It’s always bittersweet to enter Labor Day weekend looking at it as an “unofficial” send off to summer. Thankfully, for five iterations, the Made In America festival made it’s way back to the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, PA in all it’s multi-genre spender. There was an impending threat from tropical storm Hermine that loomed over the entire weekend – but the two-day festival was met with sunny skies, a lot of America-styled clothing, and enthusiastic fans.
The first day was met with a couple of cancellations, (Eve and Grimes) however, there was still a lot of punch in Saturday’s lineup. Californian rock band Dorothy, enjoying the momentum of their recently released album ROCKISDEAD, opened up the Liberty stage well received for fans who were arriving early. Lil Uzi Vert enjoyed a main stage homecoming – complete with his trademark jaunt through the crowd. Speaking of the Liberty stage, this is where the jolt of energy started. A$AP Ferg, who noted that he should be on the main stage got everyone going with “New Level” and “Work”.
There was news of Lil Wayne‘s apparent retirement due to a tweet sent by the rapper earlier that day, but that did not stop Collegrove (2 Chainz and Lil Wayne) from providing one of the best sets of the entire day. Running through songs from their joint album and separate tracks like “No Lie”, “A Milli”, and “Duffle Bag Boy,” some can argue that they can be a main stage closer.
A pleasant surprise from day one was English DJ, Jamie XX. His disco infused set had everyone dancing to the point where they were stopping the ice carts to use the light for a impromptu twerking party.Rihanna closed out the night with a two hour set that was a full retrospective throughout her entire career. Watching it, you almost realize the sheer number of songs that she can draw from. Starting the set off on top of a stage on the soundboard, Rihanna opened with two of her slower songs, “Stay” and “Love The Way You Lie”. There was a catwalk that hung over the crowd where Rihanna sang Anti tracks, “Woo” and “Sex With Me”. If there was ever any doubt that Rihanna could headline a festival, it was
Sunday was perhaps the most loaded day in terms of talent. It was a little hotter temperature wise. St. Lucia kicked off the main stage festivities as lead singer/guitarist Jean-Philip Grobler made his way into the crowd (this would become a reoccurring theme throughout the day) as the band played through songs like “Do You Remember?” and “Dancing On Glass”.
There was an interesting dichotomy on the Liberty Stage on Sunday. While it saw two of the most energetic acts of the weekend take to the crowd (and trees) with Tory Lanez and Travis Scott, sandwiched in between was the soulful guitar of Gary Clark Jr. The crowd was able to catch their breath as the dust began to permeate the stage throughout the duration of the day.
Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros was a pleasant surprise as the band brought up two happy fans to sing “Janglin”. There was also a cover of John Lennon’s “Instant Karma” mixed in there as well. DJ Khaled hyped crowds the best way he can with some of his anthemic records like “All We Do Is Win” “For Free”. Khaled also brought out guests like Freeway and Young Gunz – some fans may have been hoping for a Jay-Z or Beyonce appearance. .
Running towards the Tidal and Skate stages, there were a couple of good surprises. While there was a little bit of sound bleed that happened, that didn’t stop bands like Basement and Touche Amore from drawing a decent crowd.While people waited for Desiigner at the Tidal stage, they were treated to a pleasant surprise in G.O.O.D. Music signee, Kacy Hill. Everyone waited for Desiigner’s rendition of “Panda”, and at the end, the rapper tossed the mic into the crowd.
Chance The Rapper has had an incredible year so far. Including a happy birthday greeting to Beyonce which was a cover of The Simpsons “Happy Birthday, Lisa”, Chance played songs from his “Acid Rap” and “3” projects. For some fans like myself, this was one of the most anticipated sets of the entire weekend. Martin Garrix has also made his way to be a major player in the electronic scene and closed out the Liberty stage. The one thing I liked about this setup, is that the festival gave young acts with a considerable buzz the late slots to close out the weekend.
To this point, I had never seen Coldplay live (I know, I know), but had always heard of how fun their concerts were. Somehow nestling towards the left side of the stage, I had watched most of the almost two hour set and left happy. The London, England quartet opened with “A Head Full of Stars” with a backdrop that included fireworks. If I could ever think of a closer to send the summer off in style, it would be Coldplay – their feel-good music was an accumulation of summer memories and how the entire weekend played out.