Life goes on for organizer of Silver Lake’s bankrupt Sunset Junction Street Fair

Sunset Junction Street Fair Clinton Steeds/Flickr

It’s been more than two years since the once giant Sunset Junction Street Fair was cancelled at the last minute over a stand-off between organizer Michael McKinley and the City of Los Angeles over unpaid city fees. The collapse of the 30-year-old Silver Lake music and community festival and the subsequent bankruptcy filing of McKinely’s nonprofit left a long list of unpaid bands, vendors as well as the City of Los Angeles.  The Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance, which McKinley headed, declared only $500 in assets and $928,000 in liabilities, according to court documents. While the bankruptcy case remains unresolved, McKinley has continued to remain active in the community as head of another nonprofit that operates the Silver Lake Farmers Market. Now, McKinley’s group is planning to open another market downtown.

The Downtown News reports that the Sunset Silverlake Charitable Foundation, headed by McKinely, will be opening an Arts District Market with an estimated 20 to 25 vendors in early October on Garey Street. Said the Downtown News:

McKinley, who lives in Silver Lake but owns a condo on Traction Avenue, said people who he sees in the Arts District kept asking when he would bring a market to the east side of Downtown. “People seemed to want it, that’s what motivated this,” he said on Thursday.

McKinley told the Downtown News that Garey Street would need to be closed every Sunday for the market. It’s not clear if McKinley has been granted permission to close off the street. Back in 2012, the city’s Board of Public Works denied McKinely’s group the permits  needed to block off Sunset Boulevard for the Silver Lake festival because officials claimed the city was owed substantial amounts of unpaid fees from previous years.

According to the 2012 bankruptcy filing, the City of Los Angeles was owed more than $256,000.


  1. It s non- profit business. File bankruptcy walk away start another non profit do it again. Non profits that profit for the founders. That’s the way the Game is played.

  2. I agree with the drivel and say put the founders in JAIL!!!!!STOP THE SCAMMERS!!!

    • ditto. this guy is a piece of work. good to know he’s involved in the silver lake farmers market, i can cross that off my to do list now.

  3. Sunset Junction Resident

    If he didn’t pay the bills from all that money that was generated from the sunset junction’s entry fee & vendor fees over the years! Where did that money go? Maybe to purchase that nice condo on traction street, or even that house in silverlake or his sidekick’s apartment by Union Station? We will never know.

  4. If the funds were so precious, how were they allowed to roll over year after year? Isn’t it a little odd the debt got called just before the campaign cycle for mayor and council district 13?

  5. McKinley may not be the most sympathetic character, but he was definitely rail-roaded by City of Los Angeles. The Fees he was assessed were outrageously inflated over what other of similar size and scope on public streets were requested to day.

    We was set up for this epic fail by a weary City- who just wanted this event to go away.

    No there are really no good public events on the east side, except for maybe the Culture Collide in Echo Park.

    The Los Feliz Street Fair held promise, but has become beyond a joke since it was hijacked by the local Los Feliz BID.

    The Eagle Rock music festival is actually pretty good.

    Anyhow, McKinley actually does a fine job with the Silver lake farmer’s market.

    • This guy is beyond shady. I live on the street where this farmers market is happening. He came to me a while ago and I said no. My neighbor across the street said no. The majority of building owners have said no. He has not reached out to the community for any support. The community isn’t benefitting from this. What is the “charity”?

  6. If I remember correctly, the issue was that once Sunset Junction started actually charging for tickets ($20 the last time), it was no longer considered a “non-profit” event. Therefore, they were no longer eligible for the free city services (cleaning, police, etc) that they enjoyed when they offered free admission, but with suggested donations.

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