First off, I must start this piece off by thanking the curator himself for making this all possible: Jay-Z. Thank you Mr. Carter for bringing the Budweiser Made In America Festival to the city of Philadelphia. Having grown up 15 minutes outside of one of America’s most buzzing cities, Philly has always been my go-to for exploration. Whether it meant grabbing a bite to eat at Jon’s on South Street or going for a bike ride on Kelly Drive. Whether it meant witnessing the opening day pitch at a Phils game at Citizens Bank Park or checking out my favorite artist perform at The Troc, Philadelphia has always provided a diverse experience for myself, locals, and the active and engaged population of tourists.
Made In America holds true to what Philadelphia represents: the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection. It represents this message in so many ways. A man by the name of Shawn Carter decided to park a massive concert in the middle of the Ben Franklin Parkway, bring 70,000 music fans from all over, of all ages, of all races, of all musical outlooks—together for an unforgettable concert experience. What better way to spread the love then come together with people of all walks of life, crack open a Budweiser, and sit back and enjoy some of today’s top artists rip the stages. Thank you Mr. Carter.
Day 1 (September 5): I’ll be the first to admit; I’m not a frequent festival goer. I prefer small concert venues, so close you can reach out and feel the sweat of your favorite artist drip on you. So with this being said, I had no idea that I would be trampled on (a bit of an exaggeration) by a crowd of people while laced in the Yeezy Boost 750s. I guess I didn’t get the memo that Yeezys were an absolute no when it came to festivals. The combination of dirt, dust, and beer actually turned my sneakers into a light brown color. I’ll have to let Kanye know that I need the patent on that exclusive color.
DAY 1 RECAP (Sept. 5)
On the first day, I checked out Vic Mensa, Earl Sweatshirt, G-Eazy, Meek Mill, and Beyoncé. I narrowed down some of the top 5 most epic Day 1 experiences.
5. Vic Mensa donned a pair of Conrad Muscarella distressed pants that read “Burn The White House” during his performance. Political statement or nah?
4. Meek Mill brought out Nicki Minaj… She didn’t perform but she did say hello to the crowd while sporting her Chanel Boy Bag.
3. G-Eazy ended his set by throwing dollar bills at the crowd.
2. The Queen of the World (Beyoncé) whipped to T-Wayne’s “Nasty.”
1. Beyonce performed an almost 2-hour set ranging from “7/11” to “Crazy In Love” to “Say My Name.”
DAY 2 RECAP (Sept. 6)
Returning rejuvenated and refreshed, I nixed the Yeezys this day and threw on some classic Converse Chucks. You can’t go wrong with those. Day 2 was massive, packed with A-list performances so I knew I’d be running all over the venue. I checked out Action Bronson, Fabolous, Future, Banks, J. Cole, and The Weeknd. Check out my top 5 Day 2 moments below!
5. Fabolous performed everything from “We Good” to “Lituation” and after the epic performance he even hit the press room to engage with the media.
4. Future gave Made In America a complimentary rock concert. NBD. You’re welcome. (A lot of concertgoers were mad that they didn’t give him the main stage to perform on. I’ll attribute this to premature planning etc. I’m sure next year this will be fixed.)
3. Banks slayed the stage in a two-piece black outfit and leather boots. Her voice is just as soft and angelic live and in concert as it is on her projects Goddess and London.
2. J. Cole put on an electrifying performance opening the show with “Wet Dreamz.” I was digging his ever-growing scruffy locs and camo jogger attire.
1. The Weeknd end the weekend on the perfect note. He teased his fans, pretending to exit the stage after the performance, only to return and play one last song: “Wicked Games.”
Overall, Made In America was an amazing and unforgettable experience. Philadelphia, home to the Declaration of Independence, Betsey Ross’ American flag conception, America’s unofficial capital throughout the War of Independence—Philly serves as the perfect pillar of American representation. It houses so much historical context that as an American you owe yourself a visit to this beautiful city. If you didn’t make it out this year then I advise you to plan a trip for next year. The music paired with the electrifying vibes paired with the narration of Philly, makes attending Made In America a no-brainer. Thank you Mr. Carter for bringing music to the heart of America’s antiquity.