Made in America: One-of-a-kind experience for some, nuisance for others

For neighboring church, clergyman says MIA is like 'the devil' seeping through its windows

Andrew Kramer
September 02, 2018 - 2:12 pm
Made in America festival 2018

Andrew Kramer | KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Music lovers have taken over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway again Sunday, with tens of thousands of them filtering throughout the weekend for the annual Made in America festival

But not everyone is enjoying those massive crowds.

Standing outside St. Francis Xavier Parish-The Oratory at 24th and Green streets, the commotion from the festival is audibly cascading off the building's traditional architecture.

Deacon Vince Thompson said it's much of the same inside.

There's no air conditioning in the building, so they have to keep the windows open during mass, even while the concert is going on. 

"It's like the devil is trying to get through the windows," Thompson said. "It is very loud. It is very hard for the priests to preach."

He said they could not play any music during church Sunday because the concert would drown them out.

Nearby, business at local vendors like Pete's Famous Pizza say the festival weekend "sucks."

"Nobody wants to be around in this mess in this neighborhood," said waitress Kelly Nealis, "because there's nowhere to park. Traffic is everywhere."

Other businesses close to the Parkway, like Figs Restaurant near 25th and Fairmount streets, also attribute a lack of regular business to Made in America.

"We usually have a packed brunch on Saturday and Sunday," said Figs owner, who asked not to be identified. But on this particular Sunday, the restaurant is dead.

"People don't want to come in because they know they can't park, they can't drive through."

Nealis and Thompson, however, both understand why the city keeps holding this event.

For the concert-goers, "it's unlike any festival I've ever been to."