Sunset Strip Music Festival’s Losses Tripled Last Year

sunset strip music festival 2013
Sunset Strip Music Festival 2013 (Photo by Jon Viscott)

Last Fall’s Sunset Strip Music Festival posted losses triple those of the year before according to financials provided to the City of West Hollywood. The festival, an annual event of the Sunset Strip Business Association (SSBA), lost $1.045 million.

Previous losses of $350,000 in 2013 and $432,000 in 2012 had led the West Hollywood City Council to consider putting the 2014 event on hiatus. But at a meeting in April the Council supported a proposal by the SSBA to move the event from August to September and engage an outside contractor, the Nederlander Organization, to manage the event. Under the proposal Nederlander was to receive 25 percent of revenue associated with the event.

The festival, which began in 2008 as a celebration of Sunset Boulevard’s role in rock music history, is staged each year by the Sunset Strip Business Association. The association is funded by a fee levied on business members along The Strip that are its members. A report last year said that over time the city has spent $540,000 to cover expenses related to police and fire services and erection of street barricades and has waived $46,400 in fees. The Council agreed in April that the SSBA would reimburse the city for the $125,000 in expenses it incurred related to the 2014 event.

The 2014 festival drew criticism from area residents and some City Council members because of its noise. Some residents said it caused their windows and walls to rattle and one told the City Council he had to leave his home for the weekend because of the sound.

“I too heard the thumping all day for two days,” said Councilmember John Duran, who lives on Harratt Street near Sunset Boulevard, during the September Council meeting. “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 at the Council meeting. “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 also suffered from poor attendance. The Orange County Register described the Festival’s Saturday attendance as “seriously depressing” until the performance of headliner “Jane’s Addiction.”

The festival’s financial information will be presented to the City Council at a future meeting. Todd Steadman, SSBA executive director, has not responded to requests from WEHOville for comment on the music festival.

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Dick Bird
Dick Bird
5 years ago

Also the 2013 show I was ATTACKED by a security person because I got 2 close to the stage. MY VIP pass was clearly visible. But I understand,60 yrs old, 135lbs, Cancer patient, Yeah I needed to get body slammed

C. Lee
C. Lee
5 years ago

This existing city council is a joke..that is why I didn’t vote for any of them on my absentee ballot. Kick their asses out now. Signed SSMF Supporter.

Voice in WEHO
Voice in WEHO
5 years ago

The biggest laugh in branding is the claim that WEHO is the creative city. This “music festival” survives while the semi-illiterate city council closed the book fair and there is no live theatre presence except a couple of rental houses. Looking at the lawyers and architect on the city council – one wonders if they ever open a book or go to the theatre? Vote out all incumbents…

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
5 years ago

Oh, and I hope you caught my pun on LYRE versus the true spelling.

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
5 years ago

Clearly, I am for Lindsey Horvath, John Heilman and…well see. You are kidding right, I am Michael Dolan, 28 year resident of West Hollywood. Yes I volunteer for Lindsey because see is intelligent, progressive, liberal, visionary, and stands up for all of West Hollywood. I’m pretty smart too and know who to back. I am a gay married man to Jay Fuentes. You have an unusual but cute spin on the inner workings of West Hollywood. Not factual or true but cute. I suspect you believe in term limits, it, purely a Republican ideal. I’m a Democratic, Progressive and liberal.… Read more »

Gregory Thomas Factten
Gregory Thomas Factten
5 years ago

Mike Dolan should come out and clearly identify himself as the person behind Lindsey Horvath’s campaign. In that way, we can really put his comments in context and realize that his attacks on Mayor D’Amico are politically motivated. He should also check the facts before stating half truths. The Sunset Strip Music Festival is the brainchild of Mayor Pro Tem Heilman, and his Deputy, Fran Solomon has been the executor of the event along the SSBA staff and business owners like Maglieri and Nic Adler. There’s a clear reason why that office has been “unofficially” known inside and outside of… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
5 years ago

So John Heilman was “horrified” when he saw how close the stage was to the residential building. While we don’t expect our City Council to micro manage every aspect of City policy or municipal programs, you would think that City Staff who was working with the promoter would have exercised more common sense. What about the obvious inept leadership of the Sunset Strip BID? Will City Council exercise some accountability? Obviously someone at City Hall knew where the stage would be located and did not have the good sense to understand it would be a problem. Isn’t it funny how… Read more »

WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
5 years ago

mike dolan made the same post to another article recently. don’t know why he won’t reminds us of his support of lindsay horvath (google him and see his twitter feed).

Bernadette Parinello
Bernadette Parinello
5 years ago

What a sh*tshow this was! First, I am offended that nobody from the city did a site visit to see just how close those stages were to residential buildings. Especially with an event like this that has been losing hundreds of thousands, if not millions for years, and especially with the city apparently absolving themselves of all responsibility by giving the keys to the kingdom to nederlander (though Live Nation which manages live events all over the world is in weho and clearly knows what they’re doing) you’d think Paul Aravelo, or at least one of the 5 councilmembers or… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
5 years ago

Also cut the public/street closure concerts to one day, as it was initially.

Aussie Bob
5 years ago

“If it doesn’t DIRECTLY benefit our city only stores and bars, why allow it?” — I don’t understand this comment, the stores, bars, hotels, etc pay taxes to the city based on their earnings – those taxes then go to improving the city — therefore when local business benefit, the city and its citizens benefit. The festival DID take place in the local venues, as well as the street. The problem with confining the festival only to the venues is — they’re too small. I’m not sure how many concerts you go to, or the last time you went to… Read more »

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
5 years ago

How much does Halloween cost the city? Thats how much the festival should get. They can raise the rest through ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise etc.