Dead Sunset Junction

Viva Bush

So it sounds official. This year’s Sunset Junction Street Festival is dead. I wish I could be sad about it since I’ve had some great times there.

The picture above is from the festival in 2004. There was a George W. Bush re-election campaign booth, so I put the bumper sticker where it belonged. Who says politics and Diesel jeans don’t mix? As an aside, I still have those jeans although I haven’t worn them in years.

That year X headlined, but I really wanted to see The Unicorns who were great. They broke up soon afterwards, so I was happy to see them. I can’t remember if I was by myself watching the band or if I was with someone else. But it was nice to walk through the gates putting in just a little more than the suggestion donation of $8.

Nonetheless Cathi met up with me later along with the guy I just introduced her to: Tyson. Tyson had just become land-bound after working on a ship. Previously he was a denizen of Seattle. I met him through Michael whom I had known through LiveJournal and had just moved down here from Seattle.

So we went through the festival looking at the sights, eating funnel cakes, drinking lemonade, getting free American Spirit cigarettes in the tent, ducking the heat at Akbar and having cocktails, eating dirty dogs from the hot dog carts. If I remember, Cathi eventually was rolling on the sidewalk while I was just sitting on the sidewalk staring out into space.


The one in 2002 was also fun with Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney and Mudhoney playing. That one I was by myself just strolling around and just talking with random people. Being a loner, I’m perfectly happy by myself and being left alone.

But as the years rolled on, the festival went downhill. The suggested donation became a cover charge. It went from $8 to $10 to $12 to $15 and now to $25 they were going to charge this year. As the entrance fee went up, the lineup spiraled downward. As an example this year was supposed to feature Hanson. Yes, that Hanson.

If I had gone I would have gone to only see two bands: Butthole Surfers and Helmet. Thankfully they would have played on Saturday night so I would only have to shell out $25. But for other music festivals, that’s a rip off no? The Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago charged $45 for one-day passes. And their lineup included Animal Collective, James Blake, Thurston Moore, Guided By Voices, TV on the Radio, etc. etc. etc.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Butthole Surfers. I probably would have paid the $25 if they did a stand-alone concert. But this is a festival. Bitch, please.

The festival has suffered schizophrenic disconnect in recent years. It doesn’t know if it’s just a neighborhood street festival or a music festival. The organizers need to figure out what they are or their battles with City Hall and the neighborhood will continue.

For this year, no tears from me. Instead I’ll be at Dodger Stadium for the weekend doing my thing.

Edit: I totally forgot. Cathi and Tyson have been an old married couple for the past several years.