwback moment.