The Made in America 2019 Music Festival, Jay Z and Live Nation’s annual two-day extravaganza, nestled along Philly’s iconic Benjamin Franklin Parkway, was an explosive celebration of today’s pop-culture, music, and art. They even had a call to social action sprinkled in this year for good measure.
If you’re a Philadelphian (native or transplant) or a long-time reader of Independent Philly, you’ve no doubt seen our past coverage of Made in America, which debuted on the Parkway in 2012 and has been a staple ever since. While we miss the bevy of rock bands that used to round out the list of performers (these days it is almost exclusively hip-hop and electronic music), this year’s Made In America did not disappoint.
Made in America brought in a ton of eager festival-goers with its two headliners in 2019. On Saturday night, August 31st, Cardi B pulled out all of the stops, performing for the crowd with her wild antics following Day 1 performances by names like JUICE WRLD, Kaskade, Rosalia, and Anderson.Paak.
The following evening, September 1st was headlined by Travis Scott and was equally entertaining. Other notable Day 2 performances included Lil Uzi Vert, James Blake, Lizzo, and Gucci Mane. In addition to the headliners, and slew of other big names, 40+ wonderfully talented up and coming artists made the weekend a bonafide win for attendees.
For a Cause…
If the music wasn’t enough to convince you, the festival also featured the ‘Cause Village’ – a diverse social action hub of over 56 charitable organizations, ranging from such things as environmental sustainability to homelessness to voter registration. To properly raise a child, it takes a village, and it seemed as though all of the tri-state area’s younger population was positively enlightened by these activist organizations present at Made In America. Fans in attendance got their ears filled with music and their eyes filled with constant stimulation and people watching but for those with a more traditional appetite, there was no shortage of vendors and food trucks that lined the parkway creating a plethora of mouth-watering options for everyone. There was also plenty of walking around to be done because, you know, gotta get those steps in and burn those calories.
August 31st, 2019: Made In America Day 1
Our Day 1 included catching performances by Yoshi Flower, Elephante, Anderson.Paak & The Free Nationals, Kaskade, JUICE WRLD, and of course, Cardi B. Yoshi Flower, with whom we spoke, was one of the few artists for the non-hip-hop or EDM crowds and set the tone nicely for our day. He got the crowd going with his playful sprit and backdrop that read, “Take acid and listen to Yoshi Flower.” He had powerful vocals and a fun, unique stage presence and we’re looking forward to seeing what else he’ll be doing.
More to come on Yoshi Flower in our interviews section!
Elephante, with whom we also spoke, had a new single drop on September 12th. During his set, he featured his own vocals over some pretty nasty beats, cranking things up a notch which got us (and everyone else who caught his set) pumped up.
Check out our interview with Elephante here.
Then there is Anderson.Paak, who was one of the most sweet, humble and down-to-earth humans that we’ve met. He smiles so much that we have to wonder if one man can possibly have so much to be happy about. Anderson.Paak played a jazzy, funk-inspired set that really appealed to fans of all genres. His 90’s inspired clothing and uber-chill vibe combined with his high-energy performance definitely left us wanting more Andy, as I (Jen) have decided to call him.
Kaskade brought out every teenager in attendance (or so it seemed) with his performance complete with serious pyro and an even hotter track selection. It was a stark contrast to JUICE WRLD whom we found to be a little too EMO for an outdoor festival on a picture-perfect day.
Cardi B made the whole day worth it by closing down Made in America: Day 1, with her colorful main stage performance. It was our first time seeing Cardi B in person and she certainly lives up to the hype with her sassy sense of humor, quirky comments and (of course) her twerking…
September 1st, 2019: Made In America Day 2
Our Day 2 was a little shorter than Day 1 but we still managed to take in several stellar performances including James Blake, Lizzo whose message of positivity for young women is needed more than ever in our current political climate, Lil Uzi Vert, and Travis Scott. The crowds for both Lil Uzi and Scott were absolutely insane and it seemed like half of Philly’s police force was also in attendance for these last sets. Thankfully, the cops were on hand but weren’t needed for any serious incidents (we did, however, see several teenagers get taken out of the festival in wheelchairs, more than likely due to their alcohol consumption… these crazy kids.)
All in all it was another fun, exhausting weekend on the Ben Franklin Parkway for Made in America. While we adore the event, we’d love to see them return to the original formula of hip-hop, EDM, and rock in 2020 (hint, hint, Made in America!) Bands like Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon, and Nine Inch Nails only added to the event in the past, making it a truly well-rounded weekend for fans of all kinds of musical tastes to enjoy.
Written by Rob Rogers, David Miller & Jen Strogatz