Made in America festival looking for a new home next year

"The location is integral to the pulse of the festival," Jay-Z wrote.

Tim Jimenez
July 18, 2018 - 7:00 am
Philadelphia's Made in America festival

Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio, file


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Made in America Festival, a Labor Day weekend staple on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, will be at a new location in Philadelphia starting in 2019.

Some people who live around the parkway have had their share of complaints about noise and road closures, but some, like neighborhood resident Paul Trier, told CBS 3 it wasn't that bad.

"It never seemed to annoy me that much. I know some of my neighbors might have felt that way," he said.

The two-day live music fest has been on the parkway since rapper Jay-Z founded it in 2012. He wrote an open letter critical of the move, published in the Inquirer on Wednesday. "The location is integral to the pulse of the festival," Jay-Z wrote. "The Parkway is a cultural arts center that is symbolic to over 600 artists that have performed at this event. The Parkway captures the freedom and spirit of inclusivity that drew us to the city of Brotherly Love."

He added that Made in America is one of the only minority-owned festivals in the city.

The announcement comes after Made in America lost its sponsor, Budweiser. A company vice president told Ad Age magazine that Budweiser decided to shift sponsorship dollars toward country music events.

A city spokeswoman, Deana Gamble, said Tuesday that the festival’s loss of Budweiser as a sponsorship was a coincidence and unrelated to the decision to leave the parkway. She offered two reason for the change of venue.

"There have long been concerns by parkway institutions and residents about the use of the parkway for large-scale events," she said. "The city and event producers are taking the concerns into consideration."

Gamble added, "When the festival first started, it was intended to provide a unique attraction to the city on the otherwise quiet Labor Day weekend. Over the years, tourism has grown overall and the need for an event of this scale at this location may no longer be necessary."

So city officials say they'll work with festival organizers to find a new location next year.