Review: Budweiser Made in America Festival Succeeds in Los Angeles

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Kanye West performs on the Marilyn Stage during day 2 of the 2014 Budweiser Made in America Festival at Los Angeles Grand Park on August 31, 2014 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images)

Kanye West performs on the Marilyn Stage during day 2 of the 2014 Budweiser Made in America Festival at Los Angeles Grand Park on August 31, 2014 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images)

Over the weekend, Budweiser Made in America Festival took place for the first time ever in Los Angeles, using Grand Park as its venue. The festival, which began in Philadelphia in 2012 is sponsored by Anheuser–Busch and produced by Live Nation. It was founded by Jay Z.

This year’s two-day lineup featured Imagine Dragons, Afrojack, Kendrick Lamar, Sublime with Rome, Iggy Azalea and Capital Cities on Saturday and Kanye West, John Mayer, Juanes, Weezer, Steve Aoki and Rise Against as headliners on Sunday.

Before the festival began, it was rumored that Live Nation was having difficulties selling tickets. But, upon observation, it seemed as if they had no trouble filling up the streets of downtown Los Angeles to full capacity. In fact, several people purchased last-minute tickets – even the box office was full at times.


Even though Saturday turned out to be a hot day, thousands poured into Grand Park right from the start and joined in on the fun at the beer gardens and in the long lines to purchase food from the food trucks.

Saturday’s performers more than accomplished a day and night full of fun and music. Headliner Imagine Dragons captivated the Marilyn Stage (main stage), as they closed out the night with a 90-minute set featuring all their hit tracks, including “It’s Time,” “Demons” and “Radioactive.”

Rockers Sublime with Rome did their thing, while EDM DJ Afrojack electrified the Dylan Stage for about one hour. The fans wanted more of Afrojack, though, because it seemed as if his set just wasn’t long enough for his lengthy list of hits. When the Dutch DJ delivered “Take Over Control,” the thousands present simply went wild. It was rather unbelievable to see so many ethnic groups jump around, dance and scream joyfully to Afrojack’s music.

Local band Capital Cities were no newcomer to the festival-goers. The indie pop duo captured everyone’s attention with their unique sound, vibrant trumpeter, catchy lyrics and even their fashionable clothes. When the original version of “Safe and Sound” began, the crowd erupted. And when the EDM remix of the track was played, fans exploded into excitement. That was a treat.

Despite the success the rock and EDM artists had, Saturday was truly about the hip-hop/rap acts such as Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar, YG and Iggy Azalea.

Azalea, an Australia born rapper now residing in Los Angeles, turned out to be a solid act. Sporting short shorts that further accentuated her hip and backside’s sexiness, Azalea seemed to dance more than sing on stage. Some of the spectators were surprised at her performance, but some were also pleased. Her boyfriend Nick Young, of the L.A. Lakers, was present to catch the show, and some people gave him more attention than her while she performed. Azalea’s “Fancy” was a success.

Everyone expected L.A. native Kendrick Lamar to be more than good on stage, and he was, with his prolific lyrics for “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” and “Poetic Justice.” But South Central Los Angeles’ Schoolboy Q took over the Marilyn Stage and was, unarguably, the most talked about perform from Saturday’s eclectic lineup. The 27-year-old had a rough childhood, and his teen years were no better. Perhaps that’s the reason why he is so passionate on stage. “Collard Greens,” “Man of the Year” and “Studio” thrilled the audience.


Sunday was another hot day, but that didn’t stop people from attending Made in America. In fact, more people attended MIA on Sunday, and that’s probably because the day’s unique, stellar and eclectic lineup of music performers figured to be at least a little more enticing than Saturday’s.

The only Latin music singer at this year’s L.A. date of the festival was Colombian superstar Juanes, who flew in from Guatemala the day before. Juanes, who is currently spending most of his time in Latin American promoting his most recent album, Loco de Amor, brought in his charisma and personable ways to the Marilyn Stage while singing only in Spanish. The MIA crowd didn’t mind his Spanish; most even sang along with him, including in the likes of “Me Enamora” and “La Camisa Negra.”

Steve Aoki, Rise Against, Weezer, Chance The Rapper, Cypress Hill, R3hab and John Mayer were all far beyond pleasant acts on Sunday. Steve Aoki and R3hab exhilarated withEDM, Rise Against and Weezer rocked, Chance The Rapper and Cypress Hill each animated with their hip-hop repertoire. Mayer displayed some of the best live guitar playing I’ve ever seen. His “Waiting on the World to Change” caused an emotional roar throughout Grand Park.

Although Sunday’s lineup consisted of several high-profile music entertainers, it was clear that more than 80 percent of the fans were there to witness the one-and-only Kanye West. This guy is weird; quite frankly, he is. But he is also a genius and darn talented.

West opened with “Black Skinhead,” “Mercy” and some portion of the remix of “I Don’t Like.” Those served as a perfect opening set, and the fans loved it.

“Jesus Walks” and “All Falls Down,” hits from early in his career, produced memories of pleasure – West’s beginnings are some of the best in his career.

For some reason, West closed out with “Blood on the Leaves” even though he had performed it earlier during his set.

Marvin Vasquez is a Senior Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle, entertainment and sports. Follow him on Twitter: @geo_la
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