This Saturday, the giant musical parade/festival, LovEvolution, returns on the other side of the Bay at its new home outside the Oakland coliseum/arena.
The event, which drew tens of thousands of people to San Francisco’s Civic Center the last year it was held in 2009. The ticketed, +18 event emerges at the new venue after organizers and San Francisco officials failed to find a suitable compromise for a location in the city in 2010. We spoke with Syd Gris, a well-known Bay Area DJ who is on the board of directors for LovEvolution about the latest incarnation of the parade, the move to Oakland and more.
How did you come to serve on the Board of Directors?
I was throwing benefits with Spundae for different charities back in 2002/2003 and was recommended to the board by Spundae Founder Guiv Naimi
What’s the biggest difference of LovEvolution now than when it started?
Well, we’ve certainly lived up to our name and evolved a lot over the years. We started as Love Parade in 2004, directly working with the Berlin founders, with a parade down the Embarcadero and festival in the streets around Pier 48. In 2005 we moved to Market Street and Civic Center plaza, In 2006 we became LoveFest, and in 2009 [we became] LovEvolution and maxed out the Civic Center site. We were unable to do the event in 2010 for a variety of reasons, and now it’s a whole new scene with the same intentions at our new site in Oakland.
What do you think had the biggest influence on this change?
We’re excited about bringing the event back and moving in a new direction. Of course, we’d love to be parading down Market Street into Civic Center again but it wasn’t an option. Like EDC’s move to Vegas and Monster Massive’s to Orange County this year, large EDM events have had to adapt to a challenging climate. Our move was more about the many perks of the new location more than anything else.
Why do you think the dance community has been seeing more and more negative feedback, with city politicians voicing their opinion as well?
A combination of factors. In many ways, we’ve been unfairly targeted because of some isolated incidents at large events. We can find tragedies and large number of medical transports in all kinds of mass gatherings, but the press is often eager to play up incidents at so called “raves.” That said, there is also the need for our community to self police itself and be responsible with our fun, in part because we are under so much scrutiny.
What cemented the decision to move the party to Oakland this year?
We looked at every available option, and the new coliseum location had everything we wanted to preserve the spirit of the event. A location we could have a parade, even if only in the event grounds, room for a similar number of community produced floats as before, an on-site After Party venue like the Oracle Arena, good weather, room to grow, and accessible by public transportation.
What does being part of the LovEvolution community mean to you?
This is a great question, because this event is so much more than just about eight hours of dancing outside. The entire youth and dance music culture has grown in the last few years in the United States to a level possibly never seen before.
We’re at the cusp of taking our awesome community to a higher level of infusion into pop culture in ways that can only benefit our collective values. The event exists to spread a message of peace, justice, unity, respect, and, of course, love. What other large event is so focused on that intention? Not many, not enough.
Certainly dance music culture with it’s history of PLUR is best suited to carry that. But we’re being pushed back and challenged in our right to peacefully assemble and dance. This event is a vehicle for the movement to stand up and be counted and show the skeptics we can get 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 people together in the shared beat of that universal vibe and have a problem-free, and fun-filled day and night. Standing up to be counted in this community is a great feeling and one of my favorite parts of the event.
Lastly, where can we see you this year at LovEvolution?
The Opel & Opulent Temple float, 6:00pm. Hope to see you on the dancefloor!
LovEvolution is noon-8pm at the Oakland Coliseum/Arena. Tickets are $25 in advance for attendees +18. An after party will be held immediately after the event inside Oracle Arena.