Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and entrepreneur/rapper Jay-Z stood outside City Hall Wednesday morning to formally announce the two-day Made in America festival will take place in downtown L.A. over Labor Day weekend.
The announcement comes despite concerns from the city councilman who represents downtown, Jose Huizar, over the effect on downtown residents and businesses, and the notion of a public park being used for a ticketed, commercial event. The event could draw as many as 50,000 people daily.
Garcetti and Jay-Z spoke on the Spring Street steps, the proposed location of the festival's main stage, overlooking Grand Park. The festival is slated for the park and surrounding streets on Aug. 30 and 31. Garcetti didn't talk about Huizar's concerns, but the Mayor's Office said nothing has been finalized regarding street closures. A spokesman did say festival organizers would reimburse the city for the costs of providing security and rehabilitating Grand Park after the event.
Speaking at the morning event, the mayor tried to tie the concert to his "Back to Basics" agenda, which is typically associated with sidewalk repairs and updating outdated technologies.
“Back to basics is about making L.A. a destination for music lovers and their spending," Garcetti said. "It’s about making sure people have decent jobs here in our hotels. It’s about making sure we have a vibrant economy and a great place to celebrate the best weather anywhere on the face of the earth."
Garcetti did not provide details on the potential economic benefit for Los Angeles, but he noted the first Made in America festival in Philadelphia generated $10 million for that city.
The initial permit application for the event indicated the festival could shut down the streets and sidewalks surrounding City Hall and Grand Park — in some cases for as many as 10 days. Thirty partial or full street closures were proposed, with the initial ones beginning Aug. 23 — one week before the festival.
Huizar recently asked that the L.A. Police Department, Bureau of Street Services and the Department of Transportation withhold permits until his office is given details of the event.
Huizar has met with the event organizers once since plans for the concert were made public two weeks ago. In a statement released Tuesday, Huizar raised concerns that a public park would be shut down for a ticketed event:
"Since this is a for-profit, ticketed concert with an alcoholic beverage company as the main sponsor, we have questions over whether that is the best use for Grand Park, the so-called 'people’s park.' If it is, what is the public – that is the city and downtown Los Angeles community – getting in return?"
No one at the press event addressed concerns about using a public space for a private, ticketed event. In fact, Jay-Z began his remarks by saying, "Look at how beautiful this park is. It's accessible to everyone and it's inclusion — it's not exclusive."
Grand Park is co-managed by the city and county of Los Angeles. County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who was instrumental in securing funding for the park, appeared at Wednesday's press conference.
"Los Angeles has 99 problems but Jay-Z and Made in America ain't one," said Molina, paraphrasing one of the rapper's hit songs.
But the same couldn't be said for downtown residents.
"Unfortunately we don’t know that much about it," said Patti Berman, a downtown resident. "The problem is that this is already a done deal. They’re selling tickets on the Internet as of today I understand and yet there was absolutely no outreach to the community at any level."
Berman said she was frustrated that organizers hadn't reached out regarding street closures and crowd control earlier in the process.
The festival, featuring a wide diversity of musical acts, has been held for the past two years in Philadelphia, co-sponsored by Budweiser and the United Way. That will be the case here, where the event will at least in part benefit the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. (The festival will also still be held in Philadelphia.)
No acts were announced for the event, though two-day, early bird tickets are available for $155. The festival is being produced by Live Nation — the prominent entertainment industry company.
|Aug. 23 to Sept. 4||N. Main Street||Sidewalk and curb lane||Temple Street||1st Street|
|Aug. 24 to Aug. 25||N. Spring Street||Full closure||Temple Street||1st Street|
|Aug. 24 to Sept. 3||N. Spring Street||Sidewalk closure||Temple Street||1st Street|
|Aug. 24 to Sept. 3||N. Hill Street||Full closure, including sidewalk and curb lanes||Temple Street||1st Street|
|Aug. 25 to Sept. 3||N. Spring Street||Minimum two lanes||Temple Street||1st Street|
|Aug. 25 to Sept. 3||N. Grand Avenue||Sidewalk and curb lane||Temple Street||1st Street|
|Aug. 26 to Sept. 2||N. Broadway||Sidewalk and curb lane||Temple Street||1st Street|
|Aug. 27 to Sept. 2||S. Spring Street||Full closure, including sidewalk and curb lanes||1st Street||2nd Street|
|Aug. 27 to Sept. 2||1st Street||Sidewalk and curb lane||Main Street||Olive Street|
|Aug. 27 to Sept. 2||N. Hill Street||Curb lane||1st Street||2nd Street|
|Aug. 27 to Sept. 2||Broadway||Curb lane||1st Street||2nd Street|
|Aug. 28 to Sept. 2||N. Broadway||Full closure||Temple Street||1st Street|
|Aug. 28 to Sept. 2||1st Street||Full closure||Main Street||Olive Street|
|Aug. 28 to Sept. 3||N. Spring Street||Full closure||Temple Street||1st Street|
|Aug. 29 to Sept. 2||S. Spring Street||Full closure||1st Street||2nd Street|
|Aug. 29 to Sept. 2||N. Hill Street||Full closure||1st Street||2nd Street|
|Aug. 29 to Sept. 2||Broadway||Full closure||1st Street||2nd Street|
|Aug. 29 to Sept. 2||N. Main Street||Full closure||1st Street||2nd Street|
|Aug. 30 to Sept. 1||N. Main Street||Full closure||Temple Street||1st Street|
|Aug. 30 to Sept. 3||N. Grand Avenue||Full closure||Temple Street||1st Street|