Sunset Junction Music Festival Loses Last-Ditch Permit Plea

Live Nation chipped in $100,000, but the city was not swayed; festival’s website crashes after word of the denial spreads

Updated 3:35 P.T. Wednesday

No Butthole Surfers or Melvins at Sunset Junction this weekend — organizers' last-ditch attempt to get a permit from the city failed on Wednesday. 

On Monday, the L.A. Board of Public Works voted to deny a permit because the non-profit group that puts on Silver Lake's annual festival had failed to pay $141,000 in advance fees. The organizers said they raised the money from supporters and Live Nation (which kicked in $100,000) in time for Wednesday's meeting, but still walked away empty handed.

“Seriously, we tried our best on raising the huge amount of money — thanks for all the support,” organizers tweeted after the verdict. “Unfortunately we didn't meet the expectations.”

Also read: L.A. Denies Permit for Sunset Junction Music Festival

Organizers later issued a press release outlining its 11th hour fundraising efforts. Sunset Junction had lined up more than 75 musical acts, including the Hanson, Ozomatli and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, for this year's festival.

Shortly after the word of the permit denial spread, the festival's website crashed. As of mid-afternoon Wednesday it was still down.

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 city claims that organizers still owe the city more than $265,000 in unpaid fees for last year's festival.

An attorney for the Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance had accused the city with unfairly charging the festival more than for other comparable city festivals. At Monday's hearing, it offered to pay $50,000.

The fallout is making its way across the Twittersphere, with @musiclawton lamenting, "this is the worst thing to ever happen in America!" and @jonpikus calling the decision a "lose lose situation."

It being Twitter, others used the opportunity to make wisecracks. "BREAKING: Sunset Junction officially canceled," tweeted @jasonburns. "Hipsters roaming streets of Los Angeles in disbelief. Looting of thrift stores imminent."