Silver Lake loses another street festival

Photo by Parker Knight/Flickr

After the sprawling Sunset Junction Street Fair collapsed in 2011,  the attention of many music fans turned to another neighborhood festival, the Silver Lake Jubilee, a fledgling but lively event featuring up-and-coming  performers and community activities.  But anyone who wants to attend this year’s Jubilee will have to go to downtown Los Angeles, where the organizers will hold the event on private property. In fact, the words “Silver Lake” have disappeared altogether from the name of the event , which is now known as the Jubilee Music & Arts Festival.

The change of venue was needed to get the Jubilee “off the street,” said Jack Martinez, who heads the Los Angeles Arts and Athletics Alliance, the nonprofit that produces the event. “It’s really hard to shut  the street down and build things over night.”

It has also become much more difficult to generate revenue from events held on public streets. Not only is the city demanding that event organizers shoulder the cost of street closures, many residents expect events held in public spaces should be free. Martinez said he understands that sentiment but that the Jubilee needs to charge admission to pay the artists, provide the necessary services and fund programs sponsored by the non-profit group.

“I wish I could throw a festival for free,” Martinez said. “But it’s not fiscally responsible.”

In addition, Martinez said that the Jubilee, which was initially rooted in Silver Lake and Echo Park, had grown beyond its neighborhood focus. “In terms of coming into our own and figuring who supports us, we ended up finding out it was the music and arts community … throughout Los Angeles.”

Unlike previous Jubilee’s  held on Silver Lake streets near Sunset Junction, this year’s Jubilee  will take place on private property near Santa Fe Ave and the Sixth Street bridge on June 7 and 8. The property, which is frequently used for film shoots, includes a large parking lot and several buildings, which will contain performance stages. Right now, Martinez is busy putting together a line up of performers.

If anyone is interested in organizing a new Silver Lake music festival on city streets, Martinez recommends that they should be aware of the politics involved and be able to communicate well with a wide range of public agencies, neighborhood groups and residents. They should also expect that everyone will want the event to be free.

Interested in performing in this year’s Jubilee? Contact the organizers at jubileepresents@gmail.com

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  1. Bravo to these organizers. and good for Silver Lake.

    I originally loved the Sunset Junction Street Fair, but I came to resent it. Yes, it did seem that if they were going to close public streets, there at least should not be a charge to go to the fair. (They made plenty of money off the beer and alcohol sales, and the rent on the booths.) Gee, the fair put a monstrous imposition on the surrounding streets, what with the mob of people and horrendous number of cars all over the streets, even in blocking driveways. These organizers recognize that and in a very good decision, have moved it to a private space, and I believe not a location where it will be an enormous impact on the surrounding streets.

    Of course, I also realize that probably the biggest reason here is the huge costs the city is now imposing on such festivals. Just shows how that policy which our Councilman Garcetti used as a weapon, has served to backfire, killing out festivals.

    That is the very issue that served to kill the Sunset Junction Street Fair, with Garcetti running an extreme character assassination against Michael McKinley, the organizer, over that issue. McKinley had been meeting with city officials to ask the city to reduce the charges from the previous year. The city had imposed it on the fair the previous year on short notice, and money just was not budgeted for it, it was a huge amount. (They made them hired of horrendous overload of LAPD officers, and at overtime wages, plus take out a huge amount of insurances, and other costs.) In private space, the Jubilee organizers will not have to serve as a get-rich-quick fund for LAPD, but can pay reasonable wages to qualified security people.

    But Garcetti mounted a campaign of character assassination against McKinley and saw to it that the fair could not get a permit for the upcoming one. Extreme money-grubbing Garcetti made it out like McKinley was some kind of evil criminal endangering the world — even though many other festivals get waivers of the fees. Gee. Garcetti showed his complete lack of ethical behavior or even an iota of honesty. As far as he was concerned, anything was justified, no matter who he destroyed, to get money he might want to spend.

    Garcetti served to bankrupt that fair, and the organization behind it — because of the cancellation of the upcoming fair at the last minute, for which contracts had to be signed many months earlier. And such a shame, as Michael McKinley is the most significant force to make Sunset Junction what it is today. I will never vote for Garcetti for so much as dog catcher — someone launching that kind of severe deviousness and mudslinging must not be in any position of significance. He destroyed McKinley with lies and innuendo.

    • Dear Mark, (or Michael?)
      In response to all of your ridiculous comments, insults to our intelligence and outright lies; No, It wasn’t character assassination that did in McKinley and the SJSF, It was more like character suicide. And don’t blame Garcetti for it, it was the community outcry that began about 10 years ago. Councilman Garcetti actually kept giving Michael more and more rope until he hung himself with it.

    • Garcetti didnt give Mckinnley more and more rope. The city is looking to increase revenue and they saw a cash cow. The bad blood that Mckinnley had with the neighbors lost him support from the community although I dont think that would have been enough to save him because it was really about the city coffers.

      Having said that I loved the Junction and I had a business there for six years. It was noisy, smelly, inconvenient and FUN. personally I didnt make money on those two days ( then again I didnt really put myself out there) but I can’t believe all the spoil sports who can’t be inconvenienced in the slightest for two days for the sake of a great neighborhood party! Things like this are what gave us our reputation. the other Mark is right rather than receive any revenue the city would rather tax these things out of existence.

  2. Hi. I just wanted to know when this festival will take place, how much the admission will be, and what the exact location will be. I would appreciate any information I can get, so I can attend this event. Thanks!

  3. As a resident of Downtown Los Angeles. I think that a music festival would be a perfect fit, along with the Art Walk and a small farmers market on Sunday. As far as street closures, we endure them everyday with all the filming taking place. Perhaps a combination of Music and Art Walk Festival would be attractive to Funders.

  4. Can you name exactly what street fairs, that close down major streets and attract thousands of people, get waivers on fees? I am curious.

    Why would someone who is making tons of money off $20 entrance fees and alcohol sales and booth rentals get something free from the city, when street closures impact local economics adversely?

    This character assassination you speak of consists of McKinley not paying the city for services rendered…deadbeat. That is simply a fact, dude’s org wasted tons of money and didn’t do anything positive: http://www.laweekly.com/2011-09-01/news/sunset-junction-s-failed-mission/

  5. Did you miss the part of the story that specifically pointed out the city fees as a significant part of the reason for going to private property instead? As it noted, even with charging at the door, it is very difficult to come up with enough money for those fees — the Jubilee had a hefty door charge too. Hey, all those bands in the festival have to be paid, some as much as $25,000 for their one show — times all those bands.

    It seems the huge city fees are the straw that broke the camel’s back. As I recall, they were close to a half a million dollars for the Sunset Junction fair. And the huge amount of insurance they city requires costs something similar.

  6. Come to the San Fernando Valley. We love fairs, we have Balboa Park and Woodley Park which hold many festivals and there’s plenty of parking. Ventura Blvd gets closed down for Taste of Encino and Tarzana and the Sherman Oaks Fair. And that’s just the south side.

  7. Bottom line, Sunset Junction is a neighborhood defining fair, and without it, Silverlake wouldn’t be what it is today. The city significantly inflated fees charged to Sunset Junction, in comparison to simillar sized events, and even far larger scale events paid much less. This was the item on table for discussion. SJ agreed to pay what they rightly owed with a fair accounting of fees.

    SJ had the monies to pay for 2011 and Andrea Alarcon, the newly departed head of Board of Public Works, was aware of this the day before the final hearing that killed Sunset Junction. The monies were backed by Live Nation.

    So basically, a cash strapped city hungry for revenue knowingly flushed it down the toilet to play politics. The business owners of Silverlake also lost their big revenue day and Silverlake became a ghost town.

    Please vote for Wendy Greuel for Mayor of Los Angeles 2013.

    • Actually, what you said is pretty right on. However, Wendy Gruel unfortunately is no better than Garcetti. They both are the worst choices we have had for mayor in many decades. In fact, the entire roster of candidates for mayor this time around are the worst choice we have had in at least many decades. But unfortunately, the two top contenders — because the Times bludgeoned that concept into everyone’s minds simply on the basis of a ton of developers and unions giving money to them — are the worst of the pack. But none of the candidates are even close to acceptable, none can be tolerated at all.

      So, look for the one who can be elected but once done, will be the least effective at getting a bad agenda moved. The last thing you want is someone who will actually be abel to get their bad agenda through. And what a horrible way to have to select a mayor. Its come to not even so much as the lesser of the evils but try to find the lesser of the competency.

    • Uh, Silver Lake is a “Ghost Town”??? You might wish that to be the case but it simply ain’t so.

  8. Best part no more city street closures and the city will still charged them to have officers work the outside of he venue. You have a concert rent an actual venue, like the Greek theater or Nokia! Bye bye

    • Jesus – we live in Southern California where the weather is nice so why shut ourselves indoors when we can connect with community outdoors? That’s what this is about. Street Fairs have long been part of our culture and a few street closures are not going to kill you. It’s two days out of a 365 day year. We deal with much more inconvenience with film and tv shoots, awards shows and special events, detours from street work etc.

    • “Bye Bye”

      Way to close a muddled argument!!!

  9. Sunset Junction was a really fun, cool, unique to LA event that only ate up one weekend. I live in Silver Lake and looked forward to it every year. It’s too bad money and politics played into its demise. There wasn’t anything like it in the city and it doesn’t look like it will ever come back. I’m from Milwaukee where they put on tons of street festivals and money and politics never got involved. Both the organizers and politicians are to blame for Sunset Junction. The people who didn’t want it in the neighborhood just made more of a stink about it than the people that wanted to keep it going.

    • You are right. I won’t claim to know the politics, coercion, and funny bookkeeping behind Sunset Junction, but I do remember the event was “suggested donation” in the early years. I was kinda broke back then, and five bucks got me into a great weekend of friends, families, and music. I appreciated that. Every year after the suggested donation went up until it was a mandatory door charge of twenty bucks a day or so in its recent incarnations, VIP lounges, and overall corporate douchiness. It was a worthwhile event in it’s earlier years. I’m not mourning the monster it had become one bit.

      • Actually in the early years, it was flat out free, not even asking for a suggested donation. There was no fence around it. The suggested donation came later, and the fence accordingly so as to press for the donation. Then the mandatory fee. They kept bringing in more and more expansive acts rather than just settle for the locals.

        Originally, the idea was a local community festival to bring all the elements of the community together to get to know and appreciate the different elements. A large part of it sprung out of the gay community seeking to have a repore with the gangs in hopes of creating a greater respect and avoiding gay bashing — and thus incorporated some gang types as monitors, to let them know they could be appreciated as part of the community, could become a positive force. And it didn’t limit it to that. It sought to bring ALL the groups of the neighborhood together to mix and be one — the rich, the poor, the in between, all the ethnic groups, all the lifestyles, all the ages.

        But it morphed away from that into being a major regional affair mostly simply using the space in Silver Lake. And that morphing and the more expensive acts — and the new city fees — brought on the mandatory charge. As they say, it got too big for its britches, lost sight of its roots and original purpose, ended up excluding many of the locals because of the significant charge at the door.

        • but, it was $15 and less if you bought tickets ahead of time….not really that significant for an all day/ very musically diverse event. i know most of the people spend a lot more than that on a days entertainment.

          it was still a regional fair…it was OUR fair. like having a great party to share with others “outside” the neighborhood. it started off as a really bold idea to bridge the gap with the gangs and the gay community. because the same level of violence doesn’t exist now is not a negative thing. if you did go to the fair there was still many groups enjoying it…..young people, families, all races, people from all neighborhoods.

          the arguments of it being too big and too many people and then it’s not just for this neighborhood seem so circular it’s hard to figure out ….which is the problem …too many people and “outsiders” and if the “outsiders” were not welcome to park on our streets exactly who was wanted?

          maybe it is all nostalgia for the gang violence???

  10. Eric Garcetti is running for Mayor of Los Angeles and is running local TV ads saying how his district is number one because of his leadership. He uses other peoples hard work and takes credit for it. Sunset Junction’s over thirty years of working with local youth at risk is the reason the Sunset Junction area has been revitalized – Garcetti was 1o years old when this process began. With use of extortion, descrimination, and lies Garcetti shut down Sunset Junction and all it’s propgrams becasue Sunset Junction kept standing up to his attemps to take it over and give it to another entity for political favors. The real story will one day be told and it definitely will not put Garcetti in a good light.

    • Garcetti is a sleaze ball, no doubt. He’s leading race for some reason. Probably the same reason Obama is so popular amongst self professed “liberals”…an ignorant electorate.

      • Ed, you sure mention OBAMA a lot .
        It seems as if you think about OBAMA constantly.
        It’s been almost 4 months since the election results. Have you been thinking about OBAMA all this time?

        You need to get a life

    • nice of you to pat yourself on the back. However, no one person “saved” Silver Lake. It’s been a great neighborhood – for the 35 years I’ve lived here. Full of lots of different great people.

  11. the march east continues… los feliz has no street fair, silverlake now has no street fair, 2013 sees the arts district with a street fair… 2015 Boyle heights indie music street fair…

    • Actually, Los Feliz does have a street fair. Bands, rides, vendors. It’s on Hollywood Blvd. between Hillhurst and Vermont. It happened in July last year and I had a great time.

    • Eagle Rock too has got it’s fair going pretty well.

      • The Eagle Rock Music Festival is a terrific event catering to all music fans and LA denizens young and old …great food, beer, and again, great effin music from artists local and otherwise….and it is FREE….with street closures and all. It is actually nothing like the Silver Lake Jubilee, which has a niche market of fantastically hipsterific douchiness.

    • Los Feliz used to have one of the best Street Fairs in Los Angeles— but it has been ruined by Hillhurst Ave. real estate agents who have taken control of the BID Board. (And the 80K money pot of mandatory assessments on local businesses) Their version of the Street Fair last summer was so sparsely attended, you could have rolled a bowling ball down Hollywood Blvd. and not hit anyone. Another sad example of politics destroying a great event.

  12. I hope this doesnt happen to the eagle rock music festival.

  13. Does anyone remember the L.A. Street Scene that was held on the streets of Downtown L.A. in the mid-80’s (I think 1985 and 1986)? On one of the nights, punkers (yes, punkers) started a riot (fighting and throwing bottles) because they heard the Ramones were going to be playing, but they either cancelled or were never scheduled to play there to begin with. I went there in 1986 when I was fifteen, and a 24-year-old woman who worked at the ASCAP booth asked me for my phone number and called me that night. We never met up again, but that call did quite a bit for my young self-esteem. (Another installment of “TMI with James.”)

    • Here’s a brief video regarding the 1986 Street Scene. Not too interesting, though, and lots of cursing, so be forewarned.


    • I remember! I believe the riot happened after Fishbone played. The word was someone had a gun and people were chaotically running in each and every direction. It was insane…but I have to say, those were the days!

    • I was at the L.A. Street Scene in question, and it is a fiction that punk rockers started it. That was a police riot, and the LAPD moved in en masse and started clubbing and gassing the crowd and causing a stampede. There may have been a couple people acting rowdy, same as for any rock concert, but nothing to warrant the kind of overreaction it got from the cops, who in those days were looking for any excuse to bust some punk rock heads. I was next to a parking structure and was able to ride it out by stepping inside, and stay out of the action while still having a very clear view of everything that went down, but it was really appalling. The cops were going after everyone they crossed, whether punk or Regular Joe (or Jane).

      • I was there too and largely agree with Mynn13. My friend was nearly trampled by a horse mounted cop. It was the first time I had experienced police like that. Those were the days of Darryl Gates, Ronald Reagan & Margaret Thatcher. Not a high point for government in my book, but the music reaction those times prompted was certainly great!

    • I was thirteen. Had to climb a tree to avoid the cops with batons coming thru the crowd on horses.

  14. Never been a big fan of street festivals, myself. Guess its sad for those who enjoy them, though. Families and stuff, right?

    • I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned the group that suffers the most when the city shuts down street fairs: Pickpockets. These fine folks are on their feet all day, come rain or shine, and in recent years, it’s been tougher and tougher for them to make a living. Farmers’ markets don’t have the ideal crowd density for them to ply their trade, and working the Renaissance Faire is just too weird. The pickpockets’ union, the Pocket Tampering Association (PTA), reports that their members’ revenue is down an average of 15% between 2011 and 2012, and this year is shaping up to be equally rough.

  15. I agree with Mark: ” It was noisy, smelly, inconvenient and FUN”….like LIFE is. Silverlake was a neighborhood with something special and NON corporate…Garcetti was able to use his political power thanks to the help of our neighborhood council and the shop owners to turn Silverlake into just another suburban shopping center. And Yes like Eastside girl says we are inconvenienced all the time….usually not for something we can participate in either.

    I won’t pretend to know everything that goes into putting on an event like this, but I DO know it takes way more than what the booths are paying. Seriously. And, it is far more than what the musicians are being paid (although that is part of it…and their travel…the time negotiating with their managers) plus there are services like cash machines and toilets, security, insurance, stages and sound people….not to mention that it takes probably a full year of work to organize it. How many people can fund something like this and spend all year working on one weekend ….to see alot of great entertainment for cheap. Are there people that really think all this just appears and they make bank off some vendors paying for booths. That’s just silly.

    If we let politicians strong arm and bully anyone….don’t be surprised when it happens to you.

    • yhea no defense of the poor relationship mckinnley had with the community but specifically and in general people are clueless are in denial to how much work is involved in organizing these things.

      this mob mentality thinks they can do it better and that it should be free or dirt cheap and the organizers should do it for free. All this does is create a vacuum for the city and politicians to come in and justify manipulating it for their own gains. to me thats the most disturbing part is that people will overlook the much more invasive problem of politicalization and coercion if they feel it serves them in this skirmish.

      Guess what that only works until they come for you and your pocket book and if you look at the sneaky ways the city is increasing taxes they are coming after us believe me

      • I feel like the relationship with the community was damaged by rumors and twisted facts….it’s really not so easy to soothe a mob mentality and that’s really what he had to face.

        He did not bend to Garcetti and play along with his game and he was punished for it. I think it is worth remembering that that festival WAS free for years. Not only this city the has changed, but so has the world and it has become rare to have things that are not “private” or “corporate” . We are missing out when we expect that every single person has to agree on every single thing. It dulls life in every way.

        McKinley was really made out to be a bad guy. He put on this festival for over 30 years….he didn’t suddenly decide to rip people or the city off. He stood up to politics which is more than most can/will do (probably including myself) and that is something to be admired. Every person who stands up to an injustice is also standing up for you.

        • Right on, Ruby!

        • Yes the situation was damaged by twisted facts for sure but that’s where the art of PR comes in. Anyone who works with the public or city long enough in this era will run into these problems. In order be successful you can’t become standoffish in the face of opposition. building strategic relationships and getting your message out is just part of the job description even if those who appose you are just plain wrong or even lying. To me that’s where Mckinnley is lacking he never considered it his job to make nice and in fact it is just part of the job in these times it just is and the better you are at it the more sucessful you’ll be. There is nothing wrong with not playing the game but you just won’t win if you don’t

          • The City of Los Angeles railroaded Michael McKinley and Sunset Junction right of out of business, for political reasons. The City charged Sunset Junction outrageously inflated “fees,” much more than were charged to other Street Fairs of similar size and scope. It’s not that McKinley was a deadbeat for not paying them, as someone previously commented– they were just ludicrous and unjust. But as ridiculous as they were, Live Nation had offered to pay them. They City said “no” just because the wanted Sunset Junction shut down.

            McKinley may have become cantankerous and a little greedy, but he didn’t deserve the character assassinations and smears of the local, jealous politicians. These smears were dutifully carried out by the local “media.” Most of these so-called media outlets are anything but neutral and independent. (Not referring to Eastsider LA here—who actually is very fair about presenting all sides of a given situation)

            Those with the talent and ability to attract an audience, to create profound live experiences on public grounds—-will always attract the envy of the local politicians, who think it should be all about them! Yes, they want all the glory, without doing any of the work. McKinley didn’t play the game, wasn’t an ass-kisser—and it hurt him.

            Due to ugly local politics, we now have no Sunset Junction, no Silverlake Jubilee, and a substandard Los Feliz Street Fair, taken over by realtors.

            Come on, Eastsiders! Let’s stop letting local politicians and special interests destroy our culture!

          • Mark.. I totally understand what you are saying and what you mean. I do understand that anyone will run into these problems, but what it’s not as easy as it looks on paper. We are human beings and some are better at others at getting what they want. What really shocked me was the ugly mob mentality of rumor and full on attack….with rumors that simply were not true and could really ruin someones life.

            I am not going to like every business owner or project, but if I start attacking and spreading lies to get my way I am really showing my own lack of character….the truth is still the truth if no one believes it and a lie is still a lie even if everyone is convinced it is the truth.

            Playing nice is one thing…Playing along is another. I want to see people win against politics and big business and I want them to succeed no matter if I like them or not.

            It just should not happen that if we cross a politician- our businesses or our lives become impossible because of their power. And I was disappointed that the neighborhood council and business owners did not act with integrity- and they could have been against the festival and acted with integrity still…that just isn’t the way it happened.

          • yhea were not really far off at all. I don’t think the smear campaign was warranted either. I’m just saying that we don’t live in a world of “should” and to play this game you need to be PR and politically savvy. Mckinnley wasn’t good at either of those things. I’m not saying I like it I’m just saying be aware of the reality.

            To be honest Mckinnley wasn’t good at reaching out to the “middle ground” either people with legit concerns but not an agenda or axe to grind. That should have been his base of supporters but because he didn’t there wasn’t enough support to offset the politics or even muster up a decent defense.

  16. I notice that everybody is talking about sunset junction.they are missing the story.It’s about the demise of the jubilee.I just happenened to come across the first one on a sun.afternoon 3 yrs ago,what a great time,and very low key,even the cops were having a good time!. I tended to stay at the sunset bridge stage on maya ave,{i think the tunnel behind the stage helped w/the acoustics}.i went last year,not quite the same,but still a good vibe. i knew it was too good to last.I don’t feel so sad about the demise if sunset junction,for it had turned into a monster. R.I.P. jubilee,you will be missed

  17. Wow! Bummer for Silver Lake, but a big win for DTLA.

  18. I can’t tell you how much I miss having people pee under my kitchen window, barf in my yard, park in my driveway, and break bottles all over my street while the pigs enjoyed the festival. Are you people insane? Go back to the westside!

  19. BLOOMFEST is FREE and it’s a block from this ‘new’ Jubillee.

    I don’t see why anyone would want to play or have their booth or attend Jubillee when there’s a better festival a month later in the Same area

  20. Make Music Pasadena hosts over 150 free concerts with big name talent and that festival is free. It is because the organizers work so hard to get the funding- the city rapes them with fees too.

    • Yup,
      Make Music Pasadena, Bloomfest DTLA, Los Feliz Street Fair, Eagle Rock Music Festival all FREE and ON the street only because they are more savvy in organization, unlike the organizers of Jubillee.

      So Mabey it’s just as well that Jubillee moves on ( and possibly fade away?) because it’s organizers don’t appear to be as capable as the afore mentioned festivals

  21. Plain and simple – should’ve kept it small and local for the neighborhood. The city didn’t decide to have Coachella on the street, the organizers did. This happens to everything these days. Someone puts together an amazing small local event then decides it should be huge. Not everything has to be gigantic and bigger than the previous year. These events shouldn’t be advertised in LA weekly. Local flyers in local stores on local telephone poles. If you live on the westside and happen to hear about it, awesome, come join the fun. The jubilee or sunset junction or whatever you want to call it next summer doesn’t need to be an international event. The Eastsider LA should have press coverage, not Rolling Stone. It bugs me to keep hearing about local this and local that. There’s nothing local about it. Keep it small. Keep it simple. NO HASSLES. No mega sponsors. Don’t get Heineken to sponsor you, go talk to Microbrew and see how they can help. In reality, you don’t even need a stage. Go to the country, see how it’s done. Bring that back to city, people will love you.

  22. I am still waiting on my vendor refund that was promissed to be paid back to me personally by mckinley , anyone know his phone # or address or where i can find him?

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