LovEvolution parade heads to Oakland after San Francisco locations nixed 

San Francisco has lost its well-attended LovEvolution celebration to Oakland after city leaders and event organizers butted heads last year.

LovEvolution began eight years ago and grew to about 100,000 attendees in 2009. It kicked off with a parade along Market Street culminating in an electronic dance celebration in the Civic Center Plaza, which lasted for hours.

But last year, The City pulled the plug on the colorful party’s Civic Center location. The event’s growing popularity, a rash of violence associated with nightlife in San Francisco last year and a similar event in Germany resulting in 21 deaths was too much for City Hall.

That left event organizers scrambling to find another site that could work. None materialized in time and what was to be the seventh annual event was canceled, much to the dismay of faithful attendees.  

LovEvolution event organizer John Wood said serious talks with city officials about holding the Sept. 24 event in San Francisco this year never materialized. Wood said they initially considered Golden Gate Park’s Polo Fields, but crossed it off the list for being too cold along with challenges of transportation.  Candlestick Park and the Giants’ AT&T Park also were explored.

But in the end, Oakland’s Oracle Arena and the surrounding grounds easily won out — better weather, transit is accessible, can easily accommodate large crowds, and attendees certainly wouldn’t be more of a challenge to handle than Raiders fans.

“Trust us that we’d like nothing better than to be dancing down Market Street and into Civic Center plaza again in San Francisco too,” a message on the event’s website said. “Those were amazing times and if you were there you witnessed party history that is not likely to be again.”

Other San Francisco events also have come under pressure in recent years to discourage rowdy behavior. The annual Halloween party in the Castro district was eliminated after swelling to a size The City said it could no longer manage. The annual Zazzle Bay to Breakers race instituted new restrictions to curb rampant drinking and nudity.

“I’m really sad about losing LovEvolution,” said Audrey Joseph, an event producer who sits on The City’s Entertainment Commission. “We should be a city that is pumping 24/7, because that’s what cities do.”

Joseph said the event catered to a younger audience between 18 and 35 years old.

“We lose a particular group of people who might not otherwise come here and use Muni, use taxis, use our restaurants,” she said.


Crowd control

San Francisco’s fun large-scale events have become big concerns.

  • 2011: Union Street Fair bans booze after 35 years, upon SFPD request
  • 2010: LovEvolution is canceled after public safety concerns raised
  • 2009: Zazzle Bay to Breakers begins to tighten rules on annual race to curb drinking, nudity
  • 2007: Halloween in Castro officially canceled after violence at previous celebrations
  • 2007: Organizers of the Haight Street Fair discontinue alcohol  
  • 2006: North Beach Festival restricts alcohol sales and places to drink

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