Civic Center love may be lost for popular event

The annual Lovevolution dance-music festival that draws about 90,000 people to San Francisco could be forced to cancel the event due to safety concerns.

The seventh annual Lovevolution, described as a dance-music parade and festival, was to occur in the Civic Center Plaza, the event location for the previous six years. But, that location is now off-limits as concerns about public safety reached new heights with the growing popularity of the festival, a rash of violence associated with San Francisco entertainment events this summer, and a similar event in Germany last month resulting in 21 deaths and 500 injuries. 

Organizers remain in talks with city officials in hopes of coming to an agreement on an alternative site in time for the Oct. 2 event. The event fills hotel rooms and brings business to local restaurants, and there are numerous affiliated after-parties with well-known DJs at entertainment venues throughout The City.

Lovevolution event manager John Wood said the organizers thought the Civic Center location was manageable with some changes, such as less promotion and an entry of more than the $10 charged last year. After last month’s incident in Germany, however, they agreed to seek an alternative site.

Now, organizers want The City to allow the event to occur in the parking lot of Candlestick Park, according to Wood. In subsequent years, they hope to find a more suitable location, such as Golden Gate Park.

Supporters of the event are displeased by the decision.

“It’s a great sadness that the Lovevolution has decided it can’t be in the Civic Center,” Barry Taranto, a former taxicab driver, said at an Entertainment Commission meeting Tuesday. “Why can’t we just extend the boundaries? I cannot think of a better place. It’s not going to have problems like Germany.”

In past years, there was a parade along Market Street that ended in the Civic Center area, where techno music and dancing continued throughout the day. If The City approves the alternative sight at Candlestick, there would be no parade, Wood said.

The Mayor’s Office said it wants to be supportive of the event, but needs to balance the safety needs of attendees.

“We can’t be too careful,” Newsom spokesman Tony Winnicker said. “We have that responsibility.”

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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