By Shawn Flannigan
I am inviting everyone to attend a neighborhood meeting to discuss issues about the Hudson Block Party and the neighborhood’s next steps. The meeting is TONIGHT, Thursday, May 24th at 6:30 p.m. at 1217 N. Laurel Avenue.
As the long string of comments following will attest, my neighborhood is extremely upset following the HUDSON BLOCK PARTY NIGHTMARE we experienced for more than 20 hours this past Sunday. This event went from a fairly small "Anniversary Party" with some music last year in August to a now supposedly “annual" Music Festival with more than 10,000 attendees according to People Magazine.
At the end of the day, both the City of West Hollywood and the Hudson let us down. This wasn't a "block party." Local business weren't invited to participate. It wasn't for the neighborhood at all.
The city's one and only response to this disaster was in the form of Councilman John Heilman directing City Manager Paul Arevalo to look into how the neighborhood was notified during the City Council Meeting on Monday. That's the response from City Hall??? Really??? The city couldn't even comment on their nonexistent logistical pre-planning of this event to minimize the incredible impact on the neighborhood?
Let's forget for a moment that this event should not have even been approved by the city in the first place and check a few things:
- More than 25,000 people were invited to attend the event on their Facebook and a ton of advanced PR went out
- All of the bands and DJ's were secured to play
- Plenty of food and liquor was ordered and vendors were brought in to set up booths
- Staff was scheduled and fencing, toilets, tents and other equipment was secured
The city notified Metro to reroute their buses to Fountain Avenue and did a great job of protecting the plants in the Matthew Shepard Memorial Park that day, but certainly didn't protect its RESIDENTS!!!
It's unfathomable how on earth nobody cared enough about the impact on the neighborhood to even question whether this event should be held at all. The fact is, we did NOT get a mailing from the city rather, we received a short note from one of the Hudson co-owners just 3 days before at our doorstep (that is, only if you don't live in a secured building), but even if the city had done a mailing to every resident within 500 feet, how would 3 days be enough time to react in a meaningful way to all of issues with this event?? Yes, it was already a done deal and who cares what the neighborhood thinks.
Absolutely ZERO parking arrangements were worked out in advance and the fact is there's only ONE very small parking lot in our neighborhood that holds maybe 40 cars, if that. That's it folks, no other parking available except street parking, which is already at a premium for residents who must drive round and round daily to find a spot for themselves.
Second biggest issue to us is the noise. This event is smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood on all sides. This wasn't held at West Hollywood Park where there's somewhat of a buffer of the PDC, library and other business. The Main Stage was positioned at the back of the Bank of America parking lot and directly under several apartment building windows!!! What were they thinking???? The sound barreled straight down Laurel Avenue across the street and echoed throughout the residential neighborhood on all sides.
Thirdly, neither the Hudson nor the city had ANY idea whatsoever what the attendance would be since it wasn't limited to pre-ticket sales. What would you have done if 25,000 people converged on this little quaint corner? Yes, "what if's" are important in event planning.
Luckily the West Hollywood Sheriffs Department did a wonderful job by all accounts at keeping the peace, but in our minds, this was the only thing done right!
Further, it's hard to believe the B of A lot was approved by the Fire Department, as it was jammed packed with people (as all of the pictures show) and there's only one way out. Yes, the "what ifs" are important.
We give ZERO stock to those who think we're whining about all of this or ask us to consider where we chose to live or think we should "just move" In fact, that argument is just so tiresome. Never in a million years would we have thought the City of West Hollywood would give approval for a 10,000 person Music Festival in a bank parking lot.
Many of us have lived here for decades with virtually no issues, so why now? Why wasn't this event held at West Hollywood Park or elsewhere where thousands of parking structures and lots are available? As Emily Green of the Guest of a Guest website summed it up all too well after attending the event and reporting on our neighborhood being "pissed" (her word): "Listen, I wouldn't be thrilled if I lived over there too." Right you are Emily, right you are!!
By the way, how much was raised for the SOVA Food Bank?
PLEASE LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD – attend a Neighborhood Meeting to discuss our issues with the event and our next steps TONIGHT, Thursday, May 24th -- 6:30 p.m. at 1217 N. Laurel Avenue.