LakeFest Oakland At Lake Merritt A Reborn Success Thanks To BBQ Becky

LakeFest Oakland was an attempt to restore the fun brought to the neighborhood, and in particular Adams Point, by the great event of the 1990s Festival At The Lake. The big difference between and Festival At The Lake is the former was just one day, and the latter was three days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Still, and maybe because of that one day limit, , centered at the Sail Boat House, was a massive success.

The idea of was not widely known, and certainly not picked up by the media in the form of a preview story. Then, Jennifer Schulte decided that she didn’t like to see black folks having fun by barbecuing at the Lake, convinced herself that her concern was the use of a charcoal grill, when it really was just plain racism at the level of mental illness, and called the Police on them.

The result was a kind of re-awakening of what ’s supposed to be about. A almost primal cry and desire to wipe away those racists who would seek to use law enforcement as a tool to demonstrate their hate, and just by having a damn good time. It was “BBQ Becky’s” hate that, via , was channeled to a successful and well-attended, giant party.

had fantastic musical, town bisiness talent featuring live performances by Alphabet Soup, DJ Cecil, Rumbache, Ajai Kasim with Future Trio, JAX, Sambafunk with Funkternal, Heat Dance Line, Young, Gifted & Black, and Sistah Iminah.

But most of all, as the video shows, it had many, many Oaklanders just plain hanging out at the Lake and talking, dacing, eating, drinking, singing, and resting. Lakefest, was a great success, and because it seemed to spring up because of BBQ Becky, it’s easy to think this is the first time, ever, it happened. But the reality is LakeFest was done before, and it was a block-long street festival on Lakeshore Avenue in 2009, and it was created by . Here’s my video from that event on August 1, 2009:

During that time, Events, Helen’s event company, produced LakeFest. But eventually, she landed a position with Community Bank of The Bay, and Events, folded, as did LakeFest. How that LakeFest became today’s LakeFest is not known, but the event formula is exactly the same: sign up local hip talent, have booths for local food and retain venders, and use a place located around in . Beyond that, the difference is that Helen’s LakeFest of 2009 was planned , and this one’s in 2018 was planned and produced what is said to be a group of residents, but the real leader is a man who’s name is Travelle in my video.

But both have been great successes.

But is there a connection between the two? Did the 2018 LakeFest planners happen to know about 2009 LakeFest and desire to revive it? Did Helen know and give her help and blessing? Or was it a simple accident of association – a coincidence?

Whatever the answer, it’s plainly clear that the formula established by Wyman 10 years ago, and itself a kinda of off-shoot of the 90s Festival At The Lake, works, and is needed now more than ever in Oakland.

Stay tuned

LakeFest Event Oakland Lake Merritt Saturday A Success
LakeFest Event Oakland Lake Merritt Saturday A Success

LakeFest Event Oakland Lake Merritt Saturday A Success

Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media

About the Author

Zennie Abraham
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media

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