Sunset Junction Bands Seek New Venues In Anticipation of Festival's Cancellation

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Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros performing at last year's Sunset Junction festival - COLIN YOUNG-WOLFF
  • Colin Young-Wolff
  • Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros performing at last year's Sunset Junction festival
(Editor's Note: Sunset Junction promoters insist the festival is still on this weekend, despite the denial of their permit yesterday. Artists and club owners are preparing for the worst, however.)

Shortly after Sunset Junction's permit was denied by the Los Angeles Board of Public Works yesterday, artists began scrambling to book shows at local venues. One Los Angeles booker -- who works with some of the city's most popular independent music venues -- says the situation has sparked a scramble among artists and their agencies desperate to secure a gig for the weekend, should the festival fall through.

"Sunset Junction is still acting like it's gonna happen. But the agencies are trying to look after the bands and secure them some money if it doesn't," says the source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, to protect himself professionally. "I doubt very much [festival organizers] even know agents are calling other venues and promoters."

Sunset Junction remains very much up in the air. The Board may reconsider granting a permit at their 9:30 a.m. meeting on Wednesday, but only if Sunset Junction's organizers come up with the $141,000 the city says it is owed for this year's festival. (SJ has begun soliciting donations. Dennis Romero at The Informer has more.)

"They better show up with a bag filled with money or the city is not gonna budge," he continues, adding that the festival organizers have been "barking up every tree" in search of money to pay the outstanding fees. Ironically, some of said trees include the local venues whom agencies are trying to secure for the weekend.

For now, everyone is in limbo.

"I don't think anyone feels comfortable having to wait until Wednesday and suddenly have to make plans," the source says. Should the venues book some of the acts preemptively, however, they face the possibility that Sunset Junction might go on as scheduled. "Everything is on contingency level. So if, we [theoretically] have the Dum Dum Girls and Art Brut set to play, and then suddenly Sunset Junction is a go, then we lose the show."

Such a lost show would have little consequence for the venue, and might even buy it some credibility with the artist or the agency. But local acts and club nights would have to be booted in favor of the bigger Sunset Junction performers.

Whatever the outcome, Los Angeles can still expect a weekend of great live music.

"Either way you'll have a bunch of cool pop-up shows that could happen," says the source. "Who knows? Maybe this is all just last second publicity by the organizers to get the public behind them. The city council could care less about the festival."

For pics from last year's fest, see "Sunset Junction 2010: Day One with Ghostland Observatory, Bad Brains and more" and "Sunset Junction 2010: Day Two with Lee "Scratch" Perry, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes and more."

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