Unity Fest 2023 Photo Recap

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, hosted the first ever Unity Fest. The queer trans festival brought freaks and geeks from across the world for four days of memorable mischief. On the menu we had: Unity shop hangs, jams with the adidas and THERE teams, live shows by queer icons Cher Strauberry and Marie De Courcy, Shag’s pro surprise party, Maité’s fake part release, art sessions and finally a BBQ hangout at the GaySkate7 HQ that surely healed a few traumas. The festival—a brainchild of Jeffrey Cheung and Gabriel Ramirez—was a queer trans utopia exceeding all expectations. Scroll through to get a glimpse at the life-altering experience where community, love, and acceptance prevailed in the fruitiest, cuntiest ways. —Emanuele Barbier

Photos by Norma Ibarra and Diego Sarmento

Day1 1The four-day fest kicked off at the Unity/Lower Grand Radio shop on Thursday night

Day1 2Welcome to the best weekend of your life!

Day1 3Everyone stared in awe at the tower of pizza while sampling the free beers

Day1 4Feast your eyes on queer trans skate History

Day2 5Gui Silva took full advantage of the art station and riso printer

Day2 1Day two started at Waller. Think I overheard some locals say it’s the busiest it had ever been. Marie De Courcy comes in hot with a nosegrind 180 out

Day2 2Gui Silva popped off with a kickflip over the center pad

Day2 3Blunt stink bug by the combo queen, Marbie, during the cash-for-tricks jam on the QP

Day2 4“Happy Unity Fest from our family to yours” —THE GOATYS

Day2 5Every event needs a handful of eastern Canadians who invite you over and try to convince you the winter isn’t that bad

Day2 6The adidas team was going off. Vitória Mendonça, halfcab crooked grind 180 out

Day2 7The pro-to-be Shag closed us out with a steezy kickflip 5-0 on the ledge

Day2 8Product toss?! Nah, it’s a free raffle and a group photo to wrap up this wonderfully chaotic session

Day2 9A master of his craft, Jeff inked the team before the big show at Club Waziema

Day2 103, 2, 1…

Day2 11Congrats, Shag! THERE Skateboards' newest pro!

Day2 12Hearts were full; smiles were bright. Shag’s pro graphic was done by Rewina Beshue

Day2 13Clearly whoever said two mountains can’t meet has never been in a room with Jim Thiebaud and Jessie Van Roechoudt

Day2 14Proudly serving, the soldiers of love ate and left no crumbs

Day3 1On day three, we all made the pilgrimage to the slappy Mecca, Rockridge. Beatrice Domond gets the first frontside grind

Day3 2No secret to these curbs for ex-local Jessie Van, slappy crooks

Day3 3Kien, flyin' Mach 10 over the trusty Element flatbar

Day3 5Zoom-in on the faces to get an immersive fan experience of Chandler Burton’s ollie

Day3 6We all held our breaths watching the weekend’s MVP, J’vonte Johnson dump truck into the bank

Day3 7Wait, what's this?!

Day3 8One of us, one of us!

Day3 9Back to classic Unity shenanigans, people went to town and screenprinted some masterpieces

Day3 10Is it really a skate fest if you don’t have someone tattooing in the back of a car? Thanks for the ink, Sam

Day3 11Unity Fest 1, we were there. Now onto the show

Day3 12Openers for the night, Evensplit, rocked so hard they blew up the amp!

Day3 13All eyes on Big Freak and the captivating performance

Day3 14Wifey and Cher Strauberry elevate an already perfect night

Day3 15Dream team in the pit

Day3 16Surprise guests Ryan and Ish closed the show. It was lit!

Day4 1The GaySkate7 HQ was smoking hot on our final day—physically and metaphorically

Day4 2Final touch for the makeover of the GS7’s mini. She looked fabulous

Day4 3Belgian royalty, Maité Steenhoudt, shows off her new colorway on some hot lines

Day4 4The whole afternoon felt like a dream

Day4 5Special appearance by the homeowner, frontside pivot to fakie

Day4 6Sam was deep in the zone on this last round of tattoos. If you didn’t get yours, there's always next year. Or just hit 'em up

Day4 7The most boosted bean plant goes to Vi. That's all for the weekend. Thank you, Unity, THERE and everyone who showed up
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