Fans of the Sunset Junction Music Festival may be left with nothing more than memories. Cash refunds for tickets and vending fees seem to be very much in doubt.
Last week, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works refused to issue a permit for the popular festival, which had been scheduled for the past weekend in Silver Lake. That may have spelled the end for the 31-year-old festival.
The board cited the failure of Sunset Junction organizers to pay nearly a quarter million dollars in back fees for police, fire, transportation and other city costs. Board members questioned whether the festival could pay more than $100,000 in new costs that would have arisen from the past weekend's event.
"When it came out last week that they owed money, I got interested," said ticket holder Cody Cundiff. "I really wanted to go, I'd already bought my tickets. When it came down last Monday that it wasn't going to happen, I held out hope for Wednesday. Then I started looking for a refund."
Sunset Junction had blossomed in 30 years from an eclectic community party to a major entertainment venue. Guitarist Zander Schloss recalls performing at Sunset Junction in the "good old days," about 5 years ago.
"It isn't what it used to be, " said Schloss. "I understand the city needs to make their money. But it used to be something that people in the neighborhood could enjoy and have access to."
Twitter was on fire about Sunset Junction Monday night and many festival fans said the organizers' silence on refunds was deafening.
L.A. City Councilman Tom Labonge was simultaneously nostalgic and pragmatic.
"The city wants to do what's right by Los Angeles, and that means pay as we go," said Labonge. "There was not the money by the promoter to pay for the related costs of the traffic officers, for realigning bus routes, for the police officers for the overtime. It's necessary to have the right public safety component, the paramedics and everybody else. It's unfortunate, but things do change."