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Far Out Presents receives funding from NWWNC to put on local music festival

Far Out Fest, a local music festival, was held on Broxton Avenue last year and it will return to that location May 2. The festival will be funded in part by a nearly $5,000 grant by the North Westwood Neighborhood Council.
(Kanishka Mehra/Assistant Photo editor)

By Martín Bilbao

Feb. 7, 2020 12:21 a.m.

The local neighborhood council granted nearly $5,000 on Wednesday to an alumnus’ annual nonprofit music festival in Westwood Village, about $1,000 less than last year.

Far Out Fest, previously known as Westwoodstock, will showcase local, emerging artists May 2. The first version of this festival was hosted at the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity house in 2017, a location that caused law enforcement to shut it down. The festival then moved to an open-air setting on Broxton Avenue in 2018, where it has taken place annually ever since.

Far Out Presents, a nonprofit that organizes the festival, initially asked the North Westwood Neighborhood Council, which represents Westwood and UCLA to the Los Angeles City Council, for $6,009.84, a similar amount to what the council gave it last year.

However, during a board meeting Wednesday night, both parties agreed to lower the amount to $4,995.11 because grants higher than $5,000 trigger a stricter administrative approval process with the city. That process delayed the distribution of funds last year and caused the council to seek an exception with the city to save the event, said NWWNC president Michael Skiles.

“I would much rather fund this in a way that we know will actually happen as opposed to taking a huge risk in funding them at a level that might destroy the event,” Skiles said.

Tim Connors, cofounder and executive producer of Far Out Presents and a UCLA alumnus, said the process of securing roughly $6,000 last year was a stressful experience because he did not receive the money up until the day before the event.

“A lot of the charges were on my personal credit card,” Connors said. “So I definitely resonate with that decision if (the council thinks) it will be an absolute nightmare.”

Councilmember Amir Tarighat said he doubts the city will grant them another exception if a similar situation develops this year. He added that he supports the music festival and hoped that Far Out Presents can make up the difference with additional funding.

“I think funding at less than $5,000 is just more practical for us to do, and now with your (nonprofit) status you can raise more money,” Tarighat said.

Connors said about 2,000 unique individuals passed through the 10-hour, free event last year. The planned budget for the event this year is significantly larger than last year because Connors said he hopes to compensate the people that organize the event.

“We are in the process of securing the initial sources of funding,” Connors said. “We are trying to use our nonprofit status to more easily raise money to compensate some of the team members that work dozens and dozens of hours on a volunteer basis, which we find is probably unsustainable going forward.”

Far Out Presents expects to receive a substantial contribution from the Westwood Village Improvement Association, the local business improvement district, Connors said. It is also fundraising on Kickstarter and seeking corporate sponsors.

Far Out Fest is still considering artist applications and has not yet published an official lineup. The event is planned for 2 p.m. to midnight May 2.

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Martín Bilbao | Alumnus
Bilbao was the Assistant News editor for City and Crime from 2019-2020. He graduated with a degree in political science student and previously worked as a News contributor for Features and Student Life.
Bilbao was the Assistant News editor for City and Crime from 2019-2020. He graduated with a degree in political science student and previously worked as a News contributor for Features and Student Life.
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