04 Oct Friends of the LA River Hosts First-Ever River Fest
RIVER FEST: A COMMUNITY FILM FESTIVAL CELEBRATING THE RIVER AND NEW TAKE ON FOLAR’S FALL FUNDRAISER
Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) hosted its first River Fest on Sunday, September 25, 2022 at Los Angeles State Historic Park. River Fest is a free community film festival celebrating the Los Angeles River, and a new, more equitable approach to FoLAR’s annual fall fundraiser.
River Fest welcomed over 550 attendees in its inaugural year and featured over 30 interactive booths from FoLAR and event partners, several raffles, local food trucks, a live DJ, prizes for attendees in zero-waste clothing, FoLAR’s 38-foot mobile education center, also known as the “River Rover”, a green carpet photo opportunity for all attendees, and a VIP area. The event’s land acknowledgment was led by Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians – Kizh Nation.
River Fest’s feature presentation was displayed on a 45-foot screen and featured short environmental films that highlight the LA River’s deep connection to art, environmental justice, and community health. FoLAR’s first beer in collaboration with Frogtown Brewery – “FoLAR’s Sun Glitter” – debuted at the event.
River Fest replaced FoLAR’s fall gala as a new community-centered, equitable approach to FoLAR’s annual fall fundraiser. General admission tickets for the event were free, and featured access to all of the event’s interactive booths and films.
“As a local non-profit, putting together a community event as large as River Fest is no small feat. But the enthusiasm that our LA community showed us in this inaugural year, and seeing so many different folks come together to learn about and celebrate the LA River’s connection to our collective wellbeing, made it clear that we need an event like River Fest,” said FoLAR CEO Candice Dickens-Russell.
At the end of the evening, Senator Anthony J. Portantino formally announced and presented Dickens-Russell and FoLAR staff with $150,000 in funding to FoLAR, approved for the 2022-2023 State Budget.
At approximately 8:30pm, a malfunction with the LA State Historic Park sprinkler system led to an early ending to River Fest at 8:45pm, 30 minutes before the scheduled time. The park has issued a statement on the malfunction:
“California State Parks would like to extend an apology for the unfortunate and unforeseen incident that occurred at the Friends of the LA River film event on September 25th. Though every effort is always made to ensure these incidents do not occur, a malfunction of the sprinkler timer system caused the water to be turned on. State Park maintenance staff is still investigating the malfunction, as well as alternatives, to prevent any future incidents. California State Parks looks forward to its continued relationship with Friends of the L.A River.“
River Fest 2022 was made possible through major supporters Amazon, REI, M2O, Bank of America, City of Long Beach, Lauren Bon and Metabolic Studio, and a host of additional sponsors and donors.
River Fest 2022 Films and Film Contributors
Edge Condition Lauren Bon & Metabolic Studio
Pedal Through REI Co-op
Concrete River Pizza Night Productions Matthew Scott & Cody Whitman
District 15 Patagonia
FoLAR River Fest Video FoLAR Staff & Adam Abada
River of Angels BeAlive Studios Presents A BackRoads Pictures Film
Anza Trail Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians Kizh Nation, Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, Friends of Griffith Park, and Adam Abada
WRD The Water Replenishment District
FoLAR Impact Video Isabella Rodriguez
Friends of the Los Angeles River is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to build capacity for communities, students, and future leaders to advocate for nature, climate, and equity on the Los Angeles River. FOLAR has been a leading powerful force guiding policy and connecting communities to the River since 1986.