Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and rapper Jay Z are set to appear Wednesday outside City Hall for what is expected to be an announcement on the two-day Budweiser Made in America music festival planned for Labor Day weekend in Grand Park.
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 that street closures and beer sales could create "a nightmare" for downtown residents. Last month, he introduced a council motion saying that no permits should be provided for the event until questions are answered about its impact on the surrounding neighborhood.
Huizar spokesman Rick Coca said his boss will not attend the news conference. Although talks with Garcetti's office have been "positive," Coca said, Huizar is still concerned about outreach to the neighborhood -- and the fact that the festival is a "ticketed event 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,'” Coca said in an email. "If it is, what is the public -- that is the city and downtown Los Angeles community -- getting in return?"
A spokeswoman for Molina, a major force behind the creation of Grand Park, strongly suggested that the event has the county supervisor's support. “If my boss is going to this press conference, and they’re announcing they’re having the Made in America festival, then it’s fair to say she’s on board,” Roxane Marquez said.
Garcetti spokesman Yusef Robb said the mayor's office invited Huizar to the event and will continue talking to him about ways to address the festival's impact on its neighbors.
"We want to work together with the council office to make sure this concert is positive for concert-goers and residents alike," Robb said. "There is plenty of time to work all these issues out, and we're going to."
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 Eve party drew twice as many visitors and was hailed by organizers as a huge success.
At a minimum, Jay Z is expected to be a "curator" of performances at the festival, which is expected to have multiple stages and beer gardens.