Wigstock Drag Festival Makes Triumphant New York Return

The day-long counter culture dragstravaganza Wigstock, hosted by legendary Lady Bunny, returned to the city after a decade away

Drag queen Lady Bunny and actor Neil Patrick Harris on the Wigstock stage with the New York skyline in the background.

Last Saturday saw the long awaited return of the camptacular Wigstock festival to New York. With more than a decade since the hair raising hairfest last hit the Big Apple, husbands Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka teamed up with original festival founder Lady Bunny to relaunch the whacky wig filled celebration.

Although drag has always been huge in the city, the ever escalating success of RuPaul’s Drag Race showed there was a hunger for the defunct festival.

Harris told reporters “We are trying to create a big, giant tossed salad of drag fun. And I don’t know what fan of drag doesn’t like a big tossed salad!”

There were a host of Drag Race alumni including Bianca Del Rio, Alaska, Peppermint, Willam, Bob the Drag Queen and Jinx.

Neil Patrick Harris performed as Hedwig, the character created by John Cameron Mitchell for Hedwig And The Angry Inch, a role which Harris took to Broadway.

Living legends of the US queer scene Amanda Lepore, Justin Vivian Bond, Lypsinka and Sherry Vine took over the stage during the eight hour celebration, entertaining the raucous crowd.

The original Wigstock took place in 1984 when a group of drag queens decided to throw an impromptu outdoor performance in front of an audience of homeless people. Lady Bunny told the New York Post: “I thought New York drag was reaching a zenith and could reach a bigger audience than the 250 people that would fit in Pyramid Club.”


The first “official” Wigstock was a year later in the same park. “We had no advertising budget. There were Xeroxed posters — remember Xerox?” said Bunny. Although barely holding itself together, the day was a huge hit, inspiring the creators to keep the fun going on an annual basis.

As the years went by the festival’s success fluctuated before disappearing, but organisers are hoping this latest iteration will be just the beginning of a whole new life for the event.

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