Report: Made in America festival boosted city coffers, economic activity

The crowd reacts as Sublime with Rome plays on the Dylan stage during the Made in America festival, in Los Angeles on August 30, 2014.
The crowd reacts as Sublime with Rome plays on the Dylan stage during the Made in America festival, in Los Angeles on August 30, 2014.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

A two-day music festival held in downtown L.A.’s Grand Park last year netted an estimated $31,000 for city coffers, according to an economic analysis of the event released this week.

The Budweiser Made in America Festival produced an estimated $792,000 in revenue for the city, said the report prepared for city policy makers. It also racked up around $761,000 in city costs, much of it from police patrols, street closures and trash pickup.

Overall, the festival -- held over Labor Day weekend with performances by Kanye West, Iggy Azalea and others -- was estimated to have generated nearly $15 million in economic activity in the city of Los Angeles, said analysts with Economic & Planning Systems Inc., the city-hired consulting firm that reviewed the festival’s economic impact.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, the budget analyst who commissioned the report, would not say whether the festival should return this year, saying the document “speaks for itself.”

“It shows the costs and the benefits,” he added.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, who played a role in attracting the festival to downtown L.A, issued a statement Saturday saying that the findings showed that “we achieved our goals to boost our local economy, provide attractions for our residents and visitors to enjoy, and show that city government can cut red-tape to host world-class events in Los Angeles.”


City Council President Herb Wesson said the event “provided a significant return for our local economy while providing jobs and creating a very well-attended event.”

“Ultimately the city’s economy grew and so did our city budget,” Wesson said in a statement. “Let’s do it again.”

Live Nation, the company that staged the festival, did not immediately comment on the report.

The findings provided to Santana were accompanied by a series of caveats. Researchers were only able to secure a “brief” telephone interview with Live Nation representatives. Live Nation also did not respond to requests for specific data on the event, the report said.

Instead, the report’s authors conducted other research, including interviews with 21 downtown businesses. All of those businesses said that holding more park events like the festival would be “a good idea.” The vast majority reported they had normal or increased business activity during the festival.

The bulk of the city’s revenue came from a $500,000 payment made by Live Nation. The remainder came from hotel taxes, parking taxes and other revenue, the report said.

Cost estimates contained in the festival report were about $90,000 higher than those provided by Garcetti’s office two months ago. In November, Garcetti aides said the event cost around $670,000 -- more than Live Nation had provided for city services.


When questions were raised about the costs at that time, Garcetti said he was confident that “we will absolutely net more as a city than we would” if the festival hadn’t happened.

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