West Hollywood residents complained to the City Council tonight about exceptionally loud noise during this past weekend’s Sunset Strip Music Festival, with some residents saying it caused their windows and walls to rattle and one saying he had to leave his home for the weekend because of the sound.
One resident, Sharon Segal, said her apartment building was only 62 feet away from a side stage on Sunset Boulevard erected for hip hop performances. “It rattled my windows and walls for two days,” she said. ” I’m all for music and the festival. But there must be a better plan for next year’s festival.”
Segal’s complaint was echoed by other residents along or near Sunset Boulevard and several Council members.
“I live on Harratt,” Councilmember John Duran said. “I too heard the thumping all day for two days. I think we fell down on the job … We contracted with Nederlander (and) it looks like we failed on community development and community interests. That won’t happen again.”
“When I saw how close that stage was (to residential buildings), I was horrified,” Councilmember John Heilman said. “We really haven’t had the same level of complaints in the past as we have this year. There are certainly things that need to be changed as we go forward, if we go forward.”
The festival has been staged each year by the Sunset Strip Business Association (SSBA), which has sustained significant losses with the event. Overall losses to SSBA on the festival were $350,000 last year and $432,000 in 2012. The SSBA’s revenue comes from assessments on businesses on The Strip. The festival also has been costly for the city, which last year donated $540,000 to cover expenses related to police and fire services and erection of street barricades and waived $46,400 in fees.
The losses led the City Council to consider recommending the festival be put on hiatus this year. Instead it recommended moving the one-day August event to September, when nearby hotels have more vacancies, and extending it to two days. The Council also recommended that the SSBA engage Nederlander Concerts to organize the festival.
The SSBA eventually will generate a report on the festival that will be presented to the City Council. But preliminary reports suggest that despite engaging Nederlander, attendance this year was smaller than in years past. The Orange County Register, for example, described the attendance on Saturday as “seriously depressing” until the performance of headliner “Jane’s Addiction.”