Made In America: Public Money, Private profits


Concerts are cool and all, and the Ben Franklin Parkway here in Philadelphia is fantastic place for all types of events. But I don’t like that we can’t even be given a ballpark for the cost of the Made In America Music Festival:

This week at a City Hall news conference, Mayor Nutter declined to say how much the festival would cost. He said that the promoters would bear most of the costs and that the overall benefits to the city would be great.

It shouldn’t take an exorbitant amount of public money to allow Jay-Z to host a personally curated music festival sponsored by Budweiser and promoted by Live Nation:

In justifying the public investment, the mayor alluded to the “goodwill” that the city will get, as well as the bump in ancillary businesses and revenue from 50,000 concert-goers coming into the city.
[…] Also, we’d like to remind the mayor that just two short years ago, he was battling with City Council members, including Maria Quinones Sanchez, over whether the city should pick up the security and crowd-control costs for community festivals and ethnic parades. At that time, Nutter said the city couldn’t underwrite privately run events when it was cutting services. That’s why he vetoed the bill, which Council then overrode.

It shouldn’t cost tax payers money to throw a concert that most can’t afford to attend. In the aftermath, I’m not worried about tallying negative effects to “safety” in the surrounding neighborhood, the high attendance price (75 for one day, 125 for two days) combined with the gated layout and “no re entry” policy reduced safety issues for the surrounding neighborhood. Not saying there isn’t some public cost, but broadcast rights or some other profits attached to scale should be negotiated to offset cost. Maybe they are. Just saying.