Oakland decides to cancel November’s First Friday event



Police officers secured the perimeters surrounding Oakland Art Murmur on Friday, Oct. 5 in hopes of keeping “The Town” safe.

By Rigoberto Vergara, CONTRIBUTOR

Oakland’s First Fridays organizers have canceled the street festival that was set to occur on November 2, following a shooting that left five injured during the after hours of October’s event.
First Fridays is a street festival that is held on the first Friday of each month in the Koreatown-Northgate (KONO) district in Downtown Oakland.
At 12:10 a.m., only a few hours after the event ended on Oct. 5, a shooting broke loose that injured five people within a few blocks from First Fridays’ location near Williams St. and Telegraph Ave.
Due to this act of violence, First Fridays organizers decided to cancel November’s event as announced in a statement on their website.
“There are several reasons for this,” said event organizers. “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.”

“At 12:10 a.m., only a few hours after the event ended on October 5, a shooting broke loose…”

The event has grown exponentially since its beginning as an art gallery walk in 2006 and has become what it is today: a food, music, and art festival that attracts as many as 30,000 people.
Among last event’s crowd was Stephanie Leal who has been attending First Fridays since she moved from Chico State to the Bay Area two years ago.
“I love going to First Fridays, my co-workers and I go pretty much every month, it has become somewhat of a tradition,” Leal told the Pioneer, “I’m glad it [the shooting] wasn’t during the actual festival since there are usually a lot of families around.”
With the cancellation of November’s event, First Fridays organizers plan to use the time to better prepare for future events.
“We plan to increase our community partnerships and engagements, review our security procedures with Oakland police, city officials and businesses in the surrounding area, and step up enforcement of the open-containers ban at the event.” stated First Fridays website.
Even though First Fridays will be cancelled in November, the Oakland Art Murmur will still be opening their galleries, as scheduled, to the public. Oakland Art Murmur started in 2006 as an art gallery walk that now includes more than 50 galleries across Oakland.