Neverland, the Chicago-based dance producer renown for its elaborate themes and production, is celebrating its fourth anniversary this year with its biggest Chicago Pride event ever. NEVERLAND PRIDE 2016 will take place Friday, June 24th through Sunday, June 26th with three spectacular events including the main event, Saturday night’s “The Lost Boys” at Metro. Pre-sale tickets, including $95 weekend passes to all three events (a $35 savings), are available now at www.neverlandpride.com.
“It’s our four year anniversary and we’re finally doing a Neverland-themed Neverland,” proclaims Anthony DiFiore, Neverland’s founder and Creative Director. “Our parties are always a tribute to big imagination, so for this year’s Chicago Pride, our production team is building extravagant Peter Pan and Hook elements to the main stage. Instead of traditional sets, we’re producing the night as more of a storyline with dancers and performers dressed as the famous characters.
“All the weekend’s events will be even more theatrical than ever before,” he promises.
NEVERLAND PRIDE launches Friday, June 24th at 11pm with a special edition of GayGlow at Charlie’s spun by NANDO, one of the most energetic and happening DJs on today’s national club scene. The fun continues Saturday at 11pm when NEVERLAND presents “The Lost Boys” at Metro, a two-story concert hall that boasts one of the finest stages in Chicago. It will be a surreal night of character-driven fantasy featuring a massive set. Barcelona-based DJ Ivan Gomez will man the decks alongside Chicago’s own Alexis-R.
Wrapping the weekend will be the Sunday night Closing Party at Mid, headlined by International superstar DJ Paulo. Paulo will present a dark and visceral production amidst one of Chicago’s most powerful sound systems. Opening DJs Sean O’Hara and TVG will start the night at 10pm with Paulo taking over until 4am.
The first NEVERLAND took place July 2012. Billed as a costume party with club music, it was kind of like Halloween in the middle of the summer. “We were an instant hit with the young crowd,” remembers DiFiore. In order to create a big dance party brand, he needed everyone to come. “Guys in their late 30s and 40s would tell me they were too old for a costume party.”
In 2013, NEVERLAND introduced themes to the events, along with more elaborate production. At “Walt Disney is Dead”, Brazil’s DJ Ana Paula dressed up as Maleficent while she was spinning. For the “Ratchet Ball”, producers brought in a graffiti artist from Michigan to create graffiti on large canvases hanging from the walls of Hydrate Nightclub.
Soon, every group was represented, from muscle guys to hipsters to drag queens and more. “Today’s Neverland is like a Studio 54-style party,” says DiFiore.
Last year’s Pride party was a “Bougie Ball”. Producers went all out with the theme, from putting fake rolls of hundred dollar bills as toilet paper in the bathrooms, to firing off fake money as confetti during Sasha Colby’s performance of “Bitch Better Have My Money”. Giant gold birdcages flanked the stage with gogo dancers wearing three-foot long lion headdresses.
“What sets our team apart is that many of our artists don’t even go to big dance parties. They’re a set designer who cares deeply about what the set is going to look like, or a costume designer who is developing their own label and is working with Neverland to showcase their talents.”
Even the crowd gets in on the act, with many of the attendees arriving in full costume. “Revelers are always welcome to wear whatever they want,” says DiFiore. “Some will come in simple jeans and tees, and that’s fine! I’m excited to see lot of Pans, Hooks and of course, Tinkerbells.”
For tickets and additional information, visit www.neverlandpride.com. Pre-sale tickets, including $95 weekend passes to all three events (a $35 savings), are available now.