Politics

Made in America: Officials confirm last-minute financial agreement with LA's Grand Park for huge downtown festival

Construction crews are on site at City Hall as work begins on the Made in America festival.
Construction crews are on site at City Hall as work begins on the Made in America festival.
Alice Walton/KPCC
Construction crews are on site at City Hall as work begins on the Made in America festival.
A road sign warns that Main Street will be shut down later in the week as crews set up the Made in America festival.
Alice Walton/KPCC


Concert promoter Live Nation will pay $600,000 to rent Grand Park and reimburse Los Angeles County for its services related to the Made in America music festival Aug 30 and 31, a spokesman confirmed. 

A spokesman for L.A. County's CEO confirmed that figure just as crews started building stages for the Labor Day weekend concert, which will include performances from Kanye West and John Mayer. The main stage is being constructed on the Spring Street steps of City Hall, with a second stage at the intersection of First and Main streets and a third stage on the west end of Grand Park. 

Made in America is a two-day concert organized by rapper and music producer Jay-Z and put on by Live Nation. Promoters expect 50,000 concertgoers to descend on Grand Park, a public area that will be shut down for the ticketed event. 

Last week, the Los Angeles City Council agreed to accept a $500,000 reimbursement from the promoter, though it's unclear whether that payment will fully cover the city's expenses related to the concert. 

Internal emails from City Hall show the concert has been a priority for the Mayor's Office ever since a deputy chief of staff and deputy mayor met with Jay-Z's representatives back in December. 

"Just want to reiterate how important this event is to the Mayor," mayoral aide Patricia Whelan wrote in an email to Street Services back in March, according to emails obtained by KPCC under a California Public Records Act request. 

Two days later, the director of Street Services asked staffers to provide cost estimates by writing, "This event is of paramount importance for the mayor … push the other departments to give you an estimate ASAP."

Later that same day, Kevin James, president of the Board of Public Works, reminded Street Services the event "will be high-profile/high interest, etc." 

The director of Street Services wrote back: "Hi Commissioner, we are well aware of the importance of this event."

Emails also show concert organizers were told to go through the Mayor's Office for all necessary permits, though a mayoral aide had to ask General Services for details on that process.

"Can you all help me get a better understanding of what permits are needed in order to proceed with this event and a general timeline of that process?" Whelan wrote to General Services on May 20.

The event's permit application was submitted in March.