Made in America Festival Makes Debut at Downtown L.A.’s Grand Park

“Hello, Los Angeles,” said Metric lead singer Emily Haines near the end of the band’s second song on the city’s first day of the Budweiser Made in America Festival. Her next words were far more ominous: “They’re going to eat me alive, if I stumble.”

Maryel Ceballos, 29, of Los Angeles, holds up an American flag in front of City Hall. (Credit: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

Maryel Ceballos, 29, of Los Angeles, holds up an American flag in front of City Hall. (Credit: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

She wasn’t singing about the two-day music festival that transformed the Civic Center area, but city planners are keeping a watchful eye on the event, which was fast-tracked by Mayor Eric Garcetti since its announcement in April. Made in America is the biggest close-up yet on the downtown location, a recreational space with a just-opened area nearby, still partly covered in construction dirt.

Minutes before the festival gates opened, workers were hurrying to ready the grounds surrounding downtown L.A.’s Grand Park. The festival is the first-ever paid event at the 2-year-old park, which stretches between City Hall and the Music Center.

All of the last-minute prep was to ensure that Grand Park was ready for an expected crowd of 35,000 or more this weekend. As of about 5 p.m. Saturday, an estimated 26,000 people had entered the festival grounds, according to┬áLos Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Charles Stringham.

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