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Sunset Junction Street Fair denied permit for 2nd time

August 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles Board of Public Works denied for the second time this week organizers of the Sunset Junction Street Fair a permit for this weekend's event in Silver Lake.

Fair organizers failed to come up with the cash the city wanted.

Organizers of this year's Sunset Junction had already done plenty of advertising and had booked dozens of bands and vendors.

Wednesday, they were given one more chance to make good on the money they owe the city.

"This shouldn't have gotten to this 11th hour and mistakes were made. However, I'm asking you to please consider what is the best path forward to find a resolution that works for the city, for the bands, for the fans," Phillip Tate, an attorney for the Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance, told the board Wednesday.

Organizers owe about $256,000 for last year's festival. This year's estimated costs were projected at $142,000. Despite a last-minute loan from Live Nation Entertainment of $100,000, organizers couldn't come up with this year's full amount the city required.

Posters are still up around the area, but it looks like the 31-year-old Silver Lake institution has come to an end.

"The Sunset Junction 2011 special event permit has been denied," said Andrea Alarcon, president of the L.A. Board of Public Works.

Wednesday's permit denial was the second time in three days that the city's Board of Public Works voted to deny the festival's permit.

At City Hall Wednesday morning, board members chastised festival organizers for not making good on a last-minute chance to save the festival.

"This organization has failed this city time and time again," said Alarcon. "We have extended a tremendous amount of good faith time and time again."

"This is clearly not how we wanted it to go today," said Phil Tate.

Tate represents the Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance, the festival's organizers. He says the cost of the permits was not in line with other non-profit festivals, and he says the city refused to compromise.

"It's disappointing. We have to review our options. I don't know what happens at this point," said Tate.

Tate says the non-profit festival was able to get a $100,000 loan from Live Nation Entertainment, but board members say the city needs to be paid in full.

"The organizer is essentially asking the city to subsidize its event, particularly in an environment where we're having trouble as a city filling potholes," said Public Works Board Member John Choi.

The annual festival features dozens of bands, food booths and vendors. It requires the closure of a stretch of Sunset Boulevard.

"I think it's a huge failure to the music community," said Steven Wilkin, a member of one of the many bands scheduled to play the festival. "The reason that it's such a big deal for bands, especially local bands, is it gives them an opportunity to rise to an occasion and play a big festival."

The Junction draws thousands to Silver Lake, but some community members spoke out against the festival.

"This festival has nothing to do with Silver Lake anymore," said Silver Lake resident Renee Nahum.

As of Wednesday, festival organizers were reviewing options and had not officially canceled this year's Sunset Junction.

A lot of bands had already made plans to be in Los Angeles, so there is talk of smaller venues picking up the slack.

There was no word Wednesday whether or how ticket refunds would be issued.


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