(PCM) The Budweiser Made In America Festival has become a Labor Day tradition in the city of Philadelphia and this year the eclectic Jay-Z curated musical extravaganza celebrated it’s fifth anniversary in the city of brotherly love. It has been truly amazing to witness this festival continue to grow each and every year and we don’t think another festival in the country features the same level of artist diversity as Made In America.
At times the Made In America festival can truly seem like a game of spot the celebrity and this year was no different. Throughout the weekend there were many reported (and confirmed) sightings of former President Bill Clinton, Malia Obama, a slew of secret service and S.W.A.T. team officers, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Michael B. Jordan, and someone even claimed they saw Kanye West on the grounds (but we doubt it). It is a who’s who of the entertainment industry and we adore being right in the thick of it!
Headliners Rihanna on Saturday night and Coldplay on Sunday night absolutely slayed with their performances. We seriously can’t believe it had taken Rihanna this long to coordinate schedules with Jay-Z to make an appearance at the festival, as she has been a Roc Nation artist for years. Reading several other reviews of Rihanna’s performance, we couldn’t believe that more people were taking the time to comment on her clothing and boots (which were fantastic by the way) and not her absolutely amazing showmanship. This lady knows how to commandeer an audience and was hypnotizing to watch.
Rihanna opened with a very dark and soulful rendition of the hit “Stay” which she performed from the top of the soundboard behind the audience before sashaying her way across a lowered catwalk which carried her across the Ben Franklin Parkway directly over top of the audience. It was magical. Rihanna plowed through her hits such as “B*tch Better Have My Money”, “Umbrella”, “Live Your Life” and “Rude Boy”. Fans were hoping that we might get a glimpse of current boy toy Drake at some point during her performance, however no such luck here in Philly.
If we thought Rihanna’s performance to close out Saturday night was impressive, we had no idea what was about to hit with Coldplay’s amazing set to close out Sunday night. They were phenomenal. Vocalist Chris Martin and the rest of the band brought their A-game to their 90 minute Made In America performance.
The stage was bright and colorful and a glorious array of fireworks went off as Coldplay kicked off their set with the trippy “Headful of Dreams”. The band then kicked things into high gear incorporating the entire audience into the show with the use of LED lighted bracelets that lit up in time with the music that was being played. It was an amazing sight to behold. Highlights of their set included “Yellow”, “Paradise”, “Clocks” and a gorgeous rendition of “Evergold” that nearly brought us to tears.
Music has always had the power to unite and looking out around the crowd we saw that unity on full display. There were no lines of separation between race, religion, political affiliation or sexuality. It was just people, coming together as one, getting lost in the music that spoke to our souls.
The overall diversity of this year’s line-up was fantastic, while there were of course some performances we could have lived without for example, the utter boredom we endured during the Sunday evening set from FKA Twigs and not being all that impressed with Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, majority of the performances this year were spot-on. We loved rocking out with Collegrove ( 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne), Chance The Rapper, Jamie XX, Martin Garrix, and DJ Khaled. Artists such as Gary Clark, Jr and Dorothy are always a treat, however we definitely are hoping that 2017 features just a few more artists that lean heavier on the rock side, as this year was incredibly hip-hop heavy.
What we love about Made In America also has a lot to do with their charitable activities as well. The Cause Village is a wonderful area to visit as it is chock full of ways in which we can all become involved to help our world become a better place. It is not something you see at a lot of other festivals, so we certainly praise Made In America for teaching individuals, especially the younger generation, about the importance of giving back.
The audience, as in years past, was sea of red, white and blue and it was fantastic to see so many young people out having a good time and showing a ton of pride for their country. Diversity is what makes America great and yet again it was wonderful to witness so many people coming together as one in the spirit of music and the close out the summer festival season having the time of their lives.
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