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BEQ Today

Empowering and Celebrating Women at The Dinah

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By Jessie Wagoner

The largest girl party music festival in the world – The Dinah – is ready to rock for the 28th year. Created by Mariah Hanson under her Club Skirts Marquis, The Dinah begins March 28 in Palm Springs, California and includes five days of music, celebration, unity and living out loud.

Each year 15,000 plus LGBTQ women and allies descend on Palm Springs to experience The Dinah. Music, including some of the hottest up and coming artists, comedy shows, pool parties and more make for a fun-filled and inspiring experience.

“We try to create a messaging that says, ‘it is all about the highest possible experience you can have and you can have that here,’” Hanson said. “When you get to The Dinah, we all belong here, you all belong together, sharing a common voice. It happens here. Whatever your mindset is when you get here, it is changed by the time you leave. It’s powerful and inspiring.”

Empowerment

The Dinah serves as an empowering platform for women to recharge and leave inspired to go home and effect change. From the beginning, The Dinah has been a platform for Hanson’s commitment to raising the visibility of women in all fields, to champion female voices.

The Dinah founder Mariah Hanson / credit: ILDK Media

The Dinah founder Mariah Hanson / credit: ILDK Media

Hanson says the country is at a critical point. It is time for all people with awareness and integrity to be active in politics today. The Dinah empowers attendees to live out loud during the event and when they return home.

By removing “isms”, The Dinah empowers and calls attendees to action.

“We don’t buy into isms,” Hanson said. “We buy into one world, one people. We buy into a very powerful, inspiring voice that says ‘this life can be anything you want it to be’. You have to believe in yourself. It starts inward and then it’s a ripple effect.”

After experiencing five days of diversity, high energy and empowerment, attendees are ready to take what they have gained home with them.

“We want them to leave thinking they just spent five days with a broad reach and diversity of people and had the most amazing experience of their life, so bring that home with you,” Hanson said. “Live that every day of your life because it is possible. If we can do it here, we can do it anywhere.”

Evolution

Over the course of 28 years, The Dinah and Hanson herself have changed. The event has always been focused on inclusion, empowerment and great entertainment, but over time the event has matured.

“The work has taken on greater meaning for me,” Hanson said. “It’s not the work of a young person but a mature woman who sees I have a platform of influence. I can change lives and make one or two people feel like coming to The Dinah may have saved their lives or their marriage.”

Much of the evolution can be attributed to how Hanson has changed as a businesswoman and her experiences over the last several decades. Encountering homophobia, sexism and exclusion have only strengthened Hanson’s resolve to maintain her business integrity.

One instance, in particular, taught Hanson a valuable lesson. Hanson is committed to personal and professional ethics and integrity. A hotel in Palm Springs didn’t share Hanson’s views of inclusion, so she made the decision to no longer do business with the organization and took her dollars elsewhere.

“It was a wakeup call for me that we need to be really conscious of who we are doing business with and what their politics are,” Hanson said. “I don’t want to give money to any organization that does not speak to equality, diversity and opportunity for all. The message there is we need to be very, very conscious of our dollars and how we are spending them. I will not work out of any hotel or with any vendor out of convenience or opportunity if it means that my ethics are compromised.”

Economic Impact

Palm Springs enjoys a perfect score on the Municipal Equality Index for 2017 published by Human Rights Campaign. According to HRC President Chad Griffin, “Today, the MEI serves as a vital tool for business leaders and municipal officials alike when it comes to economic development.”

Musicians Tegan & Sara performed at The Dinah in 2014 / credit: Connie Kurtew

Musicians Tegan & Sara performed at The Dinah in 2014 / credit: Connie Kurtew

What happens when 15,000 LGBTQ women and allies fill Palm Springs for five days? The Palm Springs community gets an economic charge. The economic impact of The Dinah on the city is undeniable. Host hotel rooms at Hilton Hotel and Spa, The Courtyard by Marriott, Hyatt Palm Springs and Renaissance Palm Springs book out months in advance.

Downtown restaurants, within walking distance of the event, are filled to the brim with attendees looking for a bite to eat. Shops are primed to sell souvenirs and items for people to take home to remember their trip to Palm Springs.

With people traveling to Palm Springs from all over the world to attend, The Dinah’s economic impact can’t be overlooked.

“We are considered a legacy event in Palm Springs,” Hanson said. “We are one of ten events in Palm Springs that are personally handled by the President of the Convention & Visitors Bureau because we are so important to the city. So, the city has been very positive towards this event, our customers and our mission.”

Still time

There’s still time to get tickets for The Dinah and check the largest girl party music festival off your bucket list.

“Tickets are on sale online until March 25 at www.thedinah.com and available at the door,” Hanson said. “We have one of the most exciting lineups that I have booked in years. The Dinah is famous for booking the next big thing in music; every now and then we actually get two. I really think we have done that this year. Even if you’re just coming for the music, you’re going to have an incredible experience because these are some top-notch performers.”

Business Equality Pride (BEQPride) is the first publication from the BEQ family of national print and digital magazines exclusively addressing the needs of LGBTQ small-to-medium sized businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals.