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Jay-Z brings new music festival to Grand Park

Two-day event is slated for Labor Day weekend

City News Service | 4/17/2014, midnight

Mayor Eric Garcetti and other Los Angeles leaders took turns quoting lyrics by rapper Jay-Z Wednesday as the music star joined them outside City Hall to announce a two-day music festival to be held at downtown’s Grand Park this Labor Day weekend.

One city councilman has expressed misgivings about the hassle that the “Made In America” festival could bring with 50,000 concert-goers expected to swarm the downtown park and surrounding streets. But Garcetti and L.A. County

Supervisor Gloria Molina said the event will fill hotel rooms, a source of tax revenue, and stimulate the local economy.

“Well, L.A. has 99 problems but Jay-Z and ‘Made in America’ ain’t one,” Molina said.

Garcetti was also enthusiastic. “On Labor Day weekend, we’re gonna celebrate our golden state of mind, right here in L.A., with a sellout crowd right here on the steps of City Hall,” the mayor said, putting a twist on a Jay-Z song celebrating New York City.

“We are a world class city, we are the ‘City of Angels,’ and we throw a world class party,” Garcetti said.

While not much was offered in the way of a musical lineup and other details about the Aug. 30-31 music festival, the event is expected to take over Grand Park, which is adjacent to the Spring Street entrance of Los Angeles City Hall.

Noticeably absent at the announcement was Councilman Jose Huizar, who complained earlier this month that the music festival, which is to be held in his district, would draw 50,000 concert-goers to the area, include several beer gardens and require street closures around Grand Park lasting up to 10 days.

He said city staff should hold off on issuing permits until the council receives a report on “public safety concerns and any necessary cost implications” of the event.

The festival, which began in Philadelphia in 2012 and is coming to the west coast for the first time, will “inject millions of dollars into the Los Angeles economy,” as well as “showcase our city and shine a spotlight on Grand Park and downtown L.A.,” Garcetti said.

A simultaneous “Made In America” festival will take place in Philadelphia, where, according to Garcetti, the concert brought $10 million to the economy and boosted that city’s 60 percent hotel occupancy rate up to 90 percent.

Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, said two years ago he had a vision of putting together a “music festival that blurred those lines of genres, that all walks of life” would want to attend.