Sunset Junction is off – city denies festival’s second request for permit; makeup shows in the works


Sunset Junction is off.

The L.A. Board of Public Works on Wednesday unanimously rejected the Sunset Junction Street Fair’s permit for this weekend’s festival, ending a week’s worth of drama that included impassioned arguments for and against the two-day event, initial rejection of the festival’s application and a frantic 36-hour fund-raising effort by organizers to meet the city’s requirement to pay fees that were due.

The vote marked a bitter end for the 30-year-old event, which began as a neighborhood fair to promote harmony and diversity among Silver Lake’s gay and Latino populace and, over the years, mushroomed into one of the city’s premier music events.

Several promoters have been working in the background to arrange fill-in dates for bands scheduled to play Sunset Junction. Stay tuned for announcements of those shows.

“It seems to be that the event has outgrown the support of the community and outgrown the support of the council office,” said member Valerie Lynn Shaw, who was the lone dissenter Monday in the initial vote to deny the permit. “This is a sad and tragic situation.”

In rejecting the initial application Monday, the board said it would reconsider if Sunset Junction provided advance payment of $141,000 in city fees for the 2011 event. While organizers said they had promises for that much money – including a $100,000 donation from LiveNation – they did not have the check in hand. Board members also indicated that the e-mail correspondence they had received since Monday’s meeting overwhelmingly opposed the festival.

In the end, Sunset Junction was undermined by several years of ill will between organizer Michael McKinley and both the city and Silver Lake neighborhood groups. McKinley was not present at Wednesday’s hearing – he apparently was at the bank depositing funds in an attempt to satisfy the city. It was not enough.

Said board president Andrea Alarcon: “Fail me once, shame on you. Fail me twice, shame on me … This organization has failed this city time and time again.”

Butthole Surfers, the Melvins, Hanson, Bobby Womack, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, k.d. Lang, Art Burt, Ozomatli, Dum Dum Girls, Gayngs, Tapes N Tapes and Rooney were to highlight this year’s lineup, which had scheduled music on six stages on and around Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake.

Photo of Bright Eyes at Sunset Junction in 2009