First Friday’s are on hiatus after shooting causes major safety concerns with the city of Oakland.
Organizers for Oakland’s First Fridays—the wildly popular art, food and music festival that brings nearly 30,000 revelers to the town each month—announced that it is canceling its scheduled November event.
The individuals-in-charge noted that, “there are several reasons for this. But the driving reason is the violence which occurred after the most recent event, when two people shooting at each other injured five (including themselves). Although this happened three hours after Oakland First Fridays shut down and several blocks from our footprint, safety is something we take very, very seriously.”
In the early-morning hours of Saturday, October 6, a shooting occurred nearby that injured five, including the gunmen.
The First Friday concept was introduced to Oakland in 2006 to make the city, small businesses, and community come together for one night of strengthening bonds between the residents and those who had businesses. This was known as The Art Murmur and “The 23rd Street Fair”. First Friday’s saw a rise in attendance over the months and began to increase by 10% monthly.
“Most Oaklanders understand that First Fridays belongs to all of us,” says the organizers, “and we all have a stake in keeping it a safe and welcome space. But there is always going to be bad behavior, and we need to make sure we are doing everything possible to keep our event safe from before it starts until after it ends.”
The president of the Koreatown Oakland, KONO (who fiscally sponsor the First Fridays), Joseph Jung put out a fairly generic list of reasons how KONO gets involved with making sure attendees are safe while attending. But for now, the First Friday for November is cancelled until further notice, “When we relaunch Oakland First Fridays, there will be new security procedures in place, but we’re committed to remaining the welcoming and inclusive event we have always been. And of course, our decision doesn't impact the citywide Oakland Art Murmur November 2, and there will be galleries and events all over town to explore.”
// Telegraph Ave. from W. Grand to 27th St. 5:00-9:00pm, every first Friday.
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