Each year, Seattle's streets flood with people from every walk of life to celebrate gay pride weekend. There are the parades, the block-long lines out of every restaurant, and the colorful revelers everywhere you go. But no part of the celebration is as inspired as the annual, all-ages-inclusive alternative to Pride, the Bend-It Festival. The fest has been thrown each year since 2003 by the Bend-It Bandits, a collective of radical queer Seattle youth. This year's fest kicked off on Friday with a show on the sprawling lawn of Cal Anderson Park. The event was a delightful outdoor experience that raised the bar high for summer fun. Sunbathers, some in sparkling gold swimwear, lounged around to opening bands until local band My Parade got the crowd amped up with their high-energy dance punk. Featuring members of Bow + Arrow and Pillow Fight Fight, the recently formed five-piece had some high expectations to live up to and they more than delivered. The show was not nearly as crazy as Sunday afternoon's bear-riding, crowd-kissing performance by pop punkers Hunx and His Punx at the Funhouse (my first 21-plus concert), but this year's Bend-It was, without a doubt, the most empowering all-ages event I witnessed all weekend.

ALL-AGES CALENDAR

Fri July 3: One Be Lo, Spaceman, Yirim Seck, Jusmoni, DJ B-Girl at the Vera Project, 7:30 pm, $7 adv/$10 DOS

Fri July 3: The Benjamin Clocks; Courtney Marie Andrews; You, Me + Apollo; Whitney Ballen at KTUB, 7:30 pm, $6

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Sun July 5: Cap Lori, Spencer Moody, PWRFL Power, Lousewife at the Greenhouse, 8 pm, $5

Wed July 8: Shotty, Neil Gregerson, Gelatin Sundae at the Old Fire House Teen Center, 6:30 pm, free

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