Sunset Junction Working to Raise Money for City Permits, But Will Face Two More Board Votes [Updated]

At the Sunset Junction Music Festival in 2009
At the Sunset Junction Music Festival in 2009

Update, Tuesday, 7:21 p.m.: Organizers say they have secured $141,000, the amount needed to pay the city of Los Angeles for this weekend's festival permit, according to the Los Angeles Times. As explained below, the Board of Public Works will have to vote to reconsider their earlier decision, but board president Andrea Alarcon explained to Echo Park Patch that "given this late juncture, if we were to issue a permit on Wednesday," the costs would escalate. If permit fees were paid on time, some police and other city workers could have been assigned to work at the festival while on regular duty. At this late date, however, more services will likely be provided by employees on overtime.


After being denied a permit over unpaid fees for this weekend's event, organizers from the Sunset Junction Music Festival say they are optimistic they will be able to pay the city's bill. The group has until Wednesday morning when the Board of Public Works is scheduled to meet, but raising sufficient funds is only one of three steps that must be taken for the Silver Lake neighborhood festival to hold its 31st annual street fair.

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Board members must first vote to reconsider Monday's decision to deny organizers a special event permit. If a majority of the five-person board agrees to once again discuss permitting the event, then a vote may be taken to approve or deny letting the festival occur.

"Our intention is to show the City that Sunset Junction is a committed and reliable partner, who continues to contribute to the Silverlake community year-round, along with being one of the most anticipated and historic fairs in Los Angeles for 31 years," festival organizers said in a statement Monday evening. "We've received a very positive response from our sponsors and supporters, and we are optimistic that we will reach our goal of obtaining the $142,000 necessary to pay the city."

Organizers added that no bands had called to cancel their appearance. On Twitter, the festival account was soliciting donations.

The festival began in 1980 as a way to ease tension between gangs and the gay community. Run by a nonprofit, the once-free neighborhood event has turned into a commercial-like affair, garnering major headliners and a $25 door entrance fee each day (cheaper prices if bought earlier online). Head organizer Michael McKinley testified Monday that the event supports community beautification and programs like a soccer league that benefit at-risk youth. The event and its 11 months of planning is a jobs training program in itself, he explained.

While board members acknowledged the good work of McKinley's group, they cited neighborhood opposition and a city ordinance that states fees for events must pay for anticipated city services before being issued a permit (if the city overestimated the price, a refund of unspent funds would be given back). Only $50,000 of the $142,000 was offered to the city on Monday. Additionally, the festival owes over $265,000 for last year's event. Organizers disputed the price of the 2010 services and wanted mediation.

Headline music acts booked for this weekend include KD Lang, Hanson, Bobby Womack, Butthole Surfers, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Ozomatli.

Previously: City Board Denies Permits for this Weekend's Sunset Junction Music Festival

The photo used on this post is by Flickr user calamity_hane. It was used under a Creative Commons License.

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