Jay Z announces Made in America festival will come to Los Angeles
Rapper Jay Z joins Mayor Eric Garcetti at City Hall on Wednesday to announce a two-day Labor Day weekend music festival in Grand Park.
Jay Z’s Made in America is officially coming to Los Angeles.
The rap mogul, along with Mayor Eric Garcetti, Budweiser and United Way, announced that the festival will take over downtown’s Grand Park and surrounding areas in front of and around City Hall over Labor Day weekend (Aug. 30-31).
“Two years ago, this was a dream,” Jay Z said from the steps of City Hall early Wednesday. “I had a vision of putting together a festival that blurred those lines of genres.”
Staged at the same time as the one in Philadelphia -- it will have its third run this year-- the two-day Budweiser Made in America festival is expected to attract 50,000 festivalgoers to Grand Park.
Last year’s Made in America drew 60,000 fans each day to Philadelphia’s historic Benjamin Franklin Parkway for a lineup, curated by Jay Z, that included his superstar wife, Beyoncé, along with Deadmau5, Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, Nine Inch Nails, Phoenix, Public Enemy, Queens of the Stone Age, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Calvin Harris.
No lineup was announced durng Wednesday’s reveal, but Jay Z typically curates nonstop performers across the spectrum of pop, soul, rock, hip-hop and electronic music.
“We’re going to celebrate our golden state of mind,” Garcetti said. “L.A. is the world’s music capital ... the music industry has helped build this city, and the creative sector is essential to our economy.”
Bookended by the Los Angeles Music Center and City Hall, Grand Park -- with its lush grounds, interactive fountain plaza and eye-popping bright pink seating -- has yet to welcome an event of this magnitude.
With just a dozen acres of space, it’s not even half the size of the sprawling 32-acre cornfield of Los Angeles State Historic Park, which has housed big draws like the Hard festivals, FYF Fest and H20 Fest but is out of commission for the next year while it’s being renovated.
The rap mogul said his reason for placing the festival in the middle of the city “and not far away” is so that it can be more inclusive for concertgoers. “Look at how beautiful Grand Park is,” he said.
Made in America’s placement at Grand Park and the surrounding, bustling areas in front of and around City Hall caused concern from Councilman Jose Huizar, whose district includes the park and who had previously requested city services not issue any permits for Made in America until it could be properly vetted.
In a motion, obtained by The Times, Huizar noted that the festival would require street closures in the area around Grand Park for as many as 10 days.
This would include partial and full closures on major downtown arteries including Main Street, Spring Street, Hill Street, Grand Avenue, Broadway, 1st Street, 2nd Street and Temple Street.
“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. ”When you’re talking about a proposed event of this magnitude, with 50,000 expected, multiple-day street closures, beer and for-profit ticket sales at a public park, it is imperative that we have an open, inclusive dialogue in ensuring it’s a good fit for the neighborhood and if it is, that concerns are mitigated well in advance.”
During Wednesday’s annoucement, which was attended by members of the City Council, there were some protests. One man, wearing a Garcetti campaign T-shirt, hoisted a sign that read “DTLA residents say no” and listed his reasons for being against the festival: “Noise Pollution, tramped garden, corporate buyout, drinks and drugs [and] Jay Z.”
Another woman had a sign that read “No Grand Park party,” and she was among a few who booed and heckled throughout the speeches.
“L.A. has 99 problems, but Jay Z and Budweiser Made in America ain’t one,” Supervisor Gloria Molina said, acknowledging some of the opposition from the City Council.
Garcetti stressed that the festival would be a boon for the city, noting that the inaugural Made in America generated more than $10 million for Philadelphia. Some of the proceeds from the L.A. edition will be going to United Way, organizers said.
Despite concerns, staging a large-scale music festival amid the hustle and bustle of the city’s core isn’t uncharted territory. The LA Weekly Detour Music Festival tested downtown’s ability to stage a multi-stage event when it took over the block surrounding City Hall for a daylong festival that ran from 2006 to 2009.
So what might Made in America look like in L.A.?
There will reportedly be one stage within the boundaries of Grand Park; one at the intersection of 1st and Spring streets; and a third on the City Hall steps facing Spring. There will be two gates to get into the festival. The North Gate on Temple and the South Gate on 2nd (it appears that your ticket will grant you access only through one gate).
In Philadelphia, the city’s historic Benjamin Franklin Parkway was taken over for the weekend.
There were four stages, multiple pockets of food vendors, themed lounge areas, a giant carnival swing and a Budweiser beer vendor seemingly every 10 feet. One major pitfall? The festival’s location -- a tree-and-sculpture-adorned boulevard that makes up the spine of Philadelphia’s museum row -- remained a congested mass of bodies throughout both days.
Presale tickets for the two-day festival are currently available through Live Nation and are $125, not including surcharges.
Times staff writer Todd Martens contributed to this report.
The complete guide to home viewing
Get Screen Gab for weekly recommendations, analysis, interviews and irreverent discussion of the TV and streaming movies everyone’s talking about.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.