Hot Summer Guide 2019: Get Outside in the East Bay this Summer

Hundreds of black Oaklanders and their supporters came to "BBQ'n While Black" at Lake Merritt on May 20 following a white woman's racially charged police complaint. (Kevin Allen)

East Bay residents seize the summertime to bring culture into the streets and parks, showcasing music, dance and film outdoors in city centers and outlying neighborhoods alike. The events below offer opportunities for entertainment and education rooted in the cultural and even ecological history of the region. Many of these picks are free and family-friendly, and all but one take place outdoors.

The Pointer Sisters headline the 2018 edition of Art + Soul.
The Pointer Sisters headline the 2018 edition of Art + Soul. (Courtesy Pointer Sisters)

Art + Soul

July 27—28
Downtown Oakland
More information

Art + Soul brings the spirit of Oakland to the heart of the city, with vendors, dancers and musicians sprawling throughout downtown. This year, the city-sponsored festival is headlined by artists yet to be announced. Other stages feature lineups themed around blues, gospel, salsa music and the kinetic or circus arts. As usual, there’s ample family-friendly programming in store, and tickets start at a modest $12 for adults.

John Benson performs with his milk-covered drum at Garden of Memory in 2016.
John Benson performs with his milk-covered drum at Garden of Memory in 2016. (Kristin Shaw)

Garden of Memory

June 21
Chapel of the Chimes, Oakland
More information

This one's indoors, but there's plenty of greenery and natural light. On the longest day of the year, the regal, naturally-lit Chapel of the Chimes columbarium erupts with sound as dozens of musicians perform simultaneously for a roaming audience at Garden of Memory. The annual event, which started in 1996, features small chamber groups, solo experimentalists and other ensembles expertly drawn from the local music scene, and culminates with a participatory bell-ringing ceremony to mark the solstice at sunset.

Mistah F.A.B. and Kenzie Smith at Hiero Day 2018.
Mistah F.A.B. and Kenzie Smith at Hiero Day 2018. (Estefany Gonzalez)

Hiero Day

Sept. 2
Jack London District, Oakland
More information

The lineup and exact location of this year’s Hiero Day is still to be determined, but the annual Labor Day music festival has become one of the foremost hip-hop events in Oakland. Local rap group Hieroglyphics founded the festival (tickets cost $19.93, a nod to Souls of Mischief’s "‘93 Til Infinity"), and it reliably boasts an impressive lineup of golden-age headliners and emerging locals. Last year featured artists including The Roots’ Black Thought, Mannie Fresh, Guapdad4000, DJ Fresh and Traxamillion, and the festival spread across several blocks in the Jack London District of Oakland. Tickets generally sell out long before the lineup is confirmed.

Sponsored

John Waters at Burger Boogaloo 2015.
John Waters at Burger Boogaloo 2015. (Wild About You Photography)

Burger Boogaloo

July 6—7
Mosswood Park, Oakland
More Information

During the first weekend of July, the Burger Boogaloo turns a disused concrete amphitheater in the corner of Mosswood Park into a riot of color of sound. The music festival, a partnership between Total Trash Productions and Southern California label Burger Records, celebrates the campiness of punk and garage rock, and it’s fittingly hosted by the filmmaker John Waters—a sort of spiritual advisor and patron saint to the scene. Its tenth annual edition will draw thousands to Oakland’s Temescal district for first-wave punk acts such as the Dead Boys, newer groups Sheer Mag and Shannon & the Clams and headliner the Jesus & Mary Chain.

DJ Twelvz spins at Lake Merrit for "BBQ'n While Black," a celebration of African-American culture sparked by a white woman's widely lampooned police complaint.
DJ Twelvz spins at Lake Merrit for "BBQ'n While Black," a celebration of African-American culture sparked by a white woman's widely lampooned police complaint.

BBQin' While Black at Lake Merritt

July 21
Lake Merritt, Oakland
More information

One afternoon last April, a white woman harassed two black men for grilling at Lake Merritt, and proceeded to call the Oakland Police Department. Cell-phone footage of the incident immortalized the woman online as “#BBQBecky,” and prompted a discussion about race and access to public space amid gentrification in Oakland. It also prompted black Oaklanders to double down on the perceived offense by continuing to grill, week in and week out, at Lake Merritt. This year there’s a fundraiser to support more of the same, on an even grander scale.

Port of Oakland, from the Oakland estuary.
Port of Oakland, from the Oakland estuary. (Dan Brekke/KQED)

Waterfront Tours

May 17—August 10

The story of the Oakland waterfront is one of environmental degradation, intercontinental commerce, real-estate squabbles and even armed conflict. Soon, the waterfront will also be a part of the story of the Oakland A’s, when the baseball team erects a new stadium at Howard Terminal. This summer there are two ways to explore the waterfront by boat: Free harbor tours sponsored by the Port of Oakland on a Blue & Gold Fleet vessel, and $45 tours organized by local historian Liam O’Donoghue of the East Bay Yesterday podcast. Tickets for the latter tour, which launches on an Emeryville fishing boat, are mostly sold out, so check for additional dates.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2016; Aerial view from the UC Berkeley Campus.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2016; Aerial view from the UC Berkeley Campus. (Courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro)

Outdoor Rock 'n' Roll Film Screenings at Berkeley Art Museum

June 13—August 8
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives, Berkeley
More information

Since reopening in downtown Berkeley, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive has organized a free, outdoor summer cinema series on its massive LED screen at the corner of Addison and Oxford streets. This year, as part of a broader rock 'n' roll-themed film program, the museum is screening several classics: Stop Making Sense, the 1984 Talking Heads concert film by Jonathan Demme; a British Invasion double-feature of A Hard Day’s Night and Charlie is My Darling; and a Bay Area counterculture pairing of Monterey Pop and Jimi Plays Berkeley. A pop-up stand operated by Babette, the BAMPFA cafe, will offer moviegoers refreshments.

A young lady rides a horse, as a member of the Black Cowboys chaperones her, at a Juneteenth festival in East Oakland.
A young lady rides a horse, as a member of the Black Cowboys chaperones her, at a Juneteenth festival in East Oakland. (Pendarvis Harshaw)

Juneteenth in Berkeley and Richmond

June 15—16
Alcatraz-Adeline corridor in Berkeley and Nicholl Park in Richmond

On June 19, 1865, a regiment of Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War was over, and slavery was officially abolished in the United States. Today the event is marked in cities nationwide by Juneteenth, a celebration of black culture and heritage. Berkeley’s festival, which launched in 1987, brings first-rate performers and food, along with historical exhibits and health screenings, to the Alcatraz-Adeline corridor for free. One day earlier in Richmond, meanwhile, a parade orbits the family-friendly festival in Nicholl Park.

Sponsored

Volume
KQED Live
Live Stream
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
Live Stream information currently unavailable.
Share
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
KQED Live

Live Stream

Live Stream information currently unavailable.