Festival de la Gente CANCELLED !!!!!!!!!

Through the electronic grapevine, I.E. I first read it/RT on twitter then I saw the press release on facebook, this years festival, which was going to be at Hollenbeck park is CANCELLED 🙁 This is what I personally consider a huge loss for not only Boyle Heights in terms of making some feria, but also, in a way, robbing the community of this kick ass Dia de los Muertos event. I loved that this years festival was going to be this weekend because it meant that I didn’t have to choose between going to Self Help and here. So why was it cancelled ? Because of $$$$$$ problems. From their press release, “Councilman Jose Huizar’s Office Unable to Waive Safety and Park Fees For What Would Have Been the 10 Annual Festival De La Gente LOS ANGELES, CA – The producer of the Festival de La Gente announced today his organization has been forced to cancel the festival that was to be held this weekend, on October 24 and 25, 2009. The producer was able to secure corporate sponsorships from GOYA FOODS, WELLS FARGO, HOY/Los Angeles Times, the WALT DISNEY Company and local art and food vendors for the budgeted costs. However, last-minute add-on fees from the City of Los Angeles for public safety and use of Hollenbeck Park were not covered by the City of Los Angeles as they have been in the past. Tony Dominguez, the producer of the event and Executive Director of Arte Calidad Cultural Institute, the non-profit organization that produces the festival, has said, “In good faith, I began this process of partnership with Los Angeles City Council District 14 back in March of 2009. Per their request, I pursued a new location for the festival at Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights. Last week I was informed of the additional fees associated with the new location and the Department of Recreation and Parks. Those costs were more than 30% of the event’s current budget and we could not raise replacement funds with such short notice. The Councilman Huizar’s office representative, Ana Cubas, stated, “Our office, like the entire city budget has faced major cutbacks,” in explaining why it could not support the festival this year although Mr. Huizar name is used in all promotional material including the web site. Marketed as the nation’s largest “Día de los Muertos” commemoration, the free festival typically includes a display of giant paper maché skeleton characters joining in the fun. Día de los Muertos is a Latin American cultural tradition that honors life and the spirit of family and friends who have passed on. The iconic playful skeletons were made famous by Mexican artist Jose Posada and are recreated by famed L.A. based paper maché artist, Tony Dominguez. In an effort to build community pride and acknowledge biculturalism, the 2-day cultural festival would have featured children’s themed arts and crafts, an altar contest, and traditional foods. The festival has also been a venue for local bands. In 2008, festival attendance exceeded the expected 60,000 per day.

33 thoughts on “Festival de la Gente CANCELLED !!!!!!!!!

  1. Family was comming from out of town for this event. This is sad, very sad.

    I know for a fact Huizar is going to take a big hit for this one. I would like more information before I pass judegement, but knowing how politics works (all politics are local,) Huizar needs to make a statement.


    Question: I wonder how much money CD 14 gave to the Eagle Rock Music Festival?

  2. This sucks, more details! more investigation. Time for everyone who complained to Target about the costume to do the same thing but locally.

  3. You bring up a good point. The ER Music Festival was a major production that involved the closing of Colorado Blvd, a major artery for the Eagle Rock and the Northeast area. Considering the timing of the fees, we need to find out from our Councilmember his side of the story, because if it’s anything close to what is being mentioned in the press release, this is a MAJOR screw up on the part of the City of LA, but especially Councilmember Huizar.

  4. TRUTH BE TOLD! And sorry to burst bubbles, buuuuutt!

    The producer of that event is not a good person and should not be supported. He exploits people and heartfelt Mexican cultural events to his own benefit. His criminal record shows that he’s an abuser against women, who has not seek treatment. He has exploited children to work for him, paying them with alcohol and drugs. That event is not or was or ever will be the biggest Day of the Dead event. It’s an unfortunate and unpleasant issue to bring out, but since it’s showing up in my email box I have to say something.

    I do recommend supporting D.O.D. events in good standing like at Proyecto Jardin in Boyle Heigts, or Self-Help Graphics(o.g. Dia De Los Muertos in East Los)instead.

  5. Cin & Menoman are good at throwing stones. They are part of the vicious cycle that latinos love to keep latinos down. The event event grew larger than one man. As you can see this event meant allot more to the community than it meant to you to bash the event’s organizer. THe event meant Boyle Heights was a tourist destination, it meant breaking the cycle of corporate america ignoring the latino community. NEVER has anyone been paid with booz or druge. This event meant allot more to more people in this community than you will mean to anyone when you die and have an altar made for you. In other words, dont hate cuz you dint get a free booth space. YOu can always go to Eagle Rock. Your the reason this event is gone, self help is gone, becuase you dont know how to nurture the coming up of your own community.

  6. The festival was great, the music was too. This is really disappointing.

    If anybody knows of any other Dia de los Muertos festivals, can it get posted here?

  7. Truth be Told! Yes, Councilman came in but it was not enough. Yes, Eagle Rock Music Festival, who has corporate investments, like a mall with Macy’s in it, received more than $13k in fee waivers, its public information. Yes, their was abuse, abuse of members of Huizar’s staff that “domino effect” caused this event to be canceled and plus the inability to connect with the community by new Chief of Staff, who has no idea what Dia De Los Muertos is. Yes, Recreation and Parks (commission), not only imposed unrealistic fees and have a track record of not willing to work with community organizers in Boyle Heights. Truth is, community support kept this event going for a decade, Political support came because it was the only latino event in Los Angeles during the last week of the elections season. There is NO corporate interest in Boyle Heights, no mall, not even 7-11, oh, if you don’t count developers that pay for these politicos to get elected. OF course, this is a matter of opinion. Mine. Im not from Boyle Heights, pero soy latino, and I support education through arts.

  8. Wait, what? Self-Help is gone? Really? I could have sworn I just went to a workshop last Saturday and saw a flyer for their yearly Dia de los Muertos event. Figment of my imagination maybe? Come on now Fdizzle…where is your mind?

    Sad to hear El Festival de la Gente will not be happening. Although this event wasn’t really my thing, I do agree that it gave the Boyle Heights community the option of taking a nice stroll at night and catching up on some art, crafts, music and food.

    danthelakerfan, click the link.

  9. It is unfortunate to learn that this year’s Festival de La Gente has been canceled. Councilmember Huizar has supported the annual Festival de La Gente event since 2006 and committed his support once more for this year’s event. During this time, the Councilmember has given ample support in City services and funding.

    Mindful of the current economic climate, Councilmember Huizar committed to supporting this year’s Festival de la Gente by providing equipment rental fees in excess of $5,000 and assistance with Los Angeles Fire Department and Building and Safety fees.

    In addition, on October 6, 2009, Councilmember Huizar’s office learned that Festival de la Gente was experiencing tremendous difficulty meeting its sponsorship goals. Per the event organizer’s request, Councilmember Huizar’s Office reached out and encouraged a major sponsor last week to sign on and was successful in doing so.

    We understand that preparing for an event of this size requires months of planning and that unexpected challenges can arise. In year’s past, the organizer of the event has routinely made last-minute requests from Councilmember Huizar’s office for thousands of dollars in unexpected added expenses and services. Councilmember Huizar has made every effort to step in and help out to ensure that the festival continues each year that this has occurred.

    This year, we learned from the event organizer two weeks ago that he mistakenly interpreted the Recreation and Park fees as a per-event fee and not as a per-day fee, as Festival de la Gente is a multiple-day event.

    Councilmember Huizar has no authority to waive Recreation and Park fees since the City has determined that the impact to the parks are significant due to the high number of patrons and vehicles on the parks’ landscape, trash left behind, damaged landscaping and maintenance staff overtime.

    Despite Council District 14’s support, the event organizer solely and unilaterally made the decision to cancel this year’s Festival de la Gente. Failure to have a contingency plan was ultimately the reason for the cancellation.

    Councilmember Huizar would hope that in the future, Festival de la Gente organizers prepare enough in advance so that if need be, they can adjust the scale of their event if funding is short without having to cancel it outright. As always, Councilmember Huizar will continue to offer support to numerous community events.


    Rick Coca
    Director of Communications
    Office of Councilmember José Huizar
    District 14

  10. wow this really blows especially after the moved it to the artist district last year. First the move it out of the community, then they just cancel. its like a slap in the face followed by a kick in the groin.
    Though i may understand what appeal the artist district may have had last year, but lets face it not too many “gente” live in over priced lofts in the arts district. Plus the 6th street bridge made the perfect location. “La Gente” actually live near it more its was more visible.
    Last years decision to move it had to do with the promoter as well, or so i was told by an aid of Huizar.

    anyway its good to know that self help can hold there day of the dead event without the large corporate sponsorship. And on a side note, olvera st is also doing there day of the dead event:

    i recommend going on a wed-sunday. they are going to have a pretty cools exhibit at the Pico house.

  11. ah yes, Parks and Rec. A long time frenemy for community (not corporate) public events on public space. LA’s beaurocracy is so ridiculous unless you have someone from the mayor’s office pushing things through and of course, corporate money.
    I recommend the Hollywood Cemetary Dia de los muertos (it’s from 5pm -11pm) on Sunset near Gower, inside the cemetary. It is truly a great event, especially if you participate in making an altar! Its also this Saturday – go dressed up as your favorite calaca of course!

  12. ^^^^^ sounds like Huizar is trying to cover his ass, though i’m sure the promoter probably screwed shit up too.

    Rudy Cordova
    “This event shouldn’t have fallen on one person, the community should STEP UP and make this event happen!”

    unfortunately the community doesnt actually have too much say in this. This event and many other events such as the LA marathon are put on by promoters and companies who make a profit doing this. The process usually works something like this:

    The city or whoever wants to have an event and instead of planning it themselves they hire someone else to do it. They release a Request for Proposals (RFP)and have various promoters submit a proposal which roughly states what they plan for the event and the cost. The city either pays them or they make their money off concession stands. The promoter usually lines up the entertainment, workshops, food, sales, etc by going out to the community or already has people. SO its usually the promoter who makes all the decisions and does all the work. Although the city can makes certain stipulations like the entertainment has to be local talent.

    But at the end of the day the community has little say on this. If me and bunch of my friends wanted to setup some workshops and face painting all free to the community at Hollenbeck park that weekend we would probably be kicked out.

    The city can not waive the fees for this event, i understand its short on money, but it would pick up the tap for AEG or the Grammy’s, Academy Awards and other private multimillion dollar events of course it doesnt have the money for this event.

  13. El Centro del Pueblo will be hosting Dia de Los Muertos event on Sunday, Nov 1 1pm to 8pm. 1157 Lemoyne Street Echo Park, California 90026 Free Please call 2134836335 for more info.

  14. Wow Rob, thanks for all the info! I’ve always felt that many of these community festivals (i.e. Tamal Festival) were put on by promoters to make some cash. When I’m there, that’s how it feels: awkward and corporate. So I usually stay away from certain “festivals.” I’ve always wondered if it was possible to have a real grassroots festival in a public place. I’m sure it is but it seems difficult.

  15. cajeta
    October 21st, 2009 | 4:42 pm

    Don’t forget the money laid out for Michael Jackson’s Staples Center extravaganza.


    Oh, how dare you, man? That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard anyone say, ever!

    Ok, seriously, if we’re going to do this, let’s look at the money that went to bail out all of those banks that could have been given to cities as stimulus money. As absurd as it may be for the city to foot the bill for a million or so people to pile on top of the Staples center with their silver gloves and grab their crotches one last time for Michael, it’s not nearly as absurd as a bunch of 30 something year old Wall Street heirs, who haven’t worked a day in their lives, running off with what’s left of our social security. Now who’s bad?

  16. The promoter is a crook and a swindler! He takes advantage of the good hearted vendors at his events and treats them like crap! Why was he evicted from his Hewitt St. address? Doesn’t that tell a story? The guy should pay his bills with all the money he pockets from these events. What happens to all the vendors who paid good money for their space at this event? Do they only get half back as stated in the vendor contract?? Because the event was canceled due to unforeseen circumstances as the promoter stated?? Where does this money go?? This “promoter” should be banned from “promoting” ANY further events after taking advantage of his corporate sponsorship. How could such big names such as Disney, Wells Fargo, and LA Times sponsor such a crook year after year??

    oh I think I’ll just go to Hollywood

  17. Sad to see such a positive cultural event ruined by greed. I noticed lots of comments about the Eagle Rock Music Festival. These two events don’t even compare. The music festival is run by an outstanding crew and not a promoter who is out for his own gain.

  18. Self Help IS NOT GONE! They have enough room for everyone, so come to a truly authentic, SHG/East L.A. Day of the Dead celebration at the East L.A. Civic Center on Monday, Nov. 2.

  19. It’s too bad to hear about the Hollenbeck event-I cannot attest to the good or bad about it, but I can tell you where to find a GREAT Day of the Dead event. No better place than the birthplace of LA- Olvera Street! The merchants of Olvera Street have been doing an awesome DOD celebration for years, including altars, children’s workshops and a nightly novenario procession running from Oct 25-Nov 2. Complete with Aztec dancers, traditional incense blessing & vibrant colorful costumes, DOD comes alive in Los Angeles.
    Procession begins at 7pm and there is free champurrado & pan dulce after. Stroll the shops, enjoy a meal & live el dia de los muertos!
    P.s. For more info call 213-625-7074

  20. In addition, Christina helped put together the Sacred Memories being exhibited int the Pico House, which is only up for a short while. However it one of the more positively reviewed exhibits held there.

  21. This event was the grass root event that touched a lot of people. Especially all of you who have positive comments to post. For those who have negative comments and opinions keep them to yourself. So called conscious people.

    What you should all be aware of is that it took 10 years for this event to fall and like many good things in our lives they will keep falling before us one by one. It is a sign of the time. “things that are not there any more.

    It is because of the non-profit Arte Calidad and the opportunity from Antonio the mayor as councilmen of cd 14 in 2006 and all those in the community that believed in the vision and then worked to make it possible. Year in and year out. Including “Cin and Menoman” I know you worked along side Arte Calidad at the conception of Festival De La Gente.

    Everyone on this comment board got “Drama” in their lives. This is what made this event so important to our eastside communities. Everyone left their “Drama” at home and represent their community. Know it is time for us to continue to bring positive things into the community. More Dia De Los Muertos events in Boyle Heights. Which one of you will step forward. Again? Which one of you all have never even stepped up.

    Its not about the event at Olvera Street as that is El Pueblo Downtown. Its not even about the SHG event that has moved all the way to “county hall east” border line Montebello. And if Hollywood is where you feel you belong then go for it. Its about filling the future with another vision of our community coming together to celebrate Life by defying the death of our economic constance.

    Thank you Tony Dominguez for bringing something new and innovative to our Boyle Heights community and for keeping it here as long as everyone would nurture it. Thanks to Antonio the Mayor for his hand in it as long as he was councilmen. And finally thank you council member Huizar for showing up to this event year after year.

    A vision is nothing without people to work together. Now more than ever we all have to find a new way to work together. Lend your support to yourself to your community. We are going to need to check ourselves into the reality. They ways of the past are exactly that, in the past. The political climate in CD 14 has received an overhaul.

    Be ready to accept the terms or be willing to do something about it.

  22. Comment not related to post, well its related a block away. Has anyone heard about a Horror Indie Film that was shot at the hospital infront of the park, i think its called something Vista. Anyhow, i think its one of those movies being released online only and it was shot at that hospital. I know, this is very vague info, but i was just wondering.

  23. Mike: please email me at KustomVoodoo@yahoo.com I would like to hear about your experience with this organization and event, I am one of the vendors this year who will be out most of my money if the organizer chooses not to be forthright. Thank you.

  24. This is wroooonnngggg!!!
    I Can’t believe me eyes!! The City of Los Angeles should have held the fees to be paid after the event and the coordinators of the event should have come up with some donation fee of a $1.00 from every adult attending the event. I am sure that would have been more than enought to pay the fees.
    I know people work hard to up such events, but it saddens me when the outcome is like this.

  25. This is a travesty, a sad day!!! This event was a festival de la gente, last year they took it away to the loft people, they lost money and no one showed. That is what led to the lack of funds this year. Huizar continues to do nothing for Boyle Heights, just one big smile, and no grit, why has he not brought a Wal Mart to Boyle Heights, OK how about an In-N-Out Hamburger stand that avoids our neighborhood out in the open, OK how about a decent respectable mall? No we got a new police $$$ station to encarcerate more Chicanos! Huizar? One more big smile!! Yet, does nothing to bring jobs into Boyle Heights or El Sereno or Linclon Heights. We need
    leadership to bring private business to our community, movie theatres like Magic Johnson’s, where is Huizar on this, oh one big smile!!! What has he done for the COMMUNITY, stand by while everything stagnates in our community. But he is great for 5 minute photo oportunities with his big smile. Keep up the bad work, and to all who defend what he does not do, look around you, Huizar has done nothing for Boyle Heights, By the way what did he do for our schools??? Yeah, big smile!!!

  26. miguelito

    though i agree somewhat with ur attitude towards Huizar (as with most politicians) i have to say i dont completely agree with ur reasons. I think you wont find to many people who would agree with building a Wal-mart or a large movie theater in Boyle Heights or the rest of the Eastside. Though i would be partial to a In-N-Out. Most of Boyle Heights is already built up, there is no space to accommodate a large box store or venue. Most people would rather see smaller independent locally owned businesses.

  27. Thanks Rob for your comments, It’s good to hear someone disagree and agree at the same time.
    As far as space there is plenty of open space in the peripheries of Boyle Heights, but no one to promote the financing of these small business or to even get the ball rolling. This is where someone like Huizar frustrates our community so much, they don’t help matters, but they do get in the way of proigress. As far as Walmart I agree with you who want’s those low wage salaries, but a movietheatre where we can see some movies with latino culture? come one, why do I have to go to Chicago and San Antonio to see Chicano, quality Mexican or Latin-American movies. Here we are stuck with the DVD or VCR, or you go to Hollywood to see Transformers or Batman!!! We do need small independent locally ownerd businesses, the ones we have are owned by people outside the community and charge higher than the Walmarts. In-N-Out prefers not to deal with East LA I was told by their management firm, yet most locations are full of Latinos, can’t understand!!!

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