Jay-Z's Made in America: Will $500,000 cover the cost of huge downtown LA festival?

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The Los Angeles City Council agreed Tuesday to accept $500,000 from promoter, Live Nation to cover the city's expenses related to the Made in America festival over Labor Day weekend. But that approval came without an analysis of what the city's true costs will be. 

Organized by rapper Jay-Z, with headliners like Kanye West and Imagine Dragons, the 2-day music festival August 30 and 31 in Grand Park could attract as many as 50,000 people per day. A similar show will take place simultaneously in Philadelphia, where it has been held the past two years. 

The LA city council approved a reimbursement motion 12-0 without discussion, granting the promoter, Live Nation, a fixed price for hosting the festival. The motion also says Live Nation will reimburse Los Angeles County $350,000 for its expenses, though a spokeswoman for the Music Center, which negotiates for Grand Park, said a deal with the county has not yet been reached

The motion goes on to say the $500,000 is in addition to a flat fee that Live Nation will pay to rent Grand Park. Again, a spokeswoman for Grand Park said a rental fee has not yet been confirmed.

Neither the Mayor's Office nor the City Administrative Office could say how much it will actually cost the city to provide services for the two-day music festival in Grand Park. 

The mayor's staff has been working on the concert since December, according to emails obtained by KPCC under a Public Records Act request. The emails show they faced some resistance to the planned festival. In January, the command staff of Central Bureau told the Mayor's Office the Los Angeles Police Department opposed the event - citing concerns over drugs, weapons, damage to city property and a possible delay in response times, according to additional emails obtained under the California Public Records Act. 

L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents the downtown area, also opposed the concert. His staff found out about it three months into the planning process, after someone in Street Services forwarded them the permit application from Live Nation. 

"This is a HUGE event. From looking at the application number, it appears that this was submitted a while ago. Is there a reason why this was not referred to our office?" a Huizar staffer wrote back to Street Services in an email. 

It was around that time that a Live Nation executive, in an email to the Mayor's Office, referred to Huizar as "one of the city councilman trying to make trouble." That email was sent to the Mayor's Office after KPCC had reached out to Live Nation to get a comment for a story about the concert. 

With no details on the concert's likely economic impact, Mayor Eric Garcetti and L.A. city leaders have pointed to a 2012 report that found Philidelphia had $10 million in economic activity and hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue after the inaugural Made in America concert. 

"The Mayor's Office believes that there will be a substantial economic benefit resulting from this event," a mayoral spokeswoman told KPCC.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the amount being approved. KPCC regrets the error.

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