Sunset Junction Street Festival group files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
The Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy following last year’s last-minute cancellation of the 30-year-old Sunset Junction Street Festival in Silver Lake, leaving behind a trail of creditors owed more than $900,000, according to documents filed in Central District U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
The city of Los Angeles, which had helped underwrite the event, is the big debt holder among more than 200 creditors, with more than $250,000 owed.
Much of the rest of the debt detailed in the filing is for booking fees not paid to musicians who had been scheduled to perform, including the Butthole Surfers ($24,000), the alt-rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah ($22,000), pop singer k.d. lang ($20,000), the pop band Hanson ($20,000), the rock-funk collective Ozomatli ($20,000), Bobby Womack ($15,000), the dance-pop collective Gayngs ($13,000), Peaches ($12,800), soul-R&B singers Freddie Pool ($8,750), Charles Bradley ($5,500) and Brenda Holloway ($1,500), the alt-rock duo Belle Brigade ($5,000), the punk band Helmet ($5,000), the Dum Dum Girls ($5,000), the EC Twins ($3,000), the neo-soul band Butch Walker & the Black Widows ($3,000) and the Three Degrees ($2,500).
Alliance president Michael McKinley is also listed among creditors as being owed $50,000.
The alliance listed assets of only $500 in miscellaneous furnishings and equipment at its Coronado Street office.
The alliance is the nonprofit organization that put together the festival, which was denied the city permits it needed to continue in 2011 after city officials declined to extend more time to the alliance to repay money still owed from previous years.
In August, after alliance officials scrambled to assure city officials that they could meet the year’s financial obligations, the Board of Public Works denied permits that would allow the event to proceed because promoters failed to come through with a check for $141,000 to cover fees. A last minute loan of $100,000 from concert promoter Live Nation failed to change board members’ minds.
“Fail me once, shame on you,” board President Andrea Alarcon said at the time. “Fail me twice, shame on me. This organization has failed this city time and time again.”
The street festival had grown in 30 years from a free grassroots celebration among neighborhood businesses and local musicians to a ticketed event attracting national talent. Many residents and business owners had grown disenchanted with the yearly festival because of the disruption it created in the area.
The Internal Revenue Service, listed as being owed $20,000, and California’s Employment Development Department, an additional $6,511, are the only two creditors given priority status. All others are categorized as nonpriority debts.
Among the other major creditors are CBS Radio ($61,500) and event promoter Spaceland Productions ($24,000). The Groove Tickets ticket agency is also owed $46,417, according to the liquidation filing that was entered Dec. 7. The festival group’s lawyer, Phillip Tate, is listed as being owed $30,000.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation of Los Angeles, AIDS Walk Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles are each owed $350, according to the filing.
Photo: Rock group Kinky plays the Sunset Junction Street Festival in 2008. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times.