Two things happen on the first Friday of the month in Las Vegas. There is chaos on Fremont Street, with unruly crowds, a heavy police presence, reports of underage drinking, fighting and even a recent shooting. On the same evening, artists, music, busking and even alcohol sales are permitted on Main Street in the Arts District under the controlled auspices of the monthly First Friday event. Those two things are not the same, as our friends representing First Friday (the arts program) are taking great pains to point out. Here we provide you the "First Friday Team" message to the media, distributed today:
It has come to our favorite time of month – First Friday! This amazing monthly event, which takes place in the Arts District, was created to celebrate art, music and culture in Las Vegas. Unfortunately we are consistently dealing with untruths being spread about the festival being dangerous or unsafe. Each month First Friday sees tens of thousands of people enjoying themselves with friends and family, with almost zero incidents or trouble. The implication that the festival is overrun by gang activity and unruly and drunken teenagers is blatantly false and the damage to the community due to erroneous reports, which don't differentiate between the First Friday event and problems that may happen in the wee hours of the morning miles away from our event, must not be taken lightly. The First Friday team makes tremendous efforts to provide for our community, and the internal security team cooperates with Metro Police implicitly to ensure the safety of attendees.
On the eve of First Friday's 11th anniversary in Las Vegas, the time has come, once and for all, to separate First Friday the event from “First Friday” the date… We can only control what happens within the footprint of the First Friday event, which remains virtually incident free each month, even with thousands of people enjoying themselves. If you aren’t sure of the location of First Friday, let us know and one of our many volunteer docents can happily show you around - we can tell you, the event does NOT take place on Fremont Street, or near the Fremont Street Experience where the reported gang activity and public safety concerns have been growing. The First Friday team finds joy in celebrating diversity, art and love, with a major focus on education and enrichment each month. It is one of our utmost goals to make certain that everyone who enters First Friday can appreciate the many incredible things Las Vegas has to offer. Please be responsible in your reporting and provide specific details as to where these public safety concerns are coming from and please refrain from suggesting that First Friday the event is unsafe; it damages the ability of the community to trust in each other and to explore the many wonderful opportunities living in Las Vegas affords.
Thank you for your cooperation,
The First Friday Team