Made in America Festival Cost L.A. Taxpayers Half a Million in Cop Overtime

Made in America Festival Cost L.A. Taxpayers Half a Million in Cop Overtime
Timothy Norris/L.A. Weekly

The $500,000 a major concert promoter paid to the city for August's two-day, Jay Z-curated Made in America festival on downtown streets barely covered police overtime, according to our reading of a new report.

The correspondence to the city's Budget and Finance Committee, presented to the L.A. Police Commission today, outlines $475,570 in Los Angeles Police Department overtime costs connected to assignments at Made in America over Labor Day weekend.

See also: Was Made in America a Success? Depends on How You Measure It

The office of Mayor Eric Garcetti wooed the event, which took place in and around downtown's Grand Park. It featured Kanye West, Iggy Azalea, Steve Aoki, John Mayer and more. He said it would bring jobs and money-spending concert-goers to the area.

However, early on we questioned the deal. Concert venues often negotiate for a piece of concessions and beverages, which didn't appear happen here.

And the $500,000 paid to the city barely covered police overtime, as it turns out. The cost of policing a similar event on non-city property could have been the same. But Made in America happened at a venue—including closed city streets—that belongs to you, the taxpayer.

The city also deployed fire inspectors, L.A. Department of Transportation officers who shut down streets and, likely, a city official told us, Bureau of Street Services workers to clean up after party-goers went home.

Made in America Festival Cost L.A. Taxpayers Half a Million in Cop Overtime
Timothy Norris/L.A. Weekly

Last week we asked the mayor's office for its accounting of all taxpayer costs for the event, but we had yet to receive the information.

The concert was largely peaceful, and Garcetti declared success. But it didn't sell out.

After the festival, we reported that some industry experts believed Made in America didn't break even. And it now appears taxpayers lost cash on the event, too.

See also: Made in America Festival: The Best and Worst

Live Nation, the largest concert promoter in the country, was behind the event, which started in Philadelphia in 2012.

The company also paid $600,000 to the county for sheriff's services and use of Grand Park, which is under the jurisdiction of county deputies.

Made in America Festival Cost L.A. Taxpayers Half a Million in Cop Overtime
Via the mayor's Facebook page

Garcetti says that, overall, the party had an impact on the local economy worth millions of dollars because at least 35,000 people showed up each day and spent money on transportation, food and drinks.

But such pie-in-the-sky economic-impact estimates have been debunked by some academics as fantasy.

So why was the mayor so eager to spend taxpayer money on a two-day festival sponsored by Budweiser and organized by a huge entertainment corporation? 

It's a good question. At least he got some photos with Jay Z and Beyonce.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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