Pump House provides ‘safe and welcoming’ environment for LGBTQIA+ Community

Weekly pride nights are now held on Mondays at 8 p.m. at the Pump house. PHOTO CREDIT: Mandy Koskela | Contributing Reporter

Pump House Music Works in South Kingstown has started hosting weekly Pride Nights. Pride Nights will take place every Monday starting at 8 p.m. and serve as a full bar and dancing venue to those interested. 

The decision came from owner Dan Collins, who aims to create an open and welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ members or others who want to celebrate Pride.

“Pump House Music Works since its inception has been completely all-inclusive to everyone,” Collins said. “We want people to know that.”

The venue is hoping to open up a kitchen to attract more locals and visitors to enjoy live music, drinks, and friends. On Mondays, Pump House hosts a scheduled “Uke Jam!” session for ukulele players from 6 to 8 p.m; Pride Night begins right after. 

On March 13, intended musical guest DJ JSkiff couldn’t make it to the event, but Pride Night still ran smoothly with a full bar and room for dancing to 80’s tunes on the speakers.

Collins’ mother, Cynthia Gifford, and her partner Bonnie Wolfe attended on March 13, the second week the event was hosted. 

“[It’s a] more available place for people to come and dance,” Gifford said. “It’s great because there’s so much of the opposite [to Pride Night] going on, this is a wonderful opportunity for people to enjoy each other. This is what it’s about, this is what music is about.”

Wakefield resident Tess Chiappone expressed her excitement for the Pump House holding an event such as this. 

“If I want to reach out to my community I feel like I have to go to a major city such as Providence,” Chiappone said. “So, I was like ‘holy s**t! There’s a pride event in Wakefield! I’m totally gonna go.’”

Chiappone felt as though the Pump House was offering an event that is not seen in Wakefield very often. Besides Providence, Chiappone and other Pride Night attendees find it more difficult to find local LGBTQ+ clubs or events.

“My queer identity is super important to me,” Chiappone said. “Because I live in a white, mostly-straight community, it’s somewhat dimmed.”

Chiappone attended the event with two friends, Annabelle O’Neill and Jack Broomfield. O’Neill enjoyed the room’s atmosphere and sat in the booth seats to catch up with her friends.

“I thought it would be a nice place to vibe and reconnect,” said O’Neill. “For me, it’s more about reconnecting with [Chiappone] and reconnecting with [Broomfield]. That’s what this means to me tonight.” 

Pump House offered a cozy evening to Fran Klensch and her partner who wished to remain anonymous. For the pair, the atmosphere at the Pump House allowed them to feel comfortable in showing affection. 

“Anything ‘Pride’ that’s close to home,” Klensch said. “There are no gay bars down here. It could be a little more open.” 

Bartender Isabelle Lefrancois hopes the event will pick up more locals as the season progresses into summer. Lefrancois affirmed that the March 13 event was a “quiet night,” as there was an ongoing rainstorm that made driving at night more intimidating. 

Even as the rainstorm continued through the night, Pump House Music Works still served as a warm and welcoming bar for those looking to celebrate Pride.

“To have these events, it’s like a safe space,” Chiappone said. “Where you can go and be yourself…to be your full persona.” 

Pride Night will remain a free event on Monday evenings at 8 p.m. and will continue to serve the community as a safe and welcoming space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.