we’re back!

In celebration of Poetry Month and Earth Day, we’re putting the focus on the lyrical beauty of our world. Art is Life, and Life is Art! We’ll have poetry on the 24th Street Stage, art all around, and we'll also be bringing in some of the lineup from our rained-out Black Expressions festival.
As always, Oakland First Fridays is free (though donations are always welcome), and fun for the whole family. Come join Oakland's premiere event celebrating our arts, culture and community!

a moment of silence at 7:00pm


An accomplished musician studying jazz at USC, the son of Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney was killed in a robbery in Los Angeles on March 10. Lynette is a longtime supporter of Oakland First Fridays and a tireless advocate against the gun violence that plagues Oakland and America. Our hearts go out to her and her family in the wake of this tragedy. At 7:00pm, Oakland First Fridays will observe a moment of silence in memory of Victor and all other victims of the gun violence that plagues Oakland and America; and several of our performers will be doing special commemorations.

ENTERTAINMEnt highlights

5:30-8:30pm on 23rd and Telegraph
Robert Vargas is a visual artist known for his large-scale murals in Los Angeles and around the world. His work has attracted the attention of celebrities from Goldie Hawn to Snoop Dogg Robert’s taking a break from his current project, a 14-story mural that will be the largest ever painted by a single person, to do large-scale portraiture by our Tiki Lounge.

5:00-8:30pm at 25th and Telegraph
TURF dancing started in Oakland and TURFinc is on a mission to spread the culture and give urban youth a powerful and positive form of expression. It creates a safe and positive showcase for dancers to share their stories and skills to a broad audience. TURFinc and Oakland First Fridays go way back, and they always put on a great show.

6:00-8:30pm, on Telegraph by the main entrance at W. Grand
Soulbeatz Oakland has been a positive light in the East Bay for years. They create community through dancing and drumming, sharing drums with everyone from master drummers to children. All are welcome and it's fun for everyone.

5:30-8:30pm, Sycamore Street East of Telegraph
Rob Skate started the Rob Skate Academy ten years ago to provide safe spaces for young people to build confidence and promote mindfulness through skateboarding. Rob and his team will provide free open skate lessons at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30; Skateboard, blade and scooter demos at 6:00, 7:00 and 8:00, and a not-to-be-missed Grand Finale Show at 8:15.


5:00-8:30pm on 25th Street, west side of Telegraph
Curb Service began playing on the streetcorners of Oakland, and are known for building a natural rapport with audiences in any setting. They feature Rob Woods as lead vocalist, Drummerboy Aaron on percussion, Kevin Freeman on sax and David Chapman curating and documenting. Music lovers love Curb Service!

5:00-8:30pm, Telegraph just below 27th Street
Bay Area native Ron Matthews plays funky and classy originals, R&B neo soul, smooth jazz, top 40, dance and lite rock on keyboards, vocals, vocoder and flute. He’s a one-man band with the full sounds of a six-piece ensemble.


Greg Harris (The Taz) and Phillip Wilson (CM) Crowd Motivator have run When In Need MC/DJ Services for more than thirty years. They’ll be bringing their passion for bringing music, fun and creativity to the 24th Street Stage all evening long.

Greg Harris has been a DJ since 1987 working around the world with legends such as Whodini, Snoop Dogg, Kid-N-Play, The Whispers, The O’ Jays, The Temptations, Chaka Khan, Sinbad, Mark Curry, Michael Culyer, and Damon Williams.

Gregory F Harris, III or Tre as his friends call him, has been blessed with the gift of music but ultimately, he understands that it’s the Word of God that will bring about salvation and not music itself. Greg is currently enrolled in the Christian Leadership Program at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. 

Marisha Murphy resides in Oakland, California. She is a singer, songwriter, and poet. Continually inspired by the things around her, no subject is off limit, no culture is uninteresting, and no soul is unworthy of being saved. Currently working on her second project, you can find her first EP on SoundCloud entitled Rebel With A Cause.

Kimball Hooker is a seasoned singer and entertainer with a global following. He wrote and produced "Steppin Out”. It has gained the most attention with a line dance created by Patricia Lowe. Kimball’s music can be found on Spotify.

Leila Mottley is the 2018 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, an ambassador for literacy, arts, and youth expression. She is a 16-year old native Oakland author who uses poetry as protest and believes in pushing the boundaries of comfortability to make change.

Providing raw Rhythm And Poetry this urban city kid grew up & is making way across the country. In his music you will hear much passion, knowledge, & excitement while giving his genuine but distinct sound. Unafraid his presence will spark the fire within yourself leaving you motivated, happy, & anxious for more!

At 7:00pm we will ask all attendees to observe a moment of silence in memory of Victor McElhaney, and all victims of gun violence.

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An active member of Hip Hop For Change, Ricky is a singer, rapper and musician who attends Oakland School for the Arts. His latest single Don't Stop shot in Oakland encourages young people to keep following their dreams and never give up. 

Just good classic hip hop none of that non sense real hip hop I'm D'Wyze of THE BUMS.

And closing out the show will be Nzuri Soul, a Bay Area powerhouse singer/songwriter who brings electrifying stage presence, personality, and a whole lot of soul the moment she steps on stage.

Please note, our permit specifies amplified music must end at 8:30…so that’s when the show has to end.


23rd Street west of Telegraph
Featuring Cheat Day with special guest Grlgod

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On top of the libations served up by Oakland First Fridays' 23rd Street bistro, Cheat Day will spin tunes for dancing and socializing. They'll feature new and emerging music curated by members Joogmac, Dasboots, Salty Sherilyn, Jon Reyes, Lil Thow Wow and Druskee. Cheat Day aims to fill a gap that most nights and clubs miss with a well-rounded experience and high caliber DJ'ing.
Oakland-based guest DJ grlgod is has a deep love for electronic music and the ways it channels energy on the dance floor. grlgod has opened for Ana Sia, LUNY and others, playfully sampling music and blending sounds for the purpose of celebration and dance. For more information contact

Photo by Eva Gibea

Photo by Eva Gibea

a big thank-you to our sponsors
for helping make the magic happen!


welcome to the oakff team!


Frida Fonn Rod hails from Norway, and is doing a semester abroad at UC Berkeley through the Berkeley International Study Program as she pursues a Master of Science degree in Innovation and Technology Management. She’s joined us as an intern to bolster our volunteer recruitment.


Marisa Madrigal is our new social media intern, bringing some amazing chops to our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.



To keep this event alive we need to keep the peace and clear the streets after shutdown, both in our footprint and the surrounding area.

  • Drinking alcohol inside of the event is prohibited except for the Tiki Garden area on 23rd Street, and inside the many bars in the event footprint.

  • Municipal codes on alcohol and illegal vending will be enforced during and after the event.

  • Riding bikes/scooters/skates/skateboards is not allowed because it endangers other eventgoers. Please walk your bikes and scooters and carry your skates and skateboard inside the event. Violators are subject to citation.

  • Parking can be scarce on First Fridays! Consider ridesharing, BARToractransit.

  • Tag us in your photos! #oaklandfirstfridays

  • Interested in vending, performing or volunteering?

  • For information on post-event activities, visit

see you on friday, april 5, 2019, from 5:00-9:00pm
telegraph avenue between West grand and 27th street