“MADE IN AMERICA”, has now become a Philly tradition. The Roc Nation produced, JAY-Z curated two-day music festival now in its seventh year brought the heavy hitters as well as new talent, and everyone in between. This live musical celebration takes place on Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Parkway. The festival which has been around since 2012 has generated $102.8 million in economic impact for the city of Philadelphia and continues to benefit the ACLU of Pennsylvania as well as United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.
As Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, and Post Malone provided the big stage productions that most of the crowd came to see, it was the talent of the other stages which intrigued me the most. Don’t get me wrong, it was good to see the stars on the “Rocky” stage, but with four other stages, it was a music lovers paradise.
The Rocky and Liberty stages were synched to have performers start as the other stage was getting prepared which worked (well most of the time). It was a sight to see when the crowd would move from one stage and then gather at the other stage. While standing at the Liberty stage, I asked a group of fans why they weren’t at the larger stage. They said they wanted to guarantee a good spot for the next performer on the Liberty stage, in this case Janelle Monae.
This is how it worked over the weekend, however there were many other sights and activities to take part in. You could ride on a Ferris wheel, or swing in the air high above to get a better view of the festivities. The food selection was fantastic as all varieties of food trucks lined the main street. McDonald’s even had an elaborate restaurant set up right in the middle of the parkway. This special McDonald’s was visited by many celebrities such as like Nick Cannon, Jasmine Sanders, and Terrence J who struck a pose in front of the Golden Arches which featured a McDonald’s commissioned by artist Timothy Goodman.
There were so many choices, that obviously you were going to miss artists, so you had to come up with a game plan of sorts. This was quickly thrown out about an hour into the day. The smaller stages did not sync with each other (at least in a time which would allow you to get to the other stage), so I missed more music than I saw, which is a good thing, as this festival was over the top with artists performing.
I found that the smaller stages had a more, let’s say personal touch with the fans, as many times I saw performers jumping on the pit barricade, and in JPEGMAFIA‘s case, jumping into the crowd to perform. Discovering new music has always been something I love when at festivals. This weekend’s highlight besides JPEGMAFIA was a band called Turnstile. A high energy punk band that used the entire stage and could’ve used another five feet in all directions. Did I mention there was a skateboard ramp? One of the most unique stages I ever saw, that had the top landing of a skateboard park built onto the side of the stage. The skaters would perform tricks for the fans to see and jam out to while the band was playing. It was an amazing two days for all music tastes. We are very fortunate to have this event held in our city every year, many thanks to the artists and organizers.
Nikki Minaj Photo credit: Rancel Lopez
Post Malone Photo credit: Getty Images