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L.A. Denies Permit for Sunset Junction Music Festival

Butthole Surfers, Hanson and Melvins were scheduled to play two-day event; organizers owe $141,000 in advance fees

The Sunset Junction Music Festival & Street Fair, an annual Los Angeles event that has grown to be one of the city's biggest and best-known music festivals, is in jeopardy after the L.A. Board of Public Works voted to deny festival organizers the permits they need to stage this weekend's festival.

Sunset Junction posterThe board voted 3-1 to deny the permits at a three-hour public hearing on Monday morning, because the non-profit organization that stages the festival still owes $141,000 in advance fees for this weekend's event.

The festival has lined up more than 75 musical acts, including the Butthole Surfers, Hanson, Melvins, Ozomatli and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

The board can reconsider its decision and issue a permit at its next meeting on Wednesday if festival organizers pay the fee. The city claims that organizers still owe the city more than $265,000 in unpaid fees for last year's festival, but said that amount did not figure into Monday's decision.

An attorney for the Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance said that the organization does not have the money to pay the entire fee, and that the city is unfairly charging Sunset Junction more for its festival than for other comparable city festivals.

At Monday's hearing, which was open to the public and streamed live on the city's website, the Alliance offered to pay $50,000.

The Sunset Junction festival has been taking place for the last 30 years, and has grown from a small free festival to a major event with a ticket price of $25. Sunset Boulevard, one of the city's main East-West thoroughfares, is closed during the two-day event, which the city said was one of the reasons for the high fees intended to cover police, fire and transportation services.

The festival is scheduled to take place on Aug. 27 and 28 on and around Sunset Boulevard in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.