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Jay Z, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to Announce Music Festival

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and rapper Jay Z on Wednesday are expected to announce a two-day music festival for Labor Day weekend in the city’s Grand Park, a first-of-its-kind event underscoring the revival of downtown as a cultural destination.

The Budweiser Made in America Music festival has been talked about for weeks, and in particular the role of Jay Z (pictured) as a creative organizer. The event, with Live Nation as the promoter, may draw tens of thousands of people to the location, which stretches from the Los Angeles Music Center to City Hall.

Jay Z’s festival in Philadelphia last year drew a lineup that included Nine Inch Nails and Beyonce.

The plans for the event have drawn some controversy after City Councilman Jose Huizar introduced a motion last month asking the city to withhold permits for the event until they have more answers on its potential disruption to downtown.

Of concern to Huizar, whose district covers the downtown area, has been the effect of street closures on the local area and that community members and his office are in the loop. He also has raised questions about holding a for-profit, ticketed concert festival where alcohol will be served in a public venue, and what the public would get in return.

Huizar’s spokesman, Rick Coca, said that the councilman would not attend the announcement, but that they did have a first meeting with Garcetti’s office about a week ago.

“We’ve had some positive outcomes in the first week” since the meeting, he said. “Others we still need to address.” But he said that their concerns were not over Jay Z or any of the performers, but over logistical and communication issues.

Nevertheless, Grand Park was conceived as badly needed central civic space for a dispersed city, and the success of a New Year’s Eve celebration has convinced city leaders of the possibilities of staging a mammoth event and making the area a focal point for Los Angeles.

Scheduled to join Garcetti and Jay Z are Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson and Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, as well as Budweiser VP Brian Perkins and United Way Of Greater Los Angeles CEO Elise Buik. 

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