By Jay Holz, Guest Blogger
Who said you can’t have fun at a music festival if there’s torrential downpour?
This past Labor Day weekend, the city of Philadelphia once again hosted the annual Budweiser Made In America Festival. Shutting down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the weekend was dedicated to great music, tasty food and drinks, and a diverse crowd of festival goers plotting on getting as close to the 5 stages as possible.
Made In America had attendees focused on three important things: 1) How do we manage to see all of the artists we want to see? 2) How do we manage to stay as dry as possible? and 3) How do we get Cardi B to notice us?
Well the first concern is one that we deal with every year. It is humanly impossible to see every artist at Made In America, simply because a lot of artists are performing at the same time (or minutes apart) at two different stages that are on complete opposite ends of the Parkway. I chose Migos, Vic Mensa and then Solange instead of the new school guys like A Boogie, J.I.D., and Earthgang.
Then for the second concern, staying as dry as possible, there was only so much you could do. It rained off and on (more so “on”) the entire day and the entire night. Thankfully, I had a media pass, which allowed me access to the Media Tent kept me dry. That is, when I wasn’t in the crowd chanting the words to “Bodak Yellow” and “Bad And Boujee” from Cardi B and Migos respectively. The rain sucked, obviously, but if you let that ruin your Made In America experience, you’re doing “festival-ing” wrong.
Day 2 :
As Sunday morning approached, every rain cloud in sight decided to exit Philly immediately. It’s Day 2 of Made In America and already, the excitement is flowing.
Not only are we walking into the festival grounds on dry surfaces, but the realization that we’ll be witnessing the GOAT Jay-Z perform that night finally sunk in. Will Hov perform “Kill Jay-Z?” Will he bring Beyoncé out at some point? Will Blue drop her freestyle from 4:44? The anxiety/excitement was soaring.
But before Shawn Carter closed out the festival, we had a slew of other performers to be excited about. The list included the President of G.O.O.D. Music, Pusha T, the realest from the A, 21 Savage, the mainstream hitmakers Chainsmokers and many others.
It’s about 8pm, which means we’re an hour and a half away from Hov and at that point. Nothing else matters. Popular EDM artist Marshmello was throwing down on the Liberty Stage (the stage right near the main stage). While I wanted to see his set, there was no way I wasn’t going to have a good spot for Jay-Z. So, I positioned myself in a way where I could enjoy the rest of Marshmello’s set and still be in a good spot for Hov when the time came.
As Marshmello’s set is wrapping up, the entire festival is trekking towards the Main Stage, and my once incredible spot is now closing in. But alas, 9:30pm rolls around and the loud horns of “BAM” come out on the speakers. It was officially Jay-Z time.
I could sit here and break down every single track from his set, but that would take way too long. And also, the 40+ song performances simply left me speechless, so I’m having trouble articulating my feelings. Of course, I found myself rapping along to a lot of the songs, but there were more times than not that I was just gazing at the crowd and at Jay-Z. I realized that I’m witnessing one of the greatest music artists of all time perform his entire catalogue. It was really an unexplainable feeling.
Then out of nowhere, Jay decided to trek over to the Liberty Stage after his main set was over and perform another handful of songs for the crowd. He also brought out hometown hero Meek Mill to perform the “Intro” that we all love.
What’s better than one Hov set? Two, of course!!! Made In America weathered the storm and once again, ran a smooth and successful festival. The only concern for next year: Can they top 2017?