In 2005 Matt, Carmen and Mark founded the Commercial Drive Car-Free Festival. Working with a brilliant crew of organizers and volunteers the event absolutely blew up with 25 000 people converging for an afternoon of music, dancing, politics and general good times on the Drive.
In 2006 the fest went off again, this time drawing 50 000 people and making even more explicit a radical politics of ethical sustainability and social ecology, as well as opposition to the evil Gateway Project. In 2007 the Drive Fest expanded to 2 days with Fests in June and July. Despite some kind of nasty weather for both events, they kept going off, with 30 000 people rocking out at both events.
So then we took that momentum and created CAR FREE VANCOUVER DAY !! In 2008 three more neighbourhoods – Main, Kits and the West End joined the Drive to put on car-free community festivals on the same day at the same time. Each neighbourhood fest had its own flavour and style, but together began to form a real Car-Free Vancouver Day And 125,000 came out to celebrate the future of this city.
In June 2009 we did it again in four neighbourhoods and this time 150, 000 people came out!! The CFV days are huge fun, organized horizontally, done totally cheap and DIY, infused with a real radical political character and everything is free. Soon we will have the city covered in a quilt of neighbourhood festivals and we’ll just keep going from there.
If you want to start a fest or get involved in one of the many sprouting up around the city, please have a look at www.carfreevancouver.org for lots more.
Our How-To-Start-Your-Own-Car-Free-Day toolkit is available.