Sunset Junction Festival Cancelled

August 24th, 2011
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The Sunset Junction festival held annually in Silver Lake, California and scheduled to take place this coming Saturday was denied a permit by the Board of Public Works on Wednesday and appears to be cancelled, though there has been no official confirmation from the festival organization. 

The five-member panel appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa cited concerns over unpaid fees from last year’s event in their denial of the permit. According to an official statement made today by Sunset Junction, one week prior to the 2010 Sunset Junction festival, the organization was given a bill from the city for $267,000—an unprecedented amount in the 31-year history of the street fair. The organization subsequently requested an itemization of the fees from the city, and claims that the fees were “inflated more than 10 times that of comparable LA festivals” and that the fees billed for the police were “questionably inflated.” These concerns were addressed at today’s permit hearing.

On Monday, August 22, the Board of Public Works panel told Sunset Junction that if they could come up with this year’s fees in advance—a total of $142,000—they would reconsider issuing a permit for the festival. Sunset Junction was given a deadline of Wednesday, August 24 at 12 noon to come up with the fees. In an interesting turn, promotion company Live Nation stepped in with $100,000 deposited this morning to help the festival, which, along with donations from supporters, allowed the organization to amass the amount required by the city. Though fax receipts were provided as proof of the available funds, nevertheless, Sunset Junction was denied a permit at today’s hearing, unanimously casting aside pleas by festival promoters.

“Seriously, we tried our best on raising the huge amount of money- thanks for all the support.. unfortunately we didn’t meet the expectations,” stated a post made today on Sunset Junction’s Twitter account. The organization’s web server is currently down. Their most recent tweet refers to the web issues, saying “Lets not lose our faith, web site is down &Tickets $ will be re inverse to all of fans who supported, please do not panic (vendors,fans etc).”

The cancellation of the event is a huge blow to promoters, vendors, and scheduled entertainers alike. The festival was set to feature artists such as Lil Jon, Peaches, Butthole Surfers, Butch Walker, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Bobby Womack, Hanson, Swedish Egil, and many more.

Amongst the 94 acts billed for the 2011 street fair, many performers are relocating or rescheduling their shows, while others have either not commented on the cancellation or have chosen not to seek another venue to play at.

Despite an event now suffering the fallout of the Board’s ruling, some of the festival venues are keeping their bills intact while salvaging the weekend as best they can accommodate, such as El Cid.  Other venues have also begun contacting bands and performers offering space and time for them to play this weekend.

In response to the event’s cancellation, another two day event which will run all day and into the night Saturday and Sunday, called Echo Park Rising, has been gathering steam over the last 24 hours.  The organizers of this offshoot have established a significant number of venues to showcase bands now stranded for the weekend without Sunset Junction while also working with vendors around Echo Park to garner special deals, discounts, and drink specials throughout the neighborhood.

Update: Rescheduled Shows

Thursday, August 25

Friday, August 26

Saturday, August 27

  • The Viper Room has squeezed in Helmet for a midnight show.
  • Holly Conlan (12:00 p.m.), Francisco The Man (12:45 p.m.), Chasing Kings (1:30 p.m.), The Fling (2:15 p.m.), Vanaprasta (3:00 p.m.), Useless Keys (3:45 p.m.), along with Butch Walker and the Black Widows (5:15 p.m.) will play at Dangerbird Records from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Cinderella Motel at Lot 1 Cafe, doors open at 4 p.m.
  • Art Brut, Art vs Science, and The Hundred Days at The Satellite in Silver Lake, doors open at 5 p.m.
  • He’s My Brother She’s My Sister expected to play somewhere in LA, more details to come.
  • Manhattan Murder Mystery has signed on to the L.A. Underground Sountrack, a benefit concert for the film A Miracle Mile.  The benefit will run from 7 p.m. to midnight.
  • The Damselles & TC4 at The Hideout Bar, show runs from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Marvelous Toy and the Broken Numbers Band are set to take over the R Bar from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m.
  • Ricky Lee Robinson, Tic Tic Boom, Lovers Drugs and Queen Caveat have booked hour long sets at Bordello starting at 7 p.m.
  • Barrio Tiger at Origami Vinyl in Echo Park, show starts at 8 p.m.
  • Manhattan Murder Mystery will follow the Damselles at The Hideout Bar from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Butthole Surfers with special guests 400 Blows to play the Echoplex, show starts at 9:30 p.m.
  • Vaud and the Villians will play Cafe Was at 9 p.m.
  • Olin and the Moon will hammer out Saturday night at the Sunset Crunktion Warehouse Party starting at 10 p.m.
  • Milo Greene along with special guests with at the Hotel Cafe, doors open at 10:30 p.m.
  • The Growlers have finalized their double-dip Saturday shows.  From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. catch them play Amoeba Music in Hollywood.  Following the Amoeba show, the Growlers will grace the Nomad Gallery and Art Compound from 9 p.m. until 11 p.m.
  • COR, Peg Leg Love, Marvelous Toy, Lovers Drug, The Studiofix, Queen Caveat, The Remainers, Living Dead Lights, Goodie Tu-Shoes have El Cid booked solid from 1:30 p.m. until 2 a.m.
  • The grand opening of What Cheer? Bar has added He’s My Brother She’s My Sister along with the Damselles & TC4 to their full day of music, starting at 1 p.m. and concluding at 3 a.m.  More special Sunset Junction guests are expected to show.
  • Buddy has been added to the bill at the Soiled Dove in Denver, details developing.

Sunday, August 28

  • Charles Bradley and Hands at the Echoplex, show at 6:30 p.m.
  • EC Twins at XIV Summer Sessions Sunday, 7 p.m.
  • Manhattan Murder Mystery at Origami Vinyl in Echo Park, show starts at 5 p.m.
  • Madi Diaz also has scored a show at Origami Vinyl, set starts at 8 p.m.
  • Peaches has relocated her DJ performance to Freak City starting at 9 p.m.
  • The Rescues at Hotel Cafe starting at 9 p.m.
  • Carina Round at Hotel Cafe following The Rescues at 10 p.m.
  • Nomerica DJs, Oh Darling!, Broken Numbers Band, Roses Pawn Shop, Leftover Cuties, along with David and Devine will still rock El Cid from 1:30 p.m. until they’re done.

Monday, August 29

Tuesday, August 30

  • Jesse Thomas at Room 5, show starts at 8 p.m.

More news to follow on rescheduled shows.

Patrick Cowles contributed to this report.

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