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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

NeekOn, a Free Festival Founded On Selflessness, Hits S.F. Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 12:30 PM

  • The Niosha Dance Academy
  • Neek-on

What started out at as Iranian cultural festival has expanded into a celebration of many cultures around the world, in the spirit of providing an all-inclusive event for anyone to attend.

Called NeekOn, after the Persian word neek (meaning “spreading kindness”), the festival will be free.

“I had a realization that we create the world for ourselves every second of every day,” said Borhan Oskoorouchi, the founder and executive director of the festival, as well as the Demand Planning Manager at Hewlett Packard in the Bay Area. “People are fighting for their own interests, and I have to fight for myself. I didn’t want to live in a world like that.”

He said, “I wanted to know that there are people out there that get off by helping other people, and that there’s enough to go around, and I thought, how do I show this and make it happen?”

Oskoorouchi decided that putting on a free show to entertain and educate the public was a good way to give back to the community.

“We give people services and don’t expect anything from them, and we’re happy that they’re there,” Oskoorouchi said. “We feel we’re providing a service to the community…we don’t expect anything back.”

Oskoorouchi has been planning the festival for over two years. Although this is NeekOn’s first year, Oskoorouchi plans to make it a biannual event. Aside from Oskoorouchi, the planning committee is made up of more than 40 volunteers.

Although most of the people involved in the festival are from an Iranian background, “we decided it was in the spirit of giving to not limit the performances and art just to Iranian culture, so there’s a multitude of culture[s represented],” Oskoorouchi said.

The festival will feature food and performances not only from Iran but also from India, France, Spain, and Brazil among other countries.

“We want people to walk away [from the festival], take this experience they’ve had and do something with it,” Oskoorouchi said. “Maybe share it with their family, maybe take that job they’ve always wanted to have but didn’t have the support.”

Oskoorouchi added that “the way we do things, the way the performances are arranged, the way people are treated when they come in—it’s done in a way to show that we’re here for you, someone will catch you if you fall. We’re a supportive community.”

NeekOn, Saturday, Sept. 26, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. near the DeYoung museum. There will be two indoor events with an entrance fee, but all outdoor events are free.

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Jessica Nemire


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