Sunset Junction Again Denied Permit; Festival Likely To Be Canceled
1:09 p.m. update: The festival has been apparently been canceled.
This morning the Los Angeles Board of Public Works once again denied the permit for this year's Sunset Junction. The festival, therefore, is unlikely to happen, but perhaps for intervention by the full city council.
Commissioners Jerilyn Lopez Mendoza, John Choi and Valerie L. Shawa, along with Board President Andrea Alarcon, all moved for the denial. The ruling followed a chaotic morning, in which West Coast Sound revealed that Live Nation stepped in to alleviate the fest's massive debt. Later in the morning, however, festival organizers presenting before the board admitted that they didn't have the required $141,000 in hand, prompting the board's decision.
On Monday the board had denied the organization's permit for the first time, and in the interim Sunset Junction launched an online fundraiser to come up with the remainder of $141,000 owed for this year's fees. (The city maintains that the organization actually owes it around $400,000 -- for this year's and last year's festival -- but said it would accept the smaller figure for the time being.) Meanwhile, bands who had already been booked to perform were secretly re-scheduling performances in alternate venues, a practice that will presumably accelerate, out in the open, with this news.
Shortly before Wednesday's hearing, however, there was hope: Sunset Junction director Michael McKinley told West Coast Sound that the organization had obtained the necessary funds, thanks in part to a donation from concert promoter Live Nation.
"We now have $152,000 cash on hand," said Sunset Junction's lawyer Phillip Tate near the climax of today's hearing. "I realize that this shouldn't have gotten to the 11th hour. I respectfully request that you reconsider Monday's action."
Board member Andrea Alarcon was displeased.
"The best path is to pay the full $400,000," she replied.
Tate indicated that McKinley was in the process of having a cashier's check cut, and that he would arrive at the hearing shortly. Their "hope" was to have the $152,000 ready by the end of the day, Tate said, though that was later changed to tomorrow.
"You hope?" said Alarcon.
Why wasn't McKinley there? He was said to be at the bank depositing the money, but his associates seemed to have little clue as to what was actually going on. They periodically interrupted public comments to say things like "Michael just called to say he's at the bank cutting the cashier's check as we speak" or "Michael just called to say he's on his way" or "Michael just called to say he deposited the money but we won't have a check until tomorrow, but the bank is faxing you a statement as proof of the deposit."