First Annual Made in America Music Festival Los Angeles Was a Major Success


Being in two places at once is technically impossible, but when Jay-Z is involved all bets are off. This year, his inspired Made in America Festival premiered in downtown L.A. after Budweiser founded it in 2012 in Philadelphia. A truly “American” experience, this festival begs for summer vibes and dance music. Despite its status as a first time event in L.A., the two-day music festival brought in significantly more people than any other event Grand Park has ever held in the past. And L.A. is no small town. But then again it’s not too hard to imagine a beyond sold out event when artists like Imagine Dragons, Weezer, Kanye West, and John Mayer headline the festival, as well as include indie artists like Dr. Dog and pop stars like Iggy Azalea.
ZZ Ward and Metric also graced the stage at this festival, which allows festival-goers to enjoy powerful yet distinctly different styles of music in a beautiful city. Carefully curated by JAY Z, Made in America drew nearly 30,000 people to Grand Park, where rock, pop, and dance music electrified L.A. in the already hot summer. Kendrick Lamar, also an inspiring performer at the festival, even noted, “I’ve been touring the world, and I ain’t never done a festival in the heart of Los Angeles.” With a sister festival in Philadelphia happening at the same time, Made in America takes its name very seriously as it takes over the wide range of the country’s festival-goers at its heart. One can only imagine what city (or at least coast) they’ll take over next.





Standout Moments: 

  • Despite the almost overwhelming power couple Jay-Z and Beyoncė bring, they mainly hung out backstage to enjoy the rare experience of just being audience members at a show.
  • Weezer reunited for the first time since 1993, promoting a new album on the way.
  • Steve Aoki threw cake (apparently this is normal for him?) and sprayed champagne into the audience during his set. Jay-Z also tossed out $2 bills during Aoki’s set
  • Despite experiencing a delay because of an intense rain storm, Spoon reemerged back on stage to an excited crowd.
  • Iggy Azalea can really dance and John Mayer can really perform a very long guitar solo.
  • John Mayer performed Beyoncė’s “XO” with her in attendance. Brave, brave man.
  • Rapper J. Cole used a gripping video montage to his song, “Be Free,” to instigate conversations about police-brutality and Ferguson to bring some perspective to the audience.
  • After performing a memorable set, the 21 year-old Chance the Rapper met his idol, Kanye West.
  • Pharrell encouraged women to gain more of a voice across professions and groups, dedicating a rendition of “Hollaback Girl” to them.
  • Kanye West actually stayed within his time frame (only the power of Jay-Z).


The Los Angeles International Airport is sixteen miles from downtown with a 24 hour bus service that goes from the airport to the downtown area where you can book a hotel or a hostel. There is no re-entry to the festival, so make sure you’re ready to go when you leave. L.A. is pretty notorious for wretched traffic, which could definitely be a downer in your festival experience. The event organizers encourage you to use L.A. Metro, which can allow you to have a round trip pass to navigate around L.A. without the worry of a rental car or taxi service.
Details for Next Year:
All ages are welcome to enjoy the music, but there are 21 and up areas. They utilize some of LA’s finest audio engineers and visual talent to make Made in America an unmissable event, so don’t think of just hanging out near the festival to try and catch the experience. Also police patrol the side areas to prevent loitering.
It can get pretty hot in L.A., so make sure you check out the hydration areas complete with filtered water spread out around the event.
Single day tickets are available, with doors opening at 12 pm.
If somehow you’re still on the fence about their choice of artists, check out their Spotify playlists to get a sampling of the music Made in America is into.
In case you missed it, this event was VERY crowded. Prepare yourself for next year by either getting to the stages early or being at peace with enjoying the music in a large crowd.
This year there was a lot of confusion over where things were located due to a lack of maps, so make sure you get everything straight in your mind or on your phone before heading out to the park.
If you want to fit in, sport some red, white, and blue for your festival outfit.

In Short…

Yeah, this festival is hosted by Jay-Z, which begs for super-hyper-stardom (I mean he’s married to the goddess of music for goodness sake), and a billion dollar corporation in one of the most powerful cities in the country, but that’s not why you should go to the Made in America festival next year. A few years back Ron Howard came out with a documentary about the festival in Philadelphia called Made in America, which veers to the Jay-Z worship many of us lean towards. Don’t go for that either. Like Jay-Z, many of us going to this festival were “made in America,” and whatever that leaves us with (capitalistic ideals, obsession with celebrity, longing for change, college debt, etc.), it can sometimes leave us feeling overwhelmed and empty. Through this two-day experience, however, we can celebrate something else about America—something good. People wearing American colors and dancing to good music when it’s not the Fourth of July. That’s reason enough to brave some L.A. traffic.


Check out this video by Complex. You will definitely get the vibe and culture of this first year festival to make sure its the right music festival for you.


By  Scotty More, FestPop Publisher  Email Comments to: [email protected]
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