From Marijuana to Hotels & Restaurants: How Grammy Weekend Makes $82M For the L.A. Economy

Drake & Rihanna
Anton Emdin

Drake & Rihanna

From Feb. 9 through Feb. 12, the city of Los Angeles will experience an economic boom that hits everything from ­restaurants and hotels to the local drug market. Where in years past out-of-town ­artists and executives might have done the Grammy Awards in a quick 48-hour turnaround, for many they now represent an extended weekend, which means big business for the local economy.

According to the city’s Tourism & Convention Board and Micronomics, the 2014 Grammys brought in $82 ­million from ­shopping, transportation and entertainment, among other sources. More than 8,800 Grammy attendees were from out of town and on average stayed four nights and spent $744 per day.

That four-day average is a recent phenomenon. “People used to come in the night before, and if they were performing, they would rehearse during the day and then leave the next morning,” says Todd Orlich, GM of the Montage Beverly Hills. “But people are taking more time to ­experience our city.”

What hotels don’t see much of is planning ahead. “Never,” says Orlich. “When the awards come out, you get the rush. You get probably 15 to 20 ­reservations that day that are specifically geared toward Grammy weekend. Everybody else, the other 150 rooms that we book, all come within seven days,” adds Orlich, who will hold rooms for certain regulars until they know their plans.

Hotels popular with Grammygoers also can ­accommodate music-­specific needs. The Montage turns public spaces like yoga studios, presidential suites and ballrooms into rehearsal rooms for guests. “There’s a lot more sharing their art in the hotel to get ready for the ­performance,” says Orlich.

Not feeling a marked bounce, ­surprisingly, are ride-share ­companies like Uber and Lyft. “Stadium shows at the Rose Bowl are far bigger,” says one driver. “Only the Oscars make a difference. But only because it blocks a big chunk of Hollywood Boulevard.”

Another departure from the Academy Awards? Marijuana ­consumption. “The Grammys ­outperform the Oscars for weed -- artists consume far more weed than actors,” says a local dealer. “Music is the reverse of a script: It’s an empty page and you’re vibing with other musicians, which makes pot a really social drug.”

Since many artists will log studio time while they are in Los Angeles, sativa strains, which are ­invigorating and conducive to ­socializing, are ­particularly in demand. “Most ­studios, especially those in the hip-hop world, are all about kushes,” says the dealer, “so I try to keep two to three kush strains in ­rotation, along with a kush hybrid.”

While the Oscars might be the gold standard for Hollywood, there’s a consensus among insiders that the Grammys are the most fun. “Everybody is so much cooler. Oscar and Golden Globe people are a little more controlled,” says Sunset Tower Hotel owner Jeff Klein. “Grammy ­artists don’t let a publicist tell them they have to behave a certain way.” 

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 31 issue of Billboard.

2017 Grammys


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