About Harvey Milk Festival

Who we are and what we're about

The Harvey Milk Festival features a variety of attractions including live music, film, performing and visual artists, speakers, and vendors designed to engage a large and diverse audience. Harvey Milk Festival, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization and contributions are tax deductible.


Our Mission

The mission of the Harvey Milk Festival is to honor the life of Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay Americans elected to public office, by fostering emerging talent in musicians and artists who support diversity and reject discrimination, and to promote equality for LGBTQ people through supporting equal rights legislation.


Board of Directors:

Shannon Fortner, President (shannon@harveymilkfestival.com)
Ed Midler, Secretary (ed@harveymilkfestival.com)
Andrew Ensign, Board of Director (andrew@harveymilkfestival.com)


We Are Harvey Milk

The Harvey Milk Festival is supported entirely by volunteers, sponsors, donations, advertising, and concessions. We are growing every day. Please get involved and become part of the movement.

Admission is free on Saturday. Donations are welcomed and greatly appreciated.


Supporting Each Other

The Harvey Milk Festival supports the mission of ALSO Out Youth to end all forms of violence, harassment and discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. ALSO Out Youth’s mission is to enhance self-esteem, promote healthy dialogue, and increase awareness of sexual minority issues. For more information, visit www.ALSOYouth.org .


HMF Team:

Shannon Fortner, Executive Director & Founder
Shannon has always felt a special connection with political icon Harvey Milk, who has inspired her activism in the human & civil rights movement, and driven her to use her passion in the arts as a catalyst for change in her hometown community of Sarasota. In 2009, Shannon organized The Equal Civil Rights Rally and began to fight for equality both on a state and federal level. One year later she founded The Harvey Milk Festival after California announced the declaration of Harvey Milk Day in April of 2010 to honor one of  our country’s first openly gay politicians. Shannon has built The Harvey Milk Festival from the ground up and continues to diligently expand the organization’s impact  and community involvement every year. As Creative Director and President, Shannon develops and manages, along with the HMF Board of Directors, every facet of the festival with grace and vigor.


Megan Constance Swick,  Art & Theatre Director, Grant Writer

A Florida native, Megan has been living in Miami for the past 12 years and has recently returned home to reside in Sarasota with her son, Bernard. She is overjoyed to be serving as Chair on our Development Committee and is very dedicated to her work in arts management and to HMF.

Prior to her move to Sarasota, she worked with Filmgate Interactive Festival, Florida Dance Festival, Miami Light Project, Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, Colony Theatre, Byron Carlyle Theatre, and Florida Dance Association in non-profit arts development and management positions. She also served as Co-Director and Curator for Studio 1415, a multi-media performing arts studio in North Miami. Megan studied at The Nonprofit Institute at Miami Dade College and also pursued an education in the arts, earning her BFA in Dance at Florida International University.

As an artist, she has received commissions and residencies from institutions, including Florida International University, Miami Beach Botanical Garden / Sleepless Nights, and Anchor Arts Management. Her work has been shown at American College Dance Festival, Florida Dance Festival, Miami Beach Cinemateque, Multiversal Miami, OCinema, Hangar Gallery, Erotic Art Fair, Wernheim Performing Arts Center, Excello, Little Haiti Cultural Center, Sleepless Night Miami Beach, Spiegelworld, New World School of the Arts Theatre, Art Basel Miami and the National LGBTQ Task Force Winter Party Festival. She has produced several evening-length choreographic works including Haram (2007), The Flour & The Flow Theory (2008), Smoke & Mirrors (2009), Pollinate Me (2011), and one film, Danse Du Ventre (2010).

Megan looks forward to working with HMF for years to come, and helping the festival grow and flourish in our community.


Anthony Paull, PR/Public Relations

Anthony Paull is a writer/journalist/filmmaker from Sarasota, Florida. His debut novel ‘Outtakes of a Walking Mistake’ was an NPR finalist for Best Young Adult Novel Ever. He’s written for several LGBTQ and alternative press news sources and is currently working on his third novel.

Turner C. Moore, Site Coordinator

Bailey Bee, Merchandise Committee

Claire Franklin, Stage Manager

Eddie Midler,  Vendor & Volunteer Coordinator

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