About Oakland First Fridays
Oakland First Fridays is an immersive art and community experience on the first Friday of each month from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Telegraph Avenue from West Grand to 27th Street. Oakland's KONO District springs to life with for this event, with galleries, artist collectives, street artists, local culinary artisans, performers, musicians, dancers, DJ’s, and poets gathering for Oakland First Friday events.
Thousands of people come from across the Bay Area and beyond to see and experience art, be inspired, eat great food, enjoy live music, and stroll through the amazing, eclectic city of Oakland. An economic impact report shows that the Oakland First Fridays has a major, positive economic impact on the KONO community.
Oakland First Fridays’ is produced by the Koreatown Oakland Community Benefit District (KONO), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Mission & Vision
To preserve Oakland First Fridays as an all inclusive, safe and vital community-driven platform to showcase the emerging artists, makers, gourmet food vendors, musicians, cypher circles (dance battles, spoken word), drumming circles, acrobats, magicians, and many uniquely talented street performers and their audience.
We strive to be the premier Oakland First Fridays Event as the epicenter for the community to come together to celebrate, sustain & support the arts.
In 2006, a collective of art gallery owners now known as Art Murmur, created-a-once a month art gallery walk which included “The 23rd Street Fair” organized by the Rock Paper Scissors collective. This fair exploded into what is now Oakland First Fridays: the most renowned art, music, food and cultural community event in the Bay Area. In 2013, the KONO Oakland Community Benefit District assumed responsibility for producing the event each month.
Frequently Asked Questions
When and where is it?
Oakland First Fridays happens on the first Friday of each month, from 5pm - 9:00pm, on Telegraph Avenue between West Grand and 27th Street. If rain is in the forecast, we make the decision on whether to postpone the Wednesday before, and announce it on our newsletter and Facebook page.
Is there an entrance fee?
Oakland First Fridays is free and open to the public! But we rely on community support to keep our festival alive! You can make a donation online here, or at our festival entrance on West Grand & Telegraph Avenue.
What happens there?
Oakland First Fridays hosts a wide array of artists, performer and food vendors, bringing together all that is great about Oakland. Each month has a theme, with family-friendly programming for all. The event highlights are posted to this site and in our monthly newsletter!
Our festival is wheelchair accessible and family friendly. People of all ages are welcome to attend. Our events bring over 30,000 attendees, so expect large crowds, and amplified sound from our multiple stage and performance areas. There are Porta Potties available on 23rd St, 24th St, 25th St and 26th St. For exact locations, check out our festival map here.
Are pets allowed?
They are but it is not recommended. Our festival is crowded and has amplified music and is not a thing most dogs are going to enjoy. If you bring a dog it must be on a leash and under control at all times.
What’s the best way to get there?
We recommend taking public transportation to Oakland First Fridays. The 19th Street BART station is just a few blocks away. The 12 (Grand Ave. & MacArthur Blvd.), 51A (Broadway), and 6 (Telegraph Ave.) AC Transit buses also come right to the KONO District. On weekdays and weekend evenings, the free Broadway shuttle runs every 12-15 minutes up and down Broadway from 26th to Jack London.
Can I drive to it?
Parking is always a challenge in downtown Oakland and it can be very hard to find on a First Friday. Limited street parking is available in the surrounding area, as well as several parking garages. Leaving valuables in your car is not recommended.
Is drinking allowed?
Per Oakland law, open alcohol containers are forbidden at the event except at our KONO Lounge on Sycamore and within local licensed establishments. Violators are subject to citation and/or removal from the festival. Local stores will not provide bags with alcohol purchases during First Fridays.
Our ability to put on this festival depends on people obeying the law. Please drink responsibly!
How do I become a vendor?
We welcome artists, craftspeople, DIYers and food artisans to share and sell their work with the community! You can apply here.
Can I just show up to sell my stuff?
Our vendor space usually sells out in advance of the festival, if there is space available the day of we will try to accomodate you. All vendors must pay for their space (these fees pay for the cost of putting the event on).
All vendors must have required permits from the City of Oakland (more about those in the Participation FAQs).
Any vendor who shows up without registering in our system will be removed from the event and risks citation from Oakland Police.
How do I perform there?
We are always looking for new and emerging talent to perform at Oakland First Fridays! For more info and to apply, visit here.
How do I become a sponsor?
Oakland First Fridays is the most well-attended event in the Bay area, touting an audience of 30,000+ at each festival, as well as lots of local press coverage. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, we’d love to work with you! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
How do I become a volunteer?
Volunteering is a great opportunity for you to connect with your community, work as a member of a team, meet new people, and gain references for future employment or academic advancement. You’ll also get free food and a t-shirt for volunteering. We have in-office and day-of-event volunteer positions. For more information, visit: http://oaklandfirstfridays.org/volunteer/ or check out our volunteer orientation video!
How do I report a crime?
Community safety at our events is very important to us. We partner with the Oakland Police Department to provide safety and security patrols within and around the festival. To report a crime, you may speak with an Oakland Police Officer, security staff, visit the security tent at our festival entrance, or notify an Oakland First Friday staff member (identifiable by our bright orange vests). We advise guests to not leave any valuables in your car or visible from outside your vehicle.
What to do after the Festival?
Our festival ends at 9:00 pm and we need to clear the streets as quickly as possible so our vendors can pack up and go home. But, there’s plenty to do in Oakland on a Friday night. Visit the “Afterwards” page on our web site for information on events in KONO and all over town.
Oakland Art Murmur (OAM) focuses on promoting the awareness, visibility, understanding, and vibrancy of visual art in our wonderful city. OAM strives to increase access to, and participation in, abounding rich and diverse local visual art experiences for the residents of Oakland, the Greater Bay Area, and visitors to our community.
OAM’s aim is to aggregate information and to be a resource concerning Oakland’s visual arts for the public and the broader arts community.
OAM’s programs include the First Friday Art Walk, The Saturday Stroll and Guided Walking Tours.
Visit Oakland Art Murmur’s website to learn more.
Oakland First Fridays is one of a diminishing number of economical venues for local artists to sell their wares, and a foodies’ dream! Come join our festival.
We’re a project of the nonprofit KONO Community Benefit District, and rely on vendor fees sponsorships and donations to keep the magic happening!
Our event and social media platforms reach tens of thousands of people across the East Bay. See how we can help you promote your business.