Give Love 5 Review - Give Blood and Dance!

TYCO Event-ops in association with LURP Productions and City of Hope presented its fifth annual blood drive/art and dance festival, Give Love 5, on Saturday, February 21. The event took place in the heart of Los Angeles near the Little Tokyo Shopping Center with an event capacity of 6000. Donating 20% of the proceeds directly to the City of Hope Foundation’s cancer research and development for disease control, and giving away free VIP tickets to anyone who donated blood on the day of the event, Give Love 5 had noble motivations and the best of intentions. Unfortunately, good intentions don’t always mean a good outcome, and due to some unexpected happenings, Give Love 5 turned out to be somewhat of a letdown.

From the start, Give Love 5 in its entirety had some rather notable peculiarities, such as the fact that they were giving away VIP tickets for anyone who donated blood the day of the event. Now, unless you consider furling your eyebrows and bobbing your head as dancing, then an all night dance festival isn’t usually what you’d want to have on top of your list of ‘things to do after giving lots of blood.’ Not to mention, the VIP tickets came with beer and vodka once you got inside the event. I can’t help but imagine the poor, just-turned twenty-one year old college boys sitting around their campus housing, excitedly telling each other, “hey man, let’s give blood then go out drinking and dancing this weekend!” Somehow, however, giving blood and dancing must not be an entirely bad idea, since this is the fifth annual Give Love festival where they’ve carried out this bizarre coupling of activities.

The event itself had an exciting lineup of DJ’s planned for the night, including Hatiras, DJ Reza, and Faust and Shortee, but the night got cut short before they were able to share their talent with the anxious crowds. The event started at 7 PM, and at around 9:30 PM, once I was just finding my niche at the Hardstyle stage, all the music stopped and the house lights faded back on. My first thought was, “damn, it’s already 5 AM! I must’ve really gotten into that dancing!” Then, upon further inspection of my cell phone watch, I realized I hadn’t even been inside a couple of hours. Soon the word on the dance floor was that the LAPD was outside and shutting down Give Love 5. Now, while having parties shut down by the cops isn’t a situation I’m entirely unfamiliar with, this was not quite what I was expecting from an event of this scale, especially one coming from such practiced organizations as TYCO and LURP Productions. Regardless, if the cops say your party is over, then it means your party is, well, moving to the next open house.

Give Love 5 attempted to do just that. Giving the dance hungry crowd a hotline number to call for information, they promised to have an after party location up and going soon. However, the hotline number remained information-less until well past midnight, and most of us ended up wandering around the streets of downtown LA’s little Tokyo, relying on word of mouth for directions. According to the message on the hotline, the event was shut down because too many people ignored parking restrictions and parked illegally all over Alameda Street, where the event had taken place. I ended up at some sort of after party, though whether it was the after party or had anything at all to do with Give Love 5 I was never able to figure out.

I think that had the event actually taken place in whole, it would’ve been really good. The venue was new and fun, the capacity of several thousand people was manageable, and the lineup of bands and DJ’s was promising, but the night took a different course. The idea behind Give Love 5, however, is highly respectable and creative. To turn part of SoCal’s ceaseless Dance Scene into a means of both raising money for such important and upright organizations as the City of Hope Foundation and getting the youth to contribute to the ever-needing blood bank is a genius idea. I can’t help but feel bad, though, for the people who paid around twenty dollars or donated their blood to get into this event that got shut down so early.

While Give Love 5 sought to increase the reputation of SoCal’s Dance Scene, something about getting thousands of energetic event goers cast out into the streets of downtown LA before they’ve even had a chance to dance off their buzz only seems to confirm the stereotypes about the scene: that it’s wild and out of control, and it is, but it’s also great; most of the crowd Saturday night was determined to not let the shut-down ruin their night, and they faced the remainder of the hours before daylight with a communal sense of optimism and energy. If anything, Saturday night’s happenings made me fall all the more in love with LA’s invigorating youth culture.

As for Give Love 5 and future events from TYCO event-ops and LURP Productions, I think it’s safe to consider the shut down a rare misfortune. The positive ideals driving the production of Give Love Festivals is worth believing in, and one can only hope that next year they’ll have all the nooks and crannies worked out to throw a killer Give Love 6 festival.

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