Pop & Hiss

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Sunset Junction, what's your dysfunction?

March 5, 2009 |  5:40 pm

Sunsetjunction The L.A. Weekly reports that the successful but increasingly controversial Sunset Junction street fair (which takes place every August) has found itself embroiled in a civil war of sorts, the result of an ongoing conflict with neighbors and Silver Lake-area business owners, that went unresolved last year.

The Weekly writes that last night the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council Governing Board "voted unanimously in favor of a motion stating that it will 'oppose the Sunset Junction Street Festival in its current format.' What this means for the future of the popular festival is still unknown. There are talks that a series of meetings between Sunset Junction organizers and the Neighborhood Council will occur between now and the event, which the Sunset Junction website has announced will take place on August 22 and 23 and, as stated in the meeting, permits are still pending."

In August, Pop & Hiss devoted considerable digital ink to the dispute between the Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance (the official organizers of the Sunset Junction street fair) and area business owners frustrated with being excluded from the festival's footprint, which, for the second year in a row, terminated at Sanborn rather than continuing down Sunset to Edgecliffe, as it had done since the fair's humble inception 28 years ago. The festival has become increasingly music-driven, with multiple stages offering music throughout the day and night; last year's headliners included Cold War Kids, Broken Social Scene and Sam Moore.

Things reached a climax the day the festival was scheduled to start when business owners from the excluded swath of Sunset (arguably the heart of Sunset Junction) arrived for an early morning meeting with the organizers and a representative from Councilman Eric Garcetti's office, only to find that despite a motion passed by the City Council mandating a return to the original footprint, the official gate had been erected, again, at Sanborn.

There was a faux gate at Edgecliffe, and the portion of Sunset Boulevard leading to the real pay gate at Sanborn was completely empty with no vendors or stages.

Business owners were furious. They felt that the organizers were spitefully disregarding the will of the City Council and the neighborhood and vowed to take an early stance the following year. It seems they've made good on that promise. We'll be keeping our eyes peeled for more updates.

--Jessica Gelt

Photo of a very packed Sunset Boulevard during Sunset Junction 2008, by Stefano Paltera / For The Times