The Budweiser Made in America music festival is coming to Los Angeles, but who is performing and how the city will manage the two-day concert are still mysteries.
Jay Z and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti held a news conference Wednesday to announce the music festival, which is planned for Labor Day weekend and will be held simultaneously with one in Philadelphia. They did not announce the lineup of performers or address residents’ concerns about the venue — a park in downtown Los Angeles that is crossed by several streets and partially surrounded by residential buildings.
The Made in America festival could draw 50,000 concertgoers, Garcetti said.
Jay Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, wants to create a festival that brings together diverse musical genres, where “all walks of life and all people can come, and it’s in the city and it’s not some far-off place that you can’t get to — no disrespect to any other festivals,” he said. It was an obvious dig at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, held in the desert more than two hours east of Los Angeles. Jay Z and wife Beyoncé each made surprise appearances at the event last weekend.
“Look how beautiful this park is,” he said. “It’s accessible to everyone.”
The Los Angeles City Council has expressed concern that such a crowd could be disruptive for downtown residents.
County Supervisor Gloria Molina attempted to allay those worries, saying, “We know how to handle all of this.”
“I’m sure every single LA resident is going to deal with a little bit of intrusion from time to time, because at the end of the day, LA is going to have tremendous benefit,” she said, citing the event’s anticipated economic infusion to the city and its philanthropic element (some proceeds will benefit the United Way of Greater Los Angeles).
Molina also quoted a lyric from a Jay Z song: “Los Angeles has 99 problems, but Jay Z and Made in America ain’t one.”
Neither Jay Z nor any of the assembled politicians took questions from reporters. Instead, a Budweiser spokesman was made available.
The mayor’s office could not specify where in the multi-level park the music festival will be held, but a spokeswoman said the city is experienced with large-scale events like this, citing the Lakers’ victory parade and a public New Year’s Eve celebration.
City councilman Jose Huizar, whose district covers downtown, had voiced opposition to the concert.
“Since this is a for-profit, ticketed concert 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,’” Huizar’s spokesman, Rick Coca, said in a statement. “If it is, what is the public — that is the city and the downtown Los Angeles community — getting in return?”