Philadelphia is as unlikely a locale for a festival as any, but for a second year in a row Budweiser and Jay-Z made it work for their Made In America Festival.
Yesterday, August 31, was day one of the star studded event that occupies the Ben Franklin Parkway, an area that houses the Philadelphia Art Musuem and a host of other local landmarks. Now transformed into a setting that dons four stages spanning a few blocks, adult attendees had an experience that felt eerily similar to a great moment from their adolescence — recess.
Performers from a range of musical backgrounds included Balance and Composure, A$AP Rocky, Public Enemy, Rudimental, Haim, Emeli Sandé, 2 Chainz, Empire of the Sun, Imagine Dragon, Phoenix, and Beyoncé.
Sets were spaced apart in a way that made it fun for music lovers to rush from one stage to another to witness their favorite artists rip the stage. Like any festival, MIA also exposed onlookers to acts they ordinarily wouldn’t listen play — Hip-Hop Wired included.
For us, the day truly started when A$AP performed a brief set in the early afternoon that included “Wild For the Night,” “Long Live A$AP,” and “F**kin Problem.”
That marked the beginning of a mad dash that took us to the Liberty stage to catch Sandé then back to the Rocky stage for Public Enemy. Seeing different generations band together to enjoy classic tunes from the latter like “Fight The Power” and “911 is a Joke” proved to be one of the day’s better moments.
Next up was Atlanta’s own 2 Chainz, who would be the talk over the towns for the next few hours because of an energetic set that felt more like a party than a performance. The crowd full of sweaty individuals, most female, reaffirmed that the Hair Weave Killer achieved what he set out to do.
Because recharging my phone was a necessary evil, Imagine Dragons and Empire of the Sun were heard from a far.
Luckily, I reached 100 percent by the time Phoenix rocked the crowd. And honestly, I cannot say that I’m well versed in much of their material aside from “Lisztomania” and “Entertainment.” However, their hour-long run definitely made a fan out of me.
deadmau5 would keep the energy high, but the closing portion of the night completely belonged to Beyoncé. The Houston songstress had a Pied Piper effect that brought folks to the Rocky stage by the masses. Queen Bey brought the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour to the outdoor venue. She ran through a list of her hit records as the crowd danced and sung along for over an hour.
By the end of the night, most were physically and emotionally spent. But remember, that was only day one.