Organizers for Oakland First Fridays — the 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.
In a statement published on its website, the organization said that there were several factors leading to the decision to cancel the fest Nov. 2. However, "the driving reason is the violence which occurred after the most recent [First Friday]," it said.
In the early-morning hours of Saturday, October 6, a shooting occurred nearby that injured five, including the gunmen. While First Friday had shut down for the night three hours before and the shooting occurred "several blocks from our footprint," organizers say "safety is something we take very, very seriously."
During its hiatus, the team said it plans to review its safety polices and procedures internally as well as with the Oakland Police Department and area businesses, and address concerns raised by some participants, local businesses and city officials. Additionally, the group plans to increase its community partnerships, increase enforcement of the open-containers ban and identify ways to increase safety in general.
In the longer term, the organization noted that it aims to potentially partner with the business improvement districts in Jack London Square and Temescal.
First Fridays didn't confirm exactly when its monthly events will return, but stated that the city will host a yet-to-be-scheduled town hall meeting to gather input from the community. The team also confirmed that this cancelation will not impact the citywide Oakland Art Murmur, scheduled to take place Nov. 2.
"Oakland First Fridays belongs to everyone in Oakland, and we want to hear from you," added the organizers. You can contact Oakland First Fridays at event AT oaklandfirstfridays DOT org.
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