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Rapper Jay Z brings 'Made in America' music fest to Los Angeles

American rapper Jay-Z performs at Bercy stadium in Paris, October 17, 2013. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
American rapper Jay-Z performs at Bercy stadium in Paris, October 17, 2013. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rapper Jay Z joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday to announce that his music festival, "Budweiser Made in America," will be coming to downtown Los Angeles in August, giving the annual music bash a second venue.

Grammy-winning Jay Z launched the "Made in America" festival in 2012 in Philadelphia with Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser beer brand and concert company Live Nation Entertainment in an effort to bring together diverse musical acts such as hip hop, pop, rock, country and others.

"Putting together a music festival that blurred those lines of genres and all walks of life and all people can come, and it's in this city, it's not some far-off place that you can't get to," the 44-year-old rapper said.

Garcetti touted the positive economic impact the inaugural festival, which featured performances by Pearl Jam, Drake, Rita Ora and Jay Z himself, had on Philadelphia, bringing in more than $10 million for the local economy and helping the hotel occupancy rate increase to more than 90 percent.

"We are the 'City of Angels,' and we throw a world-class party. The music industry has helped build this city and always played a critical role here in this town," Garcetti said.

The festival is part of recently elected Garcetti's "back-to-basics" agenda to boost the Los Angeles economy. He said one in seven jobs in the city is arts-related, and hoped that Los Angeles would be "the perfect West Coast home for the festival."

The mayor has also vowed to revitalize entertainment production in Los Angeles as the film and TV industry moves to other states and countries for tax incentives.

The festival, which will be held over the Labor Day weekend on August 30 and 31, will bring an estimated 50,000 people to Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, next to City Hall. The line-up will be revealed in early May and tickets are $125.

"Look how beautiful this park is; it's accessible to everyone and it's inclusion, it's not exclusive," Jay Z said.

But some downtown residents came to protest at the news conference, with one holding a sign that said, "No noise pollution/trampled garden/drunks and drugs/corporate buy-out."

"I'd ask those same questions if I was living here. But I would ask those individuals to look at what happened in Philadelphia," Budweiser Vice President Brian Perkins said. "Was the park ruined? Was it trampled? No. We were very respectful."

Perkins added that the festival was "not a profit engine; we don't make money from this festival."

The event will also be held in Philadelphia on the same weekend for the third consecutive year, making it the first music festival to be held simultaneously on both the East and West Coasts.

(Editing by Eric Kelsey and Eric Walsh)

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