Jay-Z–Beyoncé Rose Bowl concert: A potential windfall to Pasadena, nuisance to some neighbors

Hip Hop artist Jay Z performs at The Staples Center on December 9, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Pasadena City Council recently approved a concert with him and his wife Beyoncé at the Rose Bowl in August.
Hip Hop artist Jay Z performs at The Staples Center on December 9, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Pasadena City Council recently approved a concert with him and his wife Beyoncé at the Rose Bowl in August. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Pasadena City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a Jay-Z and Beyoncé concert at the Rose Bowl on August 2. It would be the 18th major event scheduled this year at the stadium. But some residents are unhappy about the disruption to their neighborhoods from the extra shows at the historic venue.

The city is also exploring a three-day music festival that could start in the summer of 2015. It may include multiple stages, along with food and art venues. Below is a letter with more details sent by the city to neighborhood associations near the stadium.

A Pasadena ordinance limits the number of major events at the Rose Bowl to 12 per year. The city council must approve each additional event. The Jay-Z-Beyoncé show will be the sixth extra event it has approved this year.

Tom Cordner, who lives a short walk from the Rose Bowl, feels ignored by the city. 

 “They’re not even asking us how we feel about it," Cordner said. "They’re just increasing it, and I believe they’ll probably continue to increase it.”

To him, the extra events mean six more days when his neighborhood is overrun with cars and revelers, no matter what is taking place at the Rose Bowl.

"You can't say: 'well, we don't want Beyoncé and Jay-Z, but we'll have...the Beach Boys, because there's a different audience for that,'"Cordner said. "No, concerts are concerts."  

He also believes the city council is trying to make up for the fact that an NFL team won’t be coming to Pasadena anytime soon. It was believed a pro-football franchise would move to the Rose Bowl while a new stadium is built in the region. Neighbors like Cordner didn't like that idea

Pasadena City Councilman Terry Tornek said he opposed the NFL plan, but voted to approve the extra concert dates. For him, it’s a matter of finances.

 “You know, the Rose Bowl needs the money,” Tornek said.

He points to the debt: Pasadena has spent more than $160 million so far on major renovations to the 92-year-old stadium, with another $14 million worth of work still left to go. He says the city is also studying another idea to bring money to the Rose Bowl, including the multi-day music festival.

Related: Rose Bowl renovation continues despite a $36 million financing gap

But Tornek acknowledges that big concerts are tough on people who live near the Rose Bowl and those who enjoy golfing, walking, and biking in the arroyo around it. He says the city needs a long-term plan that balances the stadium’s need for cash with its neighbors’ need for peace.

"Not on a one-off basis where the council winds up being in the role of case-by-case show booker," Tornek said. 

Darryl Dunn, the Rose Bowl’s general manager, said last year’s Jay-Z-Justin Timberlake concert brought the stadium more than $500,000. The upcoming Jay-Z-Beyoncé show could perform just as well.

Read the letter from the City of Pasadena to neighborhood associations near the Rose Bowl regarding a proposed annual music festival.

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