October 29, 2018
As you are probably aware, Oakland First Fridays recently announced the cancellation of our November event in response to a shooting which occurred several hours after the October festival. This was not an easy decision to make, as it impacts our community, our vendors, and the festival itself (which relies heavily on vendor funding to continue).
Although the violence occurred three hours after our 9pm shutdown and several blocks away from our footprint, it's something we take very, very seriously. We are proud to have managed First Fridays as a safe and fun event since 2013 and it is our intention to continue this singular celebration of Oakland's arts, culture and diversity. But this incident is a reminder that we have come a long way from the small, spontaneous street festival that started at Oakland and 23rd more than a decade ago. Like most American cities, Oakland is no stranger to gun violence and answers are hard to come by, particularly in the current political climate. But that is no reason not to try.
After discussions with vendors, participants, city officials, Oakland police and others we concluded that it is best to take this break, to review everything we are doing and everything we can do to keep Oakland First Fridays going as an only-in-Oakland event that brings our diverse and talented community together. We are interested in hearing everyone's ideas and opinions, via email or at a community meeting the city will be hosting from 6-8pm on November 8th (we will announce the location on oaklandfirstfridays.org as soon as it is secured).
In the meantime we thank you for your patience and your support.