Gay-owned event production company Denver Max is bringing HTX PRIDE Weekend back to Houston June 23–26. Owners Marti Frieson, 32, and Miguel Vargas, 38, say the multi-day, multi-venue event will be the biggest one yet and will finally give LGBTQ Houston the Pride nightlife events it deserves.
“We have four different venues this year. One is Bauhaus Houston, which we consider our ‘home base’ here in Houston because of our regularly occurring events there. The second venue is POST, and we’re going to be the first producers to host an LGBTQ party there. The architecture is incredible. You have to see it for yourself. Next, Rise Rooftop—a huge venue above downtown with a multimillion dollar retractable roof. And finally, Sunset Houston, another rooftop with the best views of the city. The name speaks for itself,” Frieson says.
Both men have a lot of experience producing events like this. Vargas used to work with huge names in the Latin music industry like Kumbia Kings and Alicia Villarreal’s Grupo Límite. Frieson started out DJing and fell in love with the industry. Both were inspired to cultivate their talents and help grow Houston’s nightlife scene.
“Being involved in the nightlife and enjoying going out in other cities while traveling, we felt as though Houston had a lot more potential. We saw that all the other major cities like New York, Atlanta, and San Francisco had very successful full Pride weekends with circuit/electronic-based music. We thought that we could take Houston to that level,” says Vargas.
The duo learned a lot from their 2021 Pride-weekend event, which should help them make 2022 even more special. “We spent the years leading up to our first full Houston Pride weekend in 2021 working with the newest venues and cultivating relationships with the talent as well as with our patrons. We listened, and felt like we delivered a Pride celebration our city deserved. We learned a lot from that, so this year we’re turning things up a notch,” says Frieson.
“HTX Pride Weekend 2022 will be our largest production to date! We’ve selected the best international DJ/producers on the scene right now. We are flying in hot professional dancers. And the cherry on top is that we are collaborating with two of the biggest party brands in the world, Papa and WE Party, to assist us in delivering a weekend that people won’t forget—both for Houstonians and the hundreds of visitors we’re expecting from around the nation,” says Vargas.
Denver Max has been producing events since its inception in 2017 here in Houston. They have expanded across the Americas, producing events in Houston, Mexico, and most recently in Rio de Janeiro for Carnival.
“We regularly collaborate with our partners all over the U.S. and Mexico, so I don’t see what’s stopping us from going anywhere else on the globe. But we will never forget that Houston is our home and will always be our main focus,” says Frieson.
The men also believe that giving back to the LGBTQ community is an important part of Denver Max’s mission, which is why they plan to bring HTX PRIDE back again in 2023.
“As gay men, we wanted to provide an environment for us and our peers where we can dance, have fun, and sing to the music the way that we want to. We are proud to be working with venues that accept and embrace our guests,” Frieson notes. “We’re proud to have the most diverse set of team members, and talent that encompasses the full spectrum of the LGBTQ community. This is what’s important to us, and PRIDE is the epitome of that. Everyone is always welcome—gay, straight, girls, guys, drags. None of that matters as long as you come to dance, meet new people, and enjoy your life.”
More info on social-media platforms @DNVRMX.
What: Denver Max’s HTX PRIDE Weekend
When: June 23–26
Where: Bauhaus Houston, POST, Rise Rooftop, and Sunset Houston
This article appears in the June 2022 edition of OutSmart magazine.