Grand Park has held plenty of concerts and holiday events but nothing quite like what's coming this weekend for the Made in America Festival.
Though organizers trimmed expectations for the crowd (estimates are around 35,000 — including security and staff), the massive festival will still bring a bevy of rock, hip-hop and electronic acts like Kanye West and Imagine Dragons to the Civic Center area, along with street closures, traffic snarls and lines of fans trying to enter the ticketed event.
For arriving audiences, here are tips to ease the headaches and hopefully get you inside in time to hear West's latest free-associative communiques.
Public transit has done wonders for downtown-area festivals like Hard and FYF (which have been held at L.A. State Historic Park and, most recently, Exposition Park), and Metro remains the easiest way in and out of Made in America as well. Metro has several stops in the area — Pershing Square for the Red and Purple lines (which is a one-stop transfer from the Blue and Expo lines at 7th St./Metro) and Union Station and the Little Tokyo/Arts District stop for the Gold Line.
This weekend, the Civic Center stop will be closed because it's inside the festival grounds. Fans hoping to take the Expo Line on Saturday from the Westside should expect a tight squeeze; there's a USC football game at the Coliseum that day.
Though downtown has plenty of surface lots and parking structures, you'll be competing against tens of thousands of concertgoers to find them. The fest doesn't have any dedicated fan parking on-site — the festival's website wanly suggests: "If fans have to drive to 'Budweiser Made in America,' we recommend that they park in a public garage or lot." Parkinginla.lacity.org will have suggestions. Fans can also call or text the fest's community liaison at (424) 271-4415 for info on parking and Metro or to issue complaints.
Single-day and weekend passes are available, ranging from $80 to $200. Tickets will also be available at the festival gates, according to organizers.
The stages, and what to see
While the festival has surprisingly not published an official map of the grounds and amenities, the set times indicate a dedicated area for EDM and two close-by stages for the headlining acts, one on the steps of City Hall and the other to be placed on First Street.
Doors open at noon and music begins at 1:30 p.m. both days. The main stages oscillate between rock and rap with no turnover time between sets. On the upside, you'll never be lacking for music. On the other, we're excited to see what fans of Rise Against and John Mayer will have to talk about in line.
Young hip-hop fans will want to get there by midafternoon on Saturday and Sunday for YG and Chance the Rapper (respectively), and organizers insist that fans shouldn't believe the listing that indicates Kendrick Lamar is playing solo — several fellow Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates like Schoolboy Q will be joining him.
The festival has posted set times on its Twitter account (but, oddly, not the main site). Visit it at http://www.twitter.com/MIAFestival to plan your day. All sets wrap up at 11 p.m.
What's closed, and where to enter
The fest will block off everything between Temple Street on the north, Los Angeles Street to the east, 2nd Street to the south and Grand Avenue to the west.
Tickets for the fest are assigned specific entrances, so plan your transit or parking strategy accordingly. The south gates are on 2nd at Hill Street and Broadway; the west gate is at 1st Street and Grand, and the north gate is at Broadway and Temple.
While you're there
Made in America is open to all ages except for the beer garden (which will be serving brews from the festival's main sponsor exclusively). Organizers have promised culinary options varying from "traditional festival and fair food to gourmet food trucks" but haven't announced specifics — so maybe stop by one of the Old Bank District or Little Tokyo's many options beforehand just to be safe. A list of the usual forbidden items is at the main festival site — blankets and reusable water bottles are OK; umbrellas, chairs and "haters" are not. .
On the upside, there will be free water stations. But there is no reentry at any time if you decide to leave early, so plan accordingly.
Despite all the logistical opacity, it's a big day of music in one of L.A.'s loveliest new parks. Yet it's a little disquieting the fest's FAQ actually has to answer this question: "Why do people need to buy a ticket when they can try to see/hear it from a nearby building or street?"