This may be the last year to catch Jay Z’s Made In America festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The rapper and entrepreneur had written an op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer regarding the city’s decision to move his event from the location after 2018 without notice. “We are disappointed that the mayor of the city of Philadelphia would evict us from the heart of the city, through a media outlet, without a sit-down meeting, notice, dialogue, or proper communication,” he wrote.
Jay-Z also claimed that the city also sent an unsuccessful “legal letter trying to stop the 2018 event,” which is set to happen on Sept. 1 and 2. The festival, founded in 2012, has hosted a number of top music artists, with this year’s lineup will including Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill, Post Malone, and Diplo.
A representative for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has released a statement in response.
“The City of Philadelphia supports the Made in America festival and is greatly appreciative of all that it has done for Philadelphia. We are committed to its continued success and thank them for their partnership,” a representative for Kenney’s office tells Billboard. “We hope to be able to resolve what has been an unfortunate misunderstanding. We are working with Roc Nation and Live Nation to resolve this issue and we are committed to continuing our partnership with the Made in America festival.”
Recently, Live Nation also released a statement concerning the controversy, “Live Nation wholeheartedly supports Jay-Z and Roc Nation’s bid to keep the Made In America Festival at its home on the Ben Franklin Parkway. We have yet to hear a compelling or plausible explanation for why the festival cannot return to the site where it has successfully been housed for six years and generated $102.8M in positive economic impact to the city. From Billie Holiday to Will Smith, Patti LaBelle, Jill Scott, The Roots and countless others, urban music is an indelible part of Philadelphia’s culture and history. By handicapping Made In America’s ability to bring the best show possible to the best site possible, this administration makes a statement about how it values the arts and plans to protect and expand the city’s vibrant musical heritage.”
UPDATE: Philadephia’s mayor has announced that he has come to an agreement with JAY-Z’s Roc Nation company. Mayor Jim Kenney and Roc Nation Chief Operating Officer Desiree Perez have agreed on terms to keep the Made in America festival along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for years to come, noting and will commit to dealing with the operational and community challenges of the large-scale event. Perez released a statement saying she and Mayor Kenney have cleared up any miscommunication and are proactively addressing concerns.
Photo credit :Sharon Alagna