See our latest: Jay Z's Downtown L.A. Fest Could Gouge Taxpayers
It looks like Mayor Eric Garcetti is going to officially announce that a two-day "Budweiser Made in America" festival is taking place this summer at downtown L.A.'s Grand Park.
The mayor's office said today he "will make an announcement with Shawn 'JAY Z' Carter, Supervisor Gloria Molina, City Council President Herb Wesson, President and CEO United Way Of Greater Los Angeles Elise Buik, and Budweiser Vice President Brian Perkins." The press conference was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.
The proposed Aug. 30 and 31 event, either featuring or curated by Jay Z, has seen some controversy:
Councilman Jose Huizar was concerned that public input into holding the big event in his downtown district was skipped as the mayor's office negotiated behind closed doors with concert promoters, including Live Nation and event producer Jay Z.
Huizar introduced a motion that asks for a report on "any permits, actions, public safety concerns, and any necessary cost implications of the proposed" noon-to-11 p.m. event. He vowed to withhold permits until he's seen that report.
It looks like the mayor's office is calling his bluff and moving ahead anyway. As we surmised previously, such a concert would likely need a courtesy nod by L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who is credited with helping to get the circa-2012 Grand Park built.
A spokeswoman for the supervisor told us today, "I think it's fair to say she's on board."
The park is run jointly by the county and city. In a memo regarding the two-day party, the LAPD noted that an electronic dance music stage would be included and said that approving such an event would open the door to controversial raves and other ticketed events - at a venue intended to be, according to its motto, "The Park For Everyone."
Additionally, Huizar was concerned that the concert could mean as many as 10 days worth of street closures for residents and workers in the area. (Huizar's office says partial and full closures would affect "Main St, Spring St., Hill St., Grand Ave, Broadway; 1st St. Temple St. and 2nd St.").
In fact, as Grand Park director Lucas Rivera told us, the Jay Z fest would be unprecedented, closing down a footprint of public streets far beyond the park. That would be necessary to accommodate stages, vendors and, oh yes, 50,000 ticket-holders.
Rivera, however, said don't expect the park to turn into Rave Central. He said he had turned down other promoters interested in using the venue and was working with Jay Z's folks at the behest of the mayor's office.
[Added at 4:28 p.m.]: A Grand Park official told us talent for the festival hasn't been locked down yet. In fact, he said, the venue's security team, which wants to know who will be performing so it can prepare accordingly, doesn't even know yet.
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[Added at 5:15 p.m.]: Rick Coca, spokesman for Huizar, issued this statement today:
While we are encouraged by conversations with the mayor's office and the single meeting we had with the event organizers less than a week ago, more work is needed. In such a short turnaround, we successfully advocated with the organizers for fewer street closures over fewer days from the original 10-day closures. That's a positive step.
However, we still need community outreach so that residents and stakeholders can share their concerns and we can mitigate any potential negative effects to the Downtown community before the event, such as the disruption of traffic flow and limited access to businesses and homes for countless residents and workers in Downtown Los Angeles.
Lastly, 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." If it is, what is the public - that is the City and Downtown Los Angeles community - getting in return?
Huizar, by the way, won't be attending tomorrow's announcement, Coca said.