Sunset Strip Music Festival: Issues About Noise and Poor Attendance

Jane's Addiction
Jane’s Addiction

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.”

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Sally
Sally
5 years ago

what I can’t understand, even beyond WHY the city continues to host this event when it has lost millions of dollars and hasn’t provided any benefit, is how come NOBODY from the city made a visit to Sunset to sign off on things? They didn’t look at the stages? They didn’t check the decibels of the sound? The clubs get checked regularly. Did they have contingency plans for safety and security or did they drop the ball on this too? Do they ALWAYS just so blindly sign away our streets? Both Halloween and CSW Pride are discussed in council ad… Read more »

Mike
Mike
5 years ago

I live just 1 parking lot away from where the festival was held. Personally I didn’t mind it because it’s on a weekend and they were done by 11:00 PM on Saturday and 10:00 PM on Sunday. Granted, it was like living near an artillery impact area during some of the performances but, what the heck, it’s only 2 days a year. We have Gay Pride and that is a lot more disruptive.

Melany
Melany
5 years ago

I would hope that all the fun Weho events would never get canceled, but this year’s music fest really caused me to worry and should cause everyone to worry. I’m 34. My neighbor is 24. We love this neighborhood and moved here because of all the fun activity and rich history. Many of us complaining aren’t angry old people, but reasonable young people. The SSMF is draining the city’s tax dollars in a way that could eventually prevent other activities such as Halloween, Pride, the Weho Pickup, etc. I’d love to see the music fest stay, but it would be… Read more »

C.R.
C.R.
5 years ago

Fair enough, Melany. But when a discussion like this veers into a selfish personal agenda of “let’s cancel the Halloween street fest” and “we must have our community in a noise-free zone after 10 pm on a WEEKEND,” baby we’re gonna tangle. I’ll tell you this, if the day ever comes when I complain about noise young people are making on the street any day of the week here between the Strip and Boystown, well that’s the day I need to start planning on decamping for Pasadena-Santa Monica-Malibu-Calabasas for good.

Mikie
Mikie
5 years ago
Reply to  C.R.

I say hear hear to melany!! She’s right. C. R. ,this wasn’t just noise. This was beyond noise! This was pure hell for those of us living in the surrounding streets. Look, i have lived on clark st. for 35 years. I don’t want to close down halloween, or gay pride or any of the other events. They are part of our community fabric. But in this case, the promoters took noise, vibrations, dirt, and street blocking to a whole new level! And nobody came to check or set guiidelines or rein them in. When the SSMF first started it… Read more »

C.R.
C.R.
5 years ago

Could somebody please tell me where I’m supposed to move to, if not wedged between the Sunset Strip and Boystown if I want to live in a party community? The reason I moved here and have lived here for 15 years is because I want to go to the bars until they close, go to street fests and rock & roll most every weekend. If I was interested in peace and quiet on a Sunday, I’d have moved to Calabasas.

Melany
Melany
5 years ago
Reply to  C.R.

Come on, guys. There’s a difference between a fun neighborhood and having the items in your house fall off the shelves. There’s a difference between “peace and quiet” and falling in the shower because the bass is thumping so loudly that you lose your balance. Most of the SSMF-adjacent residents (including myself) love the party community AND the festival. I’ve been to the fest for 4 years. I work in the music industry, for gods sakes. But this year was too loud for anyone to enjoy it. Hell, I went to the festival and it was too loud INSIDE the… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
5 years ago

My suggestion for my SSMF adjacent neighbors – we should get the attention of the incumbent council members running for reelection (Heileman, D’Amico, Land if she does run) and insist on a neighborhood meeting specifically on this when we have a chance for maximum attention. Get all people from the Soho Club south to Phyllis or Cynthia to the south, Palm to the west, and the block of the city north of Sunset invited to air our feelings.

Melany
Melany
5 years ago

I also live across the street from the new hip hop stage and I was appalled. I’m a huge fan and supporter of the fest and yes, it’s usually pretty noisy and we expect that. But this year’s noise level was out of control. When you can’t hear a conversation with someone in the same room as you, it’s too loud. When things are falling off shelves, it’s too loud. Not to mention they started a sound check at 7am on Saturday. I live across the street and I can’t imagine the noise level for people in the building directly… Read more »

Wayne Beau
Wayne Beau
5 years ago

As a resident/condo owner/voter living on Palm Ave in West Hollywood, I’m angry about the noise/traffic from the recent (Sept 2014) Sunset Blvd Music Festival. This festival should never have been approved and I totally oppose its return or the scheduling of anything similar. When I moved into the area, I realized I’d have to deal with Halloween, Gay Pride and New Year’s Eve disruptions but totally oppose the addition of even one more.

mike dunn
mike dunn
5 years ago

Concerning this event. Rock and Roll music is laud, always has been always will be. That’s what the Sunset Strip is all about. I can’t imagine why the event is loosing money but I guess it is even with a professional promoter. For those who think the Halloween festival should be canceled, how are they going to keep those celebrating out of the street? I can remember before we were a city people in the street with traffic attempting to avoid them. The only safe answer is to close the street. With the street closed there will be a celebration… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
5 years ago
Reply to  mike dunn

Let us hope that what happened this last weekend with the SMF is not lost on any of us or the city. It has proven that Bigger Better More is not always Best. Having grown up in LA I had always wanted to attend Weho Halloween some 30 years ago when people talked about the creative spirit of the night. “What an amazing event it is” Then something happened someone decided more would be better and outside promoters started to add stages and bands and more parties. I somehow can still remember the first time Rick Dees in the morning… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
5 years ago

Not really a newbie here – been living in WeHo for 14 years. Not sure that Halloween is a rich and important part of WeHo history like some other events are.

dana
dana
5 years ago

The music festival is important to West Hollywood’s history…People cannot forget how four blocks once in rock history not so long ago changed the world. It did. We should have honored this anniversary of the Rocky Horror Show at the Roxy and bowed to Lou and called it a day. BUT the concept is wonderful. And for you folk writing to bail on Halloween, you are insane. Unlike Pride, people really show up for Halloween and spend money. There is a rich and important history in West Hollywood and IF we let newbies delude it, in no time it will… Read more »

mikie
5 years ago

I hate the festival and, living so close to sunset, i dread it every year. Please make it go away and use our tax dollars on something more worthwhile!