Run-D.M.C. and Invisibl Skratch Piklz Resurrect Cyberfest Dance Show

Promoters recruit hip-hop headliners for newly revived Oct. 31 rave in Oakland, Calif.

You can't keep a good rave down.

At least, that's what concert promoter Sason Parry of Cool World Productions hopes is proved by Cyberfest '98, a multi-artist dance concert scheduled for Oct. 31 at the Oakland Coliseum Plaza and the surrounding parking grounds in Oakland, Calif.

Hip-hop legends Run-D.M.C. and renowned San Francisco Bay Area turntablists the Invisibl Skratch Piklz are among the dozens of performers scheduled for the revival of an event that was canceled last year at the eleventh hour.

The '97 edition of the show, scheduled for the Alameda Naval Air Station in Alameda, Calif., on Sept. 27 and due to feature such acts as the Sneaker Pimps and Aphex Twin, was canceled at the last minute due to bureaucratic maneuvering by the city of Alameda's planning commission, the Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority, and Naval officials.

But that was then, Parry said.

"We just want to put what happened last year behind us and concentrate on having a very positive experience," Parry said Friday. "We've got a lot of support from all corners and are looking forward to an exciting night that will bring together people from hip-hop and dance music."

Besides Run-D.M.C. and the Skratch Piklz, Cyberfest '98, held on 20 acres, will feature various DJs and sound sculptors from the worlds of hip-hop, techno, jungle, ambient and drum & bass. In addition to the musical performers, the event will also feature carnival rides, a laser show, a haunted house, a masquerade contest and circus performers.

Last year's event was expected to draw more than 20,000 revelers to the Alameda Naval Air Station for an all-night dance party with dozens of international and local DJs, a midway with rides, five tents and a number of high-profile music acts, including the Hardkiss Brothers, DJ Keoki, Sneaker Pimps and Aphex Twin. Just as the site was being set up for the festival, however, Naval authorities told promoters they were canceling the event, due to their concerns about potential noise, drug use and vandalism.

In spite of an emergency appeal by the promoters, the decision held and the event was canceled.

Parry said the last-minute cancellation of the event cost concert promoters somewhere in the neighborhood of $250,000, funds they tried to recover by suing the city of Alameda. The suit was settled out of court, with the promoters winning an undisclosed sum, he added.

"We would have probably come out victorious," Parry said of the suit. "We had a lot of support, but we definitely settled for less than what we lost. The main thing is that we wanted to resolve it, so we could get this next event back on track."

Calls to the Alameda's city planning office were not returned by press time.

A spokeswoman for Oakland's city planning office, meanwhile, confirmed that Cool World Productions has all the permits in place to go ahead with this year's event.

Though the event has been relocated, the Alameda Naval Air Station remains the choice location for such a festival, Parry said. "It's a great site, with a beautiful view of San Francisco," he said of the soon-to-close military base. "We definitely want to put on a great event this year [in Oakland] to show that it can be done."

"With any event, be it a sports game, a sit-down corporate dinner, a church event or a concert, you always have the potential for something to go wrong," Parry added. "You just do the best you can to prevent it, and don't dwell on the negative."