There’s something electric about a music festival. A tangible energy that can only be experienced when immersed deep in the pit of a crowded audience. Like one solid, breathing entity, all rise in unison as guitar strings are plucked and the first few waves of sound propagate through the air. I used to live for the moment when, despite the heat, the pushing, the elbowing, as soon as an artist set foot on stage everything else seemed to melt away. (Big thanks to Adrian for splicing together all the shoddy iPhone footage!)
Admittedly, I’ve developed little soft spot for Philly. I took advantage of the first drop of free time I had to get out there and soak in one of the most eclectic lineups I’ve seen in a long time. Over Labor Day Weekend, nearly forty thousand fans gathered at Benjamin Franklin Parkway to experience Budweiser’s Made in America Festival. Jay Z curated the event with the masses in mind, touching upon a wide range of frequencies. From the experimental Dirty Projectors to dub steps mainstream king Skrillex and neo-soul diva Janelle Monae, the festival represented a melting pot of genres. Gen-X artists like Pearl Jam, Jay Z and Run DMC were among the top-billing acts.
Saturday, September 1: Jay Z, Skrillex, Miike Snow, Calvin Harris, Maybach Music Group (feat. Rick Ross, Wale and Meek Mill), Passion Pit, Gary Clark Jr., D’Angelo, Dirty Projectors, Janelle Monae, Prince Royce, Funkagenda, Michael Woods, Otto Knows, Savoy
Sunday, September 2 – Pearl Jam, Drake, Jill Scott, Run DMC/Return of the Legendary Kings of Rock, Afrojack, Odd Future, Alesso, The Hives, X, Santigold, DJ Shadow, Betatraxx, Rita Ora, Burns, The Knocks, Milkman
Despite the looming thunderstorms, neon-clad concert-goers threw on their stone-washed jeans and high-tops (no, seriously) and pounded the pavement for the event. I came across some ladies from Australia, a group of guys from Sweden and hip hop fans traveling from the West Coast all with one unifying factor – a 24 oz can of Budweiser. Although I didn’t partake, a certain level of euphoria took over the masses - especially during a joint performance of “99 Problems” with Jay Z and Pearl Jam.
Famed director Ron Howard and co-producer Brian Grazer filmed segments before and during the event to feature in the upcoming Made in America Documentary. According to Grazer, “ [we'll] go to early parts of Jay's life and early parts of other artists' in this concert's life to show how and why they would actually blend and how and why they might not have blended 20 years ago."
If fans can't find a shot of themselves in the docu, they can try and tag themselves in the FANCAM feature on the Made in America site. Jay Z hopes to make the fest an annual event so if Jigga fans missed out this years fun, they can vouch for another round of tickets next year! Would you like to see the Made in America Fest stay in Philly ?