Unveiling the Woman Behind The Dinah: An Exclusive Interview with Mariah Hanson

Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to dive into the world of the one and only Mariah Hanson, the mastermind behind the iconic LGBTQ+ event and music festival, The Dinah. In this exclusive interview, we will uncover the woman behind the magic, the passion, and the fierce determination that has made The Dinah the largest and longest-running event of its kind for queer women worldwide.

Divine Magazine
Divine Magazine 13 Min Read

It’s not just a party; it’s a movement if you’ve ever been to The Dinah, the biggest and longest-running LGBTQ+ event and music festival for queer women worldwide. And leading this ground-breaking event is none other than Mariah Hanson, the creative creator and producer who has spent the last thirty years reshaping the gay women’s entertainment landscape.

Discovering what makes Mariah Hanson such a groundbreaking influence in the LGBTQ+ community, we dig into the lady behind The Dinah in an exclusive conversation. With The Dinah, Mariah Hanson has genuinely created an empire, having started off modestly with a one-night event at a Palm Springs museum and now booking opulent venues at upscale hotels for over 15,000 guests.

Katy Perry Uh Huh Her Mariah
Katy Perry, Uh Huh Her & Mariah Hanson

But Mariah is a visionary as much as a prosperous gay female businesswoman. Her instinctive ability to spot the next big thing in music has made The Dinah the preferred place for recording artists to make their debut. From Lady Gaga to Katy Perry, Iggy Azalea to Lizzo, The Dinah’s lineup is a who’s who of top-charting performers.

Mariah is a community leader in addition to throwing an amazing party. She takes a position on social and political problems impacting the LGBTQ+ community by using The Dinah as a platform in collaboration with groups including GLAAD, NoH8, and HRC. Not that her efforts have gone unappreciated; Mariah has received multiple accolades for her unafraid entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to changing the world.

The Dinah 2015 - 25th Anniversary! Promo

But Mariah’s close ties to the LGBTQ+ community are maybe what really distinguish her. She has over the past 33 years encapsulated the uniqueness and diversity of queer women, providing a secure environment in which they may unite and celebrate their identities. Mariah is certified in equine aided learning, which uses horses to aid in human healing, and she lives in Sonoma, California, when she’s not busy planning The Dinah.

More than simply the woman behind The Dinah, Mariah Hanson is a formidable figure and a real LGBTQ+ community pioneer. The Dinah will also remain the classic rite of passage for gay women globally as long as she is in charge.

Cara Delevingne with Mariah Hanson Dinah 2021 by ILDK Media
Cara Delevingne with Mariah Hanson. Dinah 2021 by ILDK Media

Dinah Shore weekend was started by you in 1991, and for many lesbians it has evolved into a type of rite of passage as well as a great five-day celebration. What inspired you to start The Dinah and how it’s evolved over the years

I have been a natural party promoter since I was 20. I threw the best parties in college.  It was natural to segue this talent into a profession. I wanted to create memorable events for my community, which I felt was underserved to begin with, especially the L of LGBT. Women tend to accept and settle for less, and I wanted to offer them much more in an effort to help change an unhealthy gender-specific paradigm. And I hope we have!

What made you choose to call it Dinah Shore?

The Nabisco Dinah Shore Golf Tournament took place at the same time back then, and many lesbians came to Palm Springs to watch the golf. What a great occasion to throw a party, I thought. 😉

Mariah on stage final ILDK

Who attends The Dinah?

Primarily queer women, non-binary and trans folks, and their friends.

Who has been your favorite of the many great performers at The Dinah, and why?

Jesse Reyes and Chaka Kahn. Jessie is a powerful, personal and passionate performer and songwriter. I like her edge. Chaka Khan is what legends are made of.

Often, lesbians deal with the problem of our areas eventually being occupied by guys. In what ways have you maintained Dinah as a mostly female event?

We focus and emphasize that the event is primarily for those who identify as female, but we have always been an inclusive event. Male friends, trans men, have been welcome. We expect ALL of our customers to remain respectful and open to the joy created at The Dinah. And in keeping with that intention, we have managed to create a place of joy where mostly women attend, but friends and allies are welcome.

Bebe Rexha Mariah Hanson By Steven George
Mariah Hanson & Bebe-Rexha. Photo Credit: Steven George

Favorite Dinah memory from the past?

Too many! But I love all those thousands of women poolside on Sat, wearing huge smiles!

What do you have in store for your attendees this year?

thedinah.com/events

What aspect of the occasion, this year’s Dinah, most excites you?

I love our line-up, and that we are expanding upon Celebrity Dodgeball to include corn hole and other games. But the music line up is one of our best.

Dinah Line Up 2024

The Dinah Present an All Queer Entertainment Lineup For Its 33rd Anniversary

Lauren Jauregui
Lauren Jauregui

Lauren Jauregui, Iniko, KiNG MALA, Lauren Sanderson, Lucy & La Mer and Sherrelle Holmes to Headline

The Dinah, the world’s largest event and music festival for queer women, is celebrating its 33rdAnniversary September 25th through the 29 th marking its lasting impact on both the LGBTQ+ community and the city of Palm Springs.

Once more, big names make The Dinah 2024 a must-attend queer party destination for everyone’s bucket list. Lauren Jauregui, Iniko, KiNG MALA, Lauren Sanderson, Whitney Peyton, Lucy & La Mer, and Sherrelle Holmes have been announced as headliners for the 33 rd edition of the world renown festival.

If the past two decades has seen The Dinah take a commanding place in the music festival market, it is all thanks to the event’s founder and producer, Mariah Hanson – the creative mind fueling the magic. 

Always keeping her finger on pulse of the music scene, Hanson has secured a stunning line-up featuring an impressive array of high-profile headlining acts and up-and-coming talent.

Celebrating the power of queer expression, these incredible vanguards are bringing their empowerment anthems and true self-revolution to The Dinah stage. And breaking boundaries is all these exceptionally gifted rule-breaking and genre-bending queer artists are set out to do. 

The iconic festival kicks off one of its main events, The Black and White Ball, with award-winning artist Lauren Jauregui. The multi-platinum Cuban American singer-songwriter and former member of girl group Fifth Harmony embraced her freedom of expression on her 2021 acclaimed independent debut, PRELUDE (AWAL). The pop star and LGBTQ+ activist has collaborated with the likes of Halsey and Steve Aoki to 6lack, Vic Mensa, Ty Dolla $ign and Russ. Her latest EP, IN BETWEEN is her sophomore effort which was recently released following a sold-out Latin American tour. 

NEW INIKO PRESS PHOTO

Adding to the pulsating and exhilarating fabric of The Dinah is multi-talented Brooklyn native, Iniko. who takes center stage at the Hollywood Party on Saturday night. As a proud non-binary artist, Iniko uses their music on behalf of the queer community. After rising to fame in 2018, they have amassed a huge following on TikTok, crossing the 4 million follower mark. Iniko’s songs “The King’s Affirmation” and “Jericho” achieved viral success, by reaching 1 over 25 million Spotify streams. That success led to a nomination for Outstanding Music Artist at the 2024 GLAAD Media Awards and a Billboard chart debut.  

Another highly anticipated headliner is KiNG MALA.  The LA-based alternative pop music artist, born Areli Castro, the is set to take the stage during the Saturday pool party. With masculine tropes and defiant lyricism KiNG MALA, whose name translates to “king bad bitch,” is on a mission to defy the rules of gender and to encourage her fans to embrace their individuality. And her latest EP,  Split Milk, which dropped last November, does just that! 

Also bringing glitz and glamour to the Dinah’s Hollywood Party is Lauren Sanderson.

The rule-breaking and genre-bending queer artist is making a lot of noise with her new anthem for self-love, “They Won’t Like This,” produced by KThrash, the lead single from her upcoming third studio album due out this summer. Since her 2020 debut album  Midwest Kids Can Make It Big, Sanderson has earned accolades from MTV, Billboard, PAPER, Spotify’s New Music Friday and more. Sanderson made a memorable sneak appearance during The Dinah 2022 joining queer icon Fletcher on stage and whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

From supporting acts like FINNEAS and Chase Atlantic, releasing her viral TikTok banger, “THERAPY!” and a massively successful collaboration with queer icon GFLIP, “GAY 4 ME,” to hitting the road on her 37-city world tour taking her through North America, Europe & the UK, Sanderson’s star continues to rise.

The Dinah pool parties is an experience that is second to none! 

The Margaritaville Resort’s main pool area, home to The Dinah’s legendary pool parties, is the perfect queer oasis with its massive pool deck and idyllic tropical surroundings.

Bringing the heat to the festivities, Whitney Peyton kicks off the pool party weekend-series Friday afternoon. The multi-Billboard-charting, Grammy Award Winning contributing rapper, songwriter, and performer rose to prominence in the underground by releasing 3 albums, 2 mixtapes & 4 EPs all independently. Her most recent independently released albums, ‘The Audacity’ and ‘Side Effects,’ achieved Billboard charting numbers. She has graced the main stage at major music festivals, including Pot of Gold alongside Post Malone, GOTJ opening for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, SxSW, and numerous Pride festivals. 

The Dinah has always been a festival that celebrates and promotes up-and-coming artists, and nothing exemplifies that ethos more than the Emerging Artist Contest.

“The Dinah’s musical line up strives to present the boldest and best in queer or queer friendly music, focusing on signed artists who are either breaking out or have achieved an impressive level of success,” says Mariah Hanson . “But so many unsigned artists wanted to play The Dinah. So, I developed the Emerging Artist Contest, which showcases unsigned artists and offers them a level of exposure that serves to both expand their fan base and expose them to a larger audience. It’s been a huge success.”

The contest, now a Dinah signature event, has shepherded the careers of many talents including Lucy & La Mer and Sherrelle Holmes who headline the Sunday pool party. Both queer artists participated in the Emerging Artist Contest in 2023 but their music videos were so well produced Hanson immediately pulled them out and officially added them to the 2024 festival bill.

The Dinah is far beyond a local event, it is a worldwide phenomenon that has seen its own community use the incomparable festival as the benchmark for all the others.

A unique invitation to revel in the sense of unity and community that permeates the event and embark on a journey into a world of empowerment and inclusivity where true selves are celebrated. 

Some things just need to be seen to be believed! 

There is simply nothing like The Dinah in the world.

For more information visit: www.TheDinah.com

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