When the Los Angeles Board of Public Works refused to grant permits to the Sunset Junction Street Fair in August, hundreds of unpaid bills were left littered in the canceled festival's wake. The city wished to be paid up front for costs associated with the street fair; festival organizers scrambled, and ultimately failed, to acquire the necessary funds.
More than 100 artists and musical acts were scheduled to appear, inlcuding Butthole Surfers, Ozomatli, Lil John, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and Hanson. Those artists, as well as vendors, the festival's own executive director, the IRS and the city (owed more than $256,000) are all among the more than 200 parties from whose debt the the Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance is seeking shelter.
The organization's liabilities total $928,423.04, according to court documents.
The street fair, held (until 2011) every year since 1980, started as a way to bring together the Latino and gay communities in the neighborhood. In later years, it became a fundraiser for the group's charity, Sunset Junction Youth Program, but, as LA Weekly reported, very, very little of that money actually made it to the program after permits, fees and expenses. In recent years, residents and business owners groused that the event had become too commercial and disruptive to the neighborhood.