American made

Jay-Z’s “Made in America” festival on Benjamin Franklin Parkway hosted a diverse lineup of performers.

Jay-Z, Drake, Maybach Music and…Pearl Jam? While not the band you expected to follow three of rap’s biggest acts, Budweiser Made in America Festival brought these big name performers to Philadelphia on Sept. 1 and 2. Some of the biggest names in rap and hip-hop collided with some of the biggest names in rock to make the festival a can’t–miss event.

The excitement and anticipation for the Made in America Festival has been building since May, when Jay-Z formally announced the inaugural event in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with an American flag in the background and Mayor Michael Nutter by his side.

The festival was held in front of the museum on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Temple students seemed to be in favor of this choice of venue, considering its location is approximately three miles away from Main Campus.

“I think it’s awesome that it’s on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, I love it there,” Kleiman said.

“It’s a smart idea Nutter is building a fence because it’ll keep people out who didn’t buy the tickets,” Kleiman said before the event. The fence enclosed the area so onlookers couldn’t see or, supposedly, hear the performers.

Seth Resnick, a junior engineering major at Temple, also seemed to be in favor of the festival’s location.

“Made in America…on the parkway is a great idea. It has great views of the city as well as being a historic landmark,” Resnick said before the concert. Resnick also noted the location’s accessibility from Main Campus.

“It’s relatively accessible if you take the subway. [It’s] just a little bit of a walk,” Resnick said.

The performers on the bill  were just as excited as the fans to play such a large-scale music festival. Gary Clark Jr., a singer-guitarist of Austin, Texas, was more than thrilled to participate in the event, and the fact that he was picked by Jay-Z didn’t hurt either.

“It was a great feeling,” Clark said. “He’s a formidable artist in the game, and one I’ve respected for some time. I was thrilled he considered me to join in.”

After one look at the lineup on Made in America’s website, the diversity of the performers is undeniable. From Passion Pit to Odd Future to Skrillex, there was something for everyone. Whereas Pearl Jam might have been just enough to draw in the older crowd, the diversity of the performers on the bill were more than enough to draw in music lovers of nearly any genre, while pushing other fan bases out of their comfort zones and exposing them to bands and rappers they may have otherwise written off.

“I think it’s great because it’s something for anyone – any age, style, type of music,” Kleiman said. Clark is also all for the different variety of music genres that the festival presented fans with.

“I think diversity and variety makes things more interesting,” Clark said.

With a star-studded lineup, tickets for the festival ranged from $99 to $175. However, the prices didn’t deter Temple students from attending.

“I think it’s really reasonable for the price, because a Jay-Z ticket alone would be double the price,” Kleiman said.

Mahoney had similar thoughts.

“I thought that for the amount of performers I want to see, it evens out,” Mahoney said. At about 10:30 p.m., on Saturday, Sept. 1, those who invested in the tickets were rewarded by some surprise performers.

“[Since] you have been so good to me, Philly, I’m going to be good to you tonight,” Jay-Z told the crowd at the event. Subsequent performers included Big Sean, Pusha T and Kanye West. Other artists present at the event included Common, 2 Chainz, Memphis Bleek, Chris and Neef and Swizz Beatz.

Walking into Made in America, patrons were greeted by the various food and merchandise tents, with lights strung above them that gave off a bit of a homey feel, sort of like being in your friend’s backyard – if you had an extremely rich and entitled friend.

In an attempt to stray away from the norm, and not just have concert goers sitting around, waiting for the next act they want to see perform, Made in America offered everyone alternative options that included things like a dance tent and a mini shopping area that included tents selling anything from actual food to vintage journals. An outdoor game area was also part of the festivities.

Although not all the performers were actually “made in America,” the diversity of the lineup and unusual choice of venue made the event a must-see Philadelphia attraction.

Kate Trowbridge can be reached at

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