The Jay Z touch doesn’t come cheap. It was revealed this week that L.A.’s first Made in America festival, which was held in Grand Park over Labor Day weekend, ended up costing taxpayers around $170,000. According to the Los Angeles Times, concert producer Live Nation was on the hook for up to $500,000 worth of expenses, but the total costs reached nearly $670,000, leaving the city to pick up the remainder of the tab for security personnel, street closures, cleanup, and other services provided during the two-day event. (Meanwhile, Los Angeles County required Live Nation to pay an additional $600,000 to use Grand Park plus pay for any damages.)
Unsurprisingly, Mayor Garcetti, who championed the Jay Z-curated concert, shook off concerns over the expense to taxpayers, saying he is confident the benefits reaped by the city outweigh the hard cost. Critics, including the L.A. Weekly, aren’t so sure. UCLA Visiting Professor of Urban Planning Matthew Drennan offered us this perspective: “We’re talking about peanuts. It seems like a very, very small amount of money in light of the city’s size and budget,” which exceeds $8 billion annually. “I think it was worth it even if there is no ripple effect because municipal governments should do something in the area of arts and entertainment. Citizens like that.”
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana has said a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the festival will be made public later this year.