Made in America artists, fans push through rainstorm


Fans react as DJ Marshmello performs during Day Two of the Made in America festival

Cassie McHugh '20

The Made in America festival returned to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend, marking the festival’s sixth year.

Day one of the festival was hampered by rain, the remnants of Hurricane Harvey that devastated Houston, Texas a week prior. Although the rain fell at a downpour several times over the course of the day, it did little to detract festival-goers. A no-reentry policy forced the crowds to stick out the elements once they entered the festival grounds. Some covered up in rain jackets and ponchos, while others chose to embrace the inevitable soaking and wore nothing but tank tops and shorts. 

Saturday’s artists were as resilient as the crowds, with no lineup cancellations. Many performers seemed energized by their crowds’ dedication despite the downpours. Rapper Cardi B, who has gained fast-growing popularity with the success of her song “Bodak Yellow,” caused a buzz with her performance on the Liberty Stage before later being photographed with Beyonce. Later, DJs Cash Cash and Kaskade both drew large crowds to their aligning pre-headliner sets, delivering electrifying performances that amped fans up before headliner J. Cole took to the Rocky Stage, at the foot of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps. Clad in his signature orange jumpsuit, he pushed on through more rain, calling on the crowd to live in the moment. 

Sunday dawned much sunnier, with only a few scattered showers during the beginning hours of the festival’s second day. The crowd seemed denser and moving from stage to stage became more challenging, partially due to the leftover mud from Saturday. Popular DJ duo The Chainsmokers performed their biggest radio hits as the sun set. DJ Marshmello followed, delighting fans by bringing out singer Khalid for a surprise performance of their recent collaboration, “Silence.”  

Jay-Z took to the stage to close out the festival that he has curated since its debut in 2012. He performed a number of tracks off of his most recent album, 4:44, and also treated the crowd to some of his most popular hits, including “Empire State of Mind,” “99 Problems,” and “Run This Town.” Midway through his set, he paused to lead the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to his wife, Beyonce, whose birthday was on Monday, September 4. Beyonce was spotted watching her husband’s performance on Sunday but did not make an onstage appearance despite heavy crowd chants for her. 

Although his set appeared to come to a close following a performance of “Numb/Encore,” in tribute to Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, who committed suicide in July, Jay-Z appeared once again, this time on the smaller Liberty Stage. The surprise move confused many festival-goers who scrambled around trying to figure out where his voice was now coming from. He then brought out rapper Meek Mill, a Philadelphia native, to perform their song “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro),” causing a flurry of excitement throughout the crowd for a final energy peak before the gates closed on Made in America once again.