By Bob Linden 



Unlike another “show” that bills itself “greatest on earth”, no animals will be harmed in any way in the production of the first ever WORLDFEST- LA, what we hope is truly the greatest show on earth. Perhaps what makes WORLD-FEST- LA unique is that this festival is the fruition of a seed that is “compassion for animals”. No animals will be on sale to be eaten or worn here,  or be beaten to perform here.  No products of any kind that have been tested on animals or have any animal ingredients will be displayed here. 

WORLDFEST- LA is a vision of how its creators would like to see the world in the not-too-distant future. A better world for all of us in the future starts with a better world for animals now. WORLD-FEST-LA will be on Sunday, July 30 in Woodley Park in Van Nuys (Woodley between Victory and Burbank in the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area near the bird sanctuary and Japanese Gardens). ADMISSION IS FREE. 

WORLDFEST-SAN DIEGO will be held in early October commemorating World Vegetarian Day, World Farm Animal Day, Gandhi’s birthday, and World Action Day Against McDonald’s. 

I thought I was making a quiet personal decision one night during my sophomore year at Queens College in New York City  in 1971. Growing up in New York, I really didn’t consider where food came from. Salami grew on a salami tree. Green beans came in a can. Then on that one night, I was cooking on my own and the chicken wasn’t its usual non-descript, round, sanitized self. I saw a leg. I saw a life. I remembered the sadness I felt when occasionally I saw cows passing on a truck and the helplessness in their eyes.  The thigh bone’s connected  . . . one of the most shocking revelation’s of my life. Someone (not “something”) had died, and presumably suffered some pain, to make it to my dinner plate that night. I thought, “how barbaric, maybe I should don a loincloth and go out on my city block and club a squirrel for her meat . . . or grab an alley cat for her milk. 

The decision I made that night to become a vegetarian was not a popular one with my future ex-father-in-law (whose career was in a butcher shop) or his wife who cautioned me that I was “going to die if I ate like that”. Of course she’s right, but I think I’ve tilted the percentages in my favor to die a lot later, and have a better quality of life than if I continued to eat animal flesh and risked the associated heart diseases, cancers, stroke, and disease of the week linked with corpse consumption. Did you see the connection of miscarriage with meat eating made by the Center for Science in the Public Interest  a few months back? Of course you didn’t. It makes one newscast and then it’s gone, as a McDonald’s commercial replaces it on the screen. 

McDonald’s spends two billion brainwashing dollars each year (that’s two thousand million) to convince us we should feed a product to our children that causes serious and fatal disease, a product that greatly squanders natural resources, a product that is the source of astronomical air and water pollution, erosion and deforestation , and a product that is a holocaust-a-day  for the nine billion suffering animals in this country who will be led one by one to a painful death this year. McDonald’s may have its two billion, a sleazy, slick con artist in a clown outfit, and an innocent playground to hide what goes on out back and into your kids’ stomachs (including genetically-engineered ingredients that are hormone and pesticide laden). 

WE HAVE WORLDFEST-LA, a day  free to the public when the sun shines on the truth, on solutions, on choices, on alternatives. We don’t have the distraction of clowns (except maybe in our children’s activities area). 

We will have brilliant, world-renowned speakers like John Robbins, the would-be heir to the Baskin-Robbins ice cream fortune who ironically revealed the dangers of animal products to us in his Pulitzer Prize nominated best-seller, “DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA”. We also have “MAD COWBOY” author, Howard Lyman, co-defendant in the Oprah Winfrey freedom-of-speech veggie libel case in Amarillo. When a successful cattle rancher tells you to go vegan (totally vegetarian, no animal products) and has done so himself, and has become President of EARTHSAVE , shouldn’t you want to hear why?  Howard has some shocking first-hand revelations. 

Can you imagine that tons of dogs and cats euthanized right here in Los Angeles actually end up in our food chain? (Make that YOUR food chain, if you eat meat, that is.  I don’t.  I’m vegan, like that ex-cattle rancher, Howard.) So now there is  yet another reason to address pet overpopulation. And we will do that at WORLDFEST-LA with a major adoption campaign with a multitude of rescue organizations and outreach education on spaying, neutering, and ID. Vegans love animals enough not to eat them and we hope there’s a lot of love for the animals that day that finds them good homes. WORLDFEST-LA will be held outdoors on the grass and under the trees, with room for 18,000 — nine exciting hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., promising great music in the air as well as the fragrance of great all-vegetarian, vegan food. It’s a festival for vegans and meat eaters alike. For those who want to decrease or eliminate meat and other animal products from their diet, this is the opportunity to sample the world of delicious vegetarian foods available — casseroles to cookies, dips to desserts, from Middle Eastern to Mexican, Asian to African, Indian, even  “hot dogs”,  “burgers”, and “ice cream”, from local and national natural food companies and restaurants, with all the flavor but without any cholesterol or animal suffering. 

The organizers of WORLDFEST-LA believe that taking the violence off  our plates might take it out of our schools. WORLDFEST-LA is a celebration of reverence for life. Reverence for life must respect habitat and en-vironment. “Can one truly be an environmentalist and not a vegan?” WORLDFEST-LA will pose that question, and be an event around which the environmental community can rally. Many environmental organizations will be represented. WORLD-FEST-LA itself will be entirely solar powered by SOLAR ELECTRIC of San Diego,  from stage and sound system, to ovens and refrigeration . 

WORLDFEST-LA will be an animal faire, environmental faire, and health faire. The WORLDFEST-LA vision of a national health program is prevention through education in abandoning a flesh-based diet comprised of meat, dairy, fish, and fowl in favor of  plant-based, preferably organic, nutrition with holistic support whether that be, among other disciplines,  massage, acupuncture, herbs, yoga, meditation, chiropractic . . . a lot of animals suffer in labs to “find cures” for what ails us, when what ails us is eating animals. WORLDFEST will be a celebration of the health that comes with compassion. 

I am honored to participate in constructing a day that is for the animals, where their and our condition can be  exposed, contemplated, addressed. For one day, the slaughterhouse will have windows. The barbecue will have tofu. 

Last year while living in San Diego where much of my animal activism involved a group called COMPASSIONATE LIVING, one of its members, Jim Brown said to me “we should do a veggie festival”. Having been removed from radio for a number of years, but still having show business in my blood, I went to the phone to see what kind of show could be created with the limited financial resources of a grassroots animal rights organization, but with endless resources of the heart. 

John Robbins was gracious enough to accept our invitation to appear, which created interest at the food co-op, which created interest at food companies, which created momentum to create what was San Diego FallFest.  Five thousand people came to this free event which attendees called “utopia” and vendors called “perfect”. It was a great day of fun, music, and special messages of compassion. 

We knew that we had to expand and Los Angeles, my home for so many years, was the logical next city. Activists Sangeeta Kumar, vegetarian since seven, Jeffrey Tufenkian, a human rights and animal rights advocate, and I have set out, under the umbrella of TOWARDS FREEDOM, a California non-profit formed for this reason, to take WORLDFEST to the world. In honoring our desire to make these special events free to the public, funding is through sponsorships, exhibitors, donations, and grants. 

For further information, see . Their phone number in LA is (661) 257-8917, and in San Diego, (619) 584-6462. You may e-mail us at

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