Silver Lake Jubilee is a little sapling, but its roots are deep. The neighborhood's newest street festival sprouts this weekend in the shadow cast by the annual Sunset Junction street fair, a massive 30-year-old event that has created controversy in recent years for becoming too big and expensive for its humble roots.
By contrast, the Jubilee is a peppy — and fast-growing — young upstart. It debuts with an impressive lineup of 50 bands from across the city, more than 30 gourmet food trucks and more than 60 local vendors selling unique handmade wares — not to mention a genuine sense of community awareness.
"Those kids have moxie," Sarah Dale, who has owned area clothing boutique Pull My Daisy for a decade, says of the Jubilee organizers. "They've gone about it with good intentions and good will. I'm cautiously optimistic, just to see the event's impact on the people and businesses here, but I hope it's successful."
"We're trying to be a complement to Sunset Junction," says Jubilee communications director Linh Ho, who is quick to dispel notions that the event is competing with the older, more developed festival, which draws tens of thousands of people and internationally recognized recording artists for two days each August. The differences, however, are striking: Sunset Junction's cost has swelled from a $5 donation to a $20 ticket in recent years, whereas Jubilee admission is $5 and will be staffed by a team of more than 150 volunteers.
Another difference, Ho says, is the Jubilee's green initiative. "We are a zero waste event," she says. "We're looking at a 90% landfill diversion." Plastic water bottles will not be sold at the Jubilee, nor will Styrofoam cups or plastic bags be allowed at vendor booths. In addition, the Jubilee, which benefits the L.A. Arts and Athletics Alliance, has partnered with L.A. Metro to encourage Angelenos to ride public transit to the event. Attendees who bus to the Jubilee will qualify for a buy-one-get-one-free offer. "That's a unique selling point in how we differentiate ourselves from other festivals," Ho says.
"We wanted to deliver a new neighborhood festival with some fresh ideas that we really think encompasses what this little part of town is all about," Jubilee Executive Director Jack Martinez says. Drawing from the creative, cultural and social hubs of Silver Lake and surrounding neighborhoods Los Feliz and Echo Park, the Jubilee collected a unique cadre of local resources to develop its schedule. The music advisory board, which includes Mitchell Frank of Spaceland Productions and Neil Schield of Origami Vinyl, selected the bands — including Nico Stai and the Radar Brothers — for the Jubilee's three stages.
The Silver Lake Jubilee trumpets much more than noteworthy local music. Additional highlights include standup comedy from Texas transplant and Last Comic Standing winner Iliza Shlesinger, an appearance by roller derby queens the L.A. Derby Dolls, and an installation from activist-art group Fallen Fruit, which will be the highlight of the Jubilee's Eco Village. One of four interactive villages at the Jubilee, the Eco Village showcases xeriscaping and permaculture gardening approaches that conserve natural resources.
The colorful Arts Village, developed by Junk Galleries owner Mike Kelly, will present zines and artwork from more than 50 galleries, small-press publishers, and artists. The literary village, overseen by local poet David Shook, will feature literary presses, magazines and journals, literary nonprofits, and individual writers and poets, plus the Neighborhood Haiku Project, an interactive literary project to generate community literature. The Children's Village will have arts and crafts activities and storytelling sessions.
In the end, the Jubilee's mission is to make the sprawling city of Los Angeles seem a little smaller, a little more intimate and a little more aware through creative community involvement. "These types of things are happening every night here," Martinez says. "We want to show people that this is the type of talent thriving in these neighborhoods and why people should continue to come here throughout the year to experience entertainment of this level."
Silver Lake Jubilee
Where: Myra Avenue between Fountain Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, Silver Lake
When: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Price: $5. Children 10 and younger, seniors 60 and older, free