|Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora|
Made in America Festival
Outdoor music festivals are a summer time staple like fireworks on the Fourth of July. Festival like the recent Made in America Festival held in downtown Los Angeles over Labor Day weekend are about bringing people from all over the spectrum of humanity for two days of music and dancing. Our good friend Christopher Hawthorne at the Los Angeles Times wonders in his article "Grand Park benefits Made in America but is the reverse true?" wonders if the festival was as about putting up barriers between people or breaking them down. The Made in America Festival was a golden opportunity for Mayor Eric Garcetti to advertise his interest in streamlining City Hall, an act worthy of divine intervention. Civic officials worked to ease the approval process for concert organizer Jay Z (yes that Jay Z) and promoter Live Nation, while incurring the wrath of Council member Jose Huizar and some downtown merchants an residents who felt left out of the discussions on the crowds and noise.
|Evening crowd at Made in America|
The quid pro quo involved in this event was quite simple. City and county officials get rental fees, an economic development boost, and free publicity for the park, due to its strange hillside location that makes it appear to be hidden in plain sight. The residents and workers in downtown tolerated with two days worth of jersey barriers, chain-link, and windowpane rattling bass lines all in the name civic boosterism. Yet, as Mr. Hawthorne points out, "...Los Angeles hasn't always been good at negotiating such deals with corporate interests as aggressively as it should."
Los Angeles, California
|Jay-Z performing at Made in America|
|Budweiser Made in America|
|Mayor Eric Garcetti and Jay-Z|
|Mayor Garcetti touring the concert venue|
The list of possible improvements is lengthy. Part of the original design by Rios Clementi Hale were dropped to save a few dollars before construction began. The paving along Hill and Broadway, which cut through the very core of the park, could redone to match the rest of the park's design. A fund could be established to add a bandstand somewhere in the park for the Los Angeles Philharmonic to hold concert, complementing its shows at the Hollywood Bowl. This sounds (no pun intended) like a great idea. Another idea is a fund that could help pay for public-art installations. There is a space for it, such installations have been popular in Millennium Park in Chicago. An even better suggestion is more clear signage that could direct visitors from Grand Avenue and other parts of downtown to the park. More necessary, new structures or thickly planted trees that could provide much needed shade.
Parks are never actually done, they are works in progress that require maintenance and upkeep. It is not just watering the grass and pruning the trees, upkeep and maintenance means making the park more open and user-friendly to the public. As a public space, it should also be able to pay for itself and thus, any and all logical potential revenue schemes should not be rejected, even if it means the neighbors have to put up with windowpane rattling bass lines for two solid days.