SunJun Street Fair – Open Issues

Sunset Junction Street Fair is coming! Last year there was a rather sprited discussion here about the inconveniences and open questions about the management of the event.

In case those suggestions didn’t get to the festival muckety-mucks, I sent them an email on Tuesday with comments on their current website’s direction information. I’ve not heard back, so this becomes and open letter now:

As a resident of Silverlake, I’d like to request a few things be included on your website about the upcoming Sunset Junction Street Festival:


Please include information about public transportation – let people know about the proximity of the subway stops and the bus stops that will be in operation in the area.

Please include information about parking and perhaps parking lots with shuttles for attendees.

Thanks for your time.


Ideally they’d also include some more specific info about where the gates are located, as it’s not clear from the text there and there are no actual maps.

As of Friday morning there have been no changes to the website and no reply to the email.

I also sent an email to Eric Garcetti’s office with that question as well as some others about the fiscal transparency of the fair. I got an automated reply that they get a large volume of email and that queries from non-residents of CD13 are less likely to be answered (the Fair is within CD13, but many of the affected neighborhoods are in CD4 – Tom LaBonge’s district, where I live).

In all honesty, the Fair does not affect me that strongly, we do get some overflow parking in our neighborhood, but not to the degree that others closer do.

The price for tickets this year is $12 in “advance” or $15 after 4PM. It’s not quite clear if that means that you can go to the gate at 3:45 and still get in for $12 or you have to buy the ticket before 4PM online … except for the fact that it takes 10 days for them to arrive if you don’t pay the rush (overnight) charge!

18 thoughts on “SunJun Street Fair – Open Issues”

  1. It will truly surprise me if you hear anything from the festival’s organizers. I get a strong sense they’ve been given free reign over things for so long and they’ve developed an immunity to anything resembling accountability.

  2. i agree with will. if you get anything close to a response it will most likely come from friends who have attended before.

  3. Did a lil’ research on admission costs, it’s interesting:
    * Prior to ’97: Free
    * ’97: First year for gate and “donation”: $3
    * ’99: $3
    * ’00: $5
    * ’01: $5
    * ’02: $6
    * ’03: $7
    * ’04: $10
    * ’05: $10
    * ’06: $12/15

  4. even though last year’s ticket cost $10, a group of my friends were welcomed in without tix by the gatekeepers and it wasn’t really clear why.

  5. My understanding (& perhaps someone can shed more light on this) is that the admission charge is actually a “suggested donation” . . . the fair may not have a legal right to charge for entry?

  6. a-ha! To clarify… you can’t close a City Street and charge people to use it. Basically, the street may be closed off and fenced in, but everyone has the same right to be there whether you pay or not. So, as I have done in the past, just pay what you can/want. Proceeds claim to go to youth programs, so I always give something. But you are not required to…. those are your public streets1

  7. a-ha! To clarify… you can’t close a City Street and charge people to use it. Basically, the street may be closed off and fenced in, but everyone has the same right to be there whether you pay or not. So, as I have done in the past, just pay what you can/want. Proceeds claim to go to youth programs, so I always give something. But you are not required to…. those are your public streets!

  8. I’ve got friends who live just off Sunset and Sanborn, and they were DENIED PEDESTRIAN ACCESS to the Sunset on more than one occasion by SunJun “Officials.” They weren’t trying to attend the fair without paying; they were just trying to walk across Sunset.

    Legal or not, SunJun are bullies who don’t give a crap about local residents or the law.

  9. until this year the sun jun fest entranc fee was a “suggsted donation” but the thugs they put by the entrances didnt share that info and intimidated festgoers to ante up. locals knew better and would just breeze thru. a lot of folks paid just to support the fest. THIS YEAR the admission is REQUIRED. i understand that the fest organizers are paying for the street closure ths year and not getting those city fees waived. doesnt matter i will still be there rocking out and people watching and enjoying what is always the frikking hottest day of the year. altho i am scared to see what the cramps look like these days. my only caveat – this fest needs more FRIED FOODS like the LA County Fair. Fried Tinkies! Fried Snickers bars! Fried whatever!

  10. I just looked at the line up for this years fest. wow, its not even worth it for free. what a bad line up. whats up la?

  11. Cybele,

    Our office has been working closely with the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council and the Sunset Junction organizers to address the concerns you mentioned and others from folks in the community. Thanks for dropping us a line — while we do give CD13 residents priority of response, someone should get back to you directly.

    Our office has asked Sunset Junction to contact a suggested list of possible off-site parking locations. KCET has been reserved that for festival vendors and performers, which will ease some of the burden on residential streets. They are also trying to secure parking lots at Micheltorena Elementary School and Los Angeles City College (which would come with a shuttle to the Fair).

    Entrance Fees vs. Donations: the City Attorney’s Office ruled that there are no ordinances prohibiting them from charging admission fees to events. The Sunset Junction organizers will charge festival attendees a fee, and proceeds will go to Sunset Junction’s community youth programs. Michael McKinley of Sunset Junction can tell you more about their programs; he can be reached at (323) 661-7771.

    The Sunset Junction agreed to give free entry wristbands to local residents who live 1 block North and 1 block South of Sunset Blvd. along the stretch where the fair is located. Residents can pick up the wristband (limit 2 per household) from Tsunami Cafe at 4019 Sunset Blvd. with proof of residence.

    The piece about public transportation is a great idea, and our office will pass it on!

  12. Having been a longtime patron of the Sunset Junction Fair prior to my years in New York, I had nevertheless become dismayed toward the end in regards Michael’s attitude as well as the alleged scandals, not to mention the ticketing snafus and the general attitude of the gate gorillas. (Although many of my friend’s bands as well as a girlfriend’s band or two–Texas Terri, Leather Hyman–played, I was still upset over the way Michael was treating the gate fee problem.)
    This year, however, I feel that closing off a public street for a private party, which perfectly describes the Sunset Junction Street Fair, is surely illegal as well as unlawful.
    I noticed that Mr. Kamensky failed to include “public street” when he stated, “Entrance Fees vs. Donations: the City Attorney’s Office ruled that there are no ordinances prohibiting them from charging admission fees to events.” Of course, concert promoters CAN charge fees, but I am dubious that they can do so when the event is held on taxpayer-subsidised thoroughfares.
    Too, in this day and age of paperless billing and post office boxes, not everyone has a “proof of residence” (and who determines what is “proof of residence”?). Those who do have paper billing might well, as I did when I lived on Hyperion, have such things sent to one’s post office box. “And drivers’ licenses?” one might ask. I have had a post office box as my address on my license for well over a decade–whether in NYC or Los Angeles–and were I still on Hyperion, how could I prove where I live?
    Finally, what about those who are greatly inconvenienced by the noise, parking, crowds and trash, but who live one and a half or two blocks away? There are many working class folk whose only opportunities to get groceries are on Saturdays and Sundays. I doubt that, just like in the past when even media requests regarding the misuse of funds went unanswered by Mr. McKinley, they will get any answer about the great inconvenience he will no doubt cause them.
    But as Mr. Kamensky’s boss, Mr. Garcetti, writes for the neighbourhood newspaper for which I am even now doing production for the September edition, perhaps I can attempt to get some more definite information in regards what I feel is not right. Namely, the private use of public streets.
    I will post later to let folk know of my results.
    cheers, Randall Fleming (formerly Rev. Randall Tin-ear, Angry Thoreauan MagaZine)

  13. Randall – While I don’t think that the city streets should be be blocked off for parties, I’m am trusting that Josh is correct in that there is no ordinance that prohibits this. But that doesn’t mean that there SHOULDN’T be one. Maybe someone with a mind for research can scan the ordinances to find where this would be included.

    I’ve not heard, since the posting of this, of any residents having any problem getting their free tickets.

    Yes, I find it a pain in the butt to have to go miles out of my way to get to the Von’s (or go to Ralph’s instead), but it’s only one weekend a year and since it’s been going on for 25 years we’re all getting used to it.

    Silver Lake Dog Owner – you might want to call (323) 661-7771 to check. There’s nothing on the website either way. I tried calling MANY times, but no answer.

  14. Cybele,
    I only wish Michael had your sense of diplomacy.
    To be sure, I have a bit of a bad attitude (then again, that was why I had a rag called Angry Thoreauan and penned, for many years, a rapacious column for Flipside–what the hell happened to Al, anyhow?!–prior to moving to NYC and living comfortably among denizens who would not hesitate to riot were any one of there any-given-weekend’s street faires closed off to a non-paying public), but I still feel that Mr. McKinley should be held accountable. Storming out of a session with the public he purports to be supporting–nearly seven years ago, now, if I recall–should not be forgotten nor the last memory of his legacy.
    And having been not only a former cop (too stupid to remain among the stupid, I might add, which is why I always insist on adding “former” when mentioning that which I did some twenty-plus years ago) but among the inside of the way the government moves (in Montgomery, AL, in the early 1980s, and in Brooklyn, NY, a few years ago) as well as a writer of a couple decades, I cannot help but question the vernacular of any and all public servants. (Which is not to disparage the fine office of Eric Garcetti, natch.)
    I merely feel that what has occurred at the Sunset Junction Fair over the years has been one that, were I still a resident not burdened with a lack of proximity (not to mention the responsibility of a newspaper that is will be on the streets before the inevitable Sunset Junction articles Martin’s rag (L.A. Alternative), the Pasadena Weekly bastard (CityBeat) and the Astor Place-owned “L.A.” Weekly,” a rag what might as well have its offices at St. Mark’s Hotel, if ya know what I mean), I would not be held back by cheap metal fence-gates nor the gits that have in the past stationed their heat-stroked hideous selves for no other reason than to act as if they actually had a purpose.
    Sincerely, Cybele, I just gotta big mouth. I do appreciate, without any sarcasm, the forum you have created to allow folk such as myself to mouth off.
    And being an olde fan of The Cramps (I recall getting in quarrels with my friends, during a road trip to Florida, when “A Date With Elvis” came out, how that album sucked despite my fetish for paper–a fetish which bred my graphic design bureau and which to this day nourishes The BrickBat Revue, Blood Money Gazette, N.I.N.N.N.Y. and other rags–and the fantastic cover that was rivaled only by the DKs final studio LP, “Frankenchrist”), I do wish I could get out to see what Lux and Poison Ivy are up to these days. Last time I saw that lot was, well, I do not recall other than getting chastised by Ren and Helen at their club on Melrose, for climbing over the parking lot fence and sneaking in the rear door with a band…

  15. Thanks so much for your explanation, Randall.

    Honestly, I think it’s wrong that they charge money and that the fair has become “exclusive” instead of “inclusive” but I’m not the on to change it. I have my activism eyes focused elsewhere.

    The thing for me is that I don’t like street fairs, I don’t like large gatherings of people: the throngs, the sweat, the noise, the blazing sun, the chaos, etc. So making it free isn’t going to please me in the largest sense of the word (but then again communities should not gather together to please misanthropes). The idea that someone closes down ‘my’ street and strongarms people and makes a lotta noise and charges money for it is abhorrent. I don’t find that this enhances my view of the community.

    The little thing that I can do is ease the burden on those who do live near by helping to find at least a few small solutions to the problems that I think I can solve. Parking.

    Get more people on public transpo, get them to take advantage of the satellite lot and of course remind them that they are guests in those neighborhoods and they’re welcome if they behave themselves.

  16. I sent this email to the organizers of SJ Street Fair and a bunch of friends. Most have written the organizers in disgust of this year’s admission charge. Not to mention, the embarrassing idea of the VIP lounge

    — dino dinco

    Feel free to forward it:

    Shame on the organizers (and the sponsors) of Sunset Junction for continuing to use the motto: “To live in harmony with our neighbors,” while charging a mandatory $ 12 – 15 admission fee.

    From the festival’s launch, the Street Fair for many years was a true community event, open to all, regardless of income, and a noble attempt to bring harmony between the gentrifying neighbhorhood with the long established Latino community, including the gangsters who resided there. The gays, the gangsters, the gay gangsters, the hipsters, and plenty of stroller-pushing family units let their collective hair down, ate some grilled corn, got drunk on draft beer, rode carny-staffed rides and listened to indie bands or danced in one of the several dance areas. The admission was typically a “suggested donation” usually around $ 5 – 8, yet a donation still. It was the event where you saw friends you’ve had for over a decade – or met new friends, and their friends. It was the annual event you didn’t think was really possible – gays & heteros of all colors, the poor, the monied, junkies, trannies, 12-steppers, lawyers, couples, the waitresses from Millies, singles, nuns, your ex-boyfriend, your new wife, homegirls making out with nerds, rock stars, kids, gangsters trying to still flex some muscle, movie stars, the guy who hung out in front of Cafe Tropical with the fucked up guitar, people visibly ill from HIV / AIDS, the Silver Lake Walker, that guy who was in the movie you just saw at the Vista….They were all there and you thought, “This is why I’m in Silverlake.”

    Smells like this $ 12 – 15 admission fee is an accurate reflection of how Silver Lake is headed and the organizers of the festival should be looking for another motto. Something like “To live in harmony ONLY with our neighbors who can afford it. But definitely not the rest of you. This is the new Silver Lake. Another ‘hood of exclusion.”

    I’m sending this to the organizers of Sunset Junction. If anyone feels the same, feel free to write them at:

    [email protected]

    Dino Dinco
    A resident of Silver Lake for 13 years


  17. I think that the city didn’t wave their fees this year, for Sunset Junction. That’s why it’s no longer a donation. I went up to Tsunami Cafe to get the free tickets, since I live half a block from the Junction. They told me they were no longer giving out the tickets and couldn’t tell me why.
    Additionally, the 4100 bar had speakers out in their parking lot and they blasted music until 2am Saturday night. I’m really hoping it doesn’t happen again tonight because I have to get up early for work.
    This is definitely not a neighborhood affair, it’s for west siders to take a walk on the wild side. I don’t really care that that’s what it’s become, but everyone should stop pretending it’s a neighborhood event. It’s a total pain in the ass if you live here, and I really really would like to know where the money goes.

Comments are closed.