East Bay Music Festival

As mentioned in the previous post, I went to the East Bay Music Festival with Abhinaya last Saturday. The festival was located near Lake Merritt and the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center in downtown Oakland, amidst many residential and commercial buildings. The festival was home to local bands and Bay Area food trucks and start-up food businesses. Here is what the festival looked like:

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While I was checking out the food trucks and food stalls, Abhinaya informed me that there is an ongoing movement in Oakland to re-open the Kaiser Convention Center. According to a Facebook group supporting the movement, “since 2005, this nearly hundred-year-old gem has been sitting on Mothballs, doing nothing. Not serving the community, not hosting cultural events, and being basically ignored by the City of Oakland in favor of glitzier theaters downtown.”

The City of Oakland transferred the building into the hands of the redevelopment agency before Governor Brown eliminated funding for all redevelopment agencies back in 2011. Here is what the building looks like right now:

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View of one of the entrances to the gated building.
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Side View of the building.

Abhinaya bought some iced coffee and some apricot donut holes from the Red Bay Coffee stall while we were there. I spoke to the owner of the business, Keba, about his experience at the festival. He was having a good time, and told me a little bit about his kick starter campaign to build a coffee shop out of a shipping container. Abhinaya and I sat down afterwards and tried the donut holes, which were pretty delicious. You can learn more about his business here.

The festival made Oakland feel like home on my first day back in the Bay Area. There was a sense of community culture among people and the locally grown businesses. It would be exciting to see free community events like these happened more often in Downtown Los Angeles to encourage the same kind of culture. If anyone knows of some, please share in the comments below.

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