Despite crowding concern Made in America continues

By Soumya Karlamangla
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Rapper Jay Z’s Made in America music festival is coming to downtown L.A.’s Grand Park despite concern from one City Council member that the influx of thousands of people attending multiple stages with access to beer could create a “nightmare.”

The rapper joined L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday to make the announcement, saying two years ago, “This was a dream.”

He also called Garcetti an “incredible mayor,” noting he “pulled this thing together in record time.”
The Budweiser Made in America festival had drawn opposition from those worried about multiple street closures that will be in place for days to accommodate the crowds.

No music lineup was announced at the news conference, but big acts including Phoenix, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Jay Z’s wife, Beyonce, have appeared at what’s billed as a festival “curated” by Jay Z.

The prospect of a major concert drawing as many as 50,000 people to the heart of downtown had raised red flags for Councilman Jose Huizar, who warned about the street closures and beer sales and their effects on residents. Last month, he introduced a council motion saying no permits should be provided for the event until questions are answered about its effects on the surrounding neighborhood.

But Garcetti said the festival will be a boon to the city and its economy.

“Los Angeles is the perfect place, the perfect West Coast home for Made in America,” he said.

He noted the festival, which will run Labor Day weekend Aug. 30 and 31, will “shine a spotlight on Grand Park” and celebrate the “best neighborhood anywhere in America.”

However, Huizar’s pokesman, Rick Coca, said in an email Tuesday his office had questions over whether the festival 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?” Coca said.

But Jay Z said he was happy the festival will be “in the middle of the city” where everyone can access it easily. “It’s inclusion, it’s not exclusive.”

L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who spoke Wednesday, said she knows people have had concerns about the location, but is confident the organizations in charge can handle it.

“I’m very, very proud of everything we’ve been doing at Grand Park,” she said.

Grand Park has grown increasingly popular as a venue since it opened in 2012.

A Fourth of July fireworks event last year drew 12,000 people.

Months later, a New Year’s Eveparty drew twice as many visitors and was hailed by organizers as a huge success.

The Labor Day weekend event will run alongside the original Budweiser Made in America festival in Philadelphia, according to Live Nation. Tickets went on sale Wednesday.

“Los Angeles has 99 problems, but Jay Z and Made in America is not one,” Molina said.