BELLEVILLE, Ill. - Metro East Pride of Southwestern Illinois (MEPSI), organizers of the annual Metro East PrideFest, announced on Feb. 11 that out country music artist and The Voice semi-finalist Kristen Merlin will headline its 10th anniversary pride celebration in downtown Belleville on Saturday, June 10 at 6 p.m.
Cultivated from childhood, Merlin's musical talents earned her a spot on the NBC Emmy Award-winning song-fest, The Voice. Following her audition of Sugarland’s “Something More,” and some lively debate between coaches Adam Levine and Shakira, Merlin joined Team Shakira and became a powerhouse female staple during the reality show's sixth season. Merlin, who finished 4th overall on The Voice, is now making her debut with original music. Her EP, Boomerang, is now available.
"MEPSI is extremely excited to celebrate our 10th anniversary on June 10th with an amazing festival that will be one to remember," said MEPSI president, Sarah Sowell. "MEPSI has grown over the years and having Kristen Merlin headline this year is just one example."
"We have an amazing community that supports us and allows us to keep getting bigger and better," Sowell continued. "Without them none of this would be possible."
Metro East Pride was founded in 2008 with the vision of marrying the festive LGBT Pride celebration with Main Street U.S.A. While the annual event has grown substantially over the years, it still retains the intimate feel of the smaller town celebration and has proven a draw for LGBT revelers from both sides of the river.
The 2017 Metro East PrideFest will be held on Saturday, June 10, 2017 from noon til 10 p.m. in downtown Belleville on West Main (in the shadow of the city's historic fountain) between 1st and 3rd streets.