Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar wants the city to hold off on issuing permits for a music festival involving Jay Z, saying he needs more information about the Labor Day weekend event.
The Budweiser Made in America Festival, which advertises itself as being “curated by Jay Z,” will operate over two days at Grand Park and require downtown sidewalk and street closures, some lasting up to 10 days, according to a council motion submitted by Huizar.
Huizar wrote that people in his district and community groups had not been informed about “the specifics of the event,” which he said could draw as many as 50,000 people to downtown.
“The city cannot support an event where there has been no community outreach to engage affected residents and gain necessary feedback,” his motion states. “This is particularly important in downtown, where exponential growth in population density has led to a mounting concern over street closures that impede access and cause traffic congestion.”
Live Nation, which produces the festival, could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday morning.
Huizar is seeking information from the Police Department and other city offices on “any permits, actions, public safety concerns, and any necessary cost implications” of the festival. Until that information is available, Huizar wrote, the city should hold off on issuing any permits for the event.
"This is not about opposing special events or any particular concert, it's about making sure the affected community, in this case downtown stakeholders, is part of the planning process sooner rather than later,” Huizar said in a statement emailed to The Times late Tuesday.
Mayor Eric Garcetti's spokesman, Yusef Robb, said the mayor is in negotiations to bring the festival to Grand Park — the site of a major New Year’s Eve celebration last year — and the steps of City Hall. Such a concert, Robb said, “would be a boon for our economy that would underscore downtown’s resurgence and be a lot of fun for a lot of people.”
“As Mr. Huizar is well aware, this event requires council approval, which will allow him ample time for review and a hearing process. It makes sense for initial negotiations involving multiple executive departments to be handled by executives and once those initial negotiations are firmed up, we look forward to engaging all stakeholders to come up with a final event that’s the best it can possibly be," he said.
Robb also said the mayor’s office has communicated with Huizar staffers about the effort to attract the festival. “I know that members of his staff and members of our staff have spoken,” he said.
Lucas Rivera, director of Grand Park, said city officials have reached out to his office to see if the park could be rented for the Made in America concert. Rivera said he was “super excited” about the prospects for bringing such an event to downtown, since the rental income would help pay for other free community events at the park, such as last year’s July 4th event, which attracted 12,000 people.
"It would benefit us tremendously because our park has been extremely popular. We are continuing to grow,” he said. “And we can’t grow without increasing our revenue or increasing our budget.”
The motion will be heard at the Public Works and Gang Reduction committee.
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