Less than a week before the scheduled 31st annual Sunset Junction Street Fair, the organizers have found themselves backed up against a financial wall of unpaid city fees, leaving this year’s event in limbo. Due to an outstanding figure of almost $400,000, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works has denied the Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance their operating permits to hold the event in LA’s Silver Lake district.
As reported by the LA Times, the Board voted against issuing the event permits with a 3-to-1 vote after a morning of passionate protest and testimony by supporters of the street fair. Regardless of their words, Michael McKinley who founded the festival still owes LA fees from last year’s event along with fees for this year.
Due to the enormous growth of the once free and open festival, more recent Sunset Junction events have required barricading off the few blocks of streets which the event occupies while providing a sufficient amount of police force to overlook the event. Considering these services along with others, SJNA still owes the city an approximated $256,484.14 for the 2010 event.
You’re asking us for good faith here, and last year we gave it to you, said board member Andrea Alarcon.
You didn’t pay. It’s quite disrespectful that you paid legal counsel, entertainment and found sponsors, but you haven’t paid the city, added Alarcon.
Although McKinley hasn’t denied his outstanding fees from last year, he has disputed a vague system for calculating the subsidies fees for noncommercial events, such as the one he’s held at Sunset Junction in Silver Lake since 1980.
Regardless of the fees still owed from last year, the Board of Public Works has once again made an offer of good faith for the 30-years-running street fair. If McKinley and SJNA can pay the remaining $141,978.57 of their outstanding fees for this year’s event, the Board will reconsider issuing the permits on Wednesday, thus allowing the festival to break into it’s third decade.
Among those booked to perform for the 2011 Sunset Junction Street Fair are; the Butthole Surfers, Bobby Womack, Hanson, the Melvins, and Lil’ Jon doing a DJ set.