Villanovans are back, and so are music festivals. Philadelphia’s annual Made In America music festival returned to the city after a hiatus last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many Villanova students attended this Labor Day Weekend.
The music festival was founded in 2012 by acclaimed musician Jay-Z as a way to bring together music and culture. It takes place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, with the main “Rocky Stage” directly in front of the famous Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The festival takes place over two days from about 2:00-11:30 PM, with various musicians on three different stages. This year’s Day 1 artists included Latto, Coi Leray, Duke Deuce and Baby Keem, among others. The main attractions on the first day were Megan Thee Stallion, A$AP Ferg, Kehlani, Young Thug and headliner Lil Baby. Attendees were thrilled when Philadelphia’s own Meek Mill made a surprise appearance and gave an exhilarating performance of top hit “Dreams and Nightmares,” much to the crowd’s approval. The weather was perfectly sunny and 75 degrees, and it was a beautiful day to be back in Philly enjoying music and culture with friends.
Junior Emmet Scanlon attended the first day of the festival with friends.
“It was amazing to go to a concert again and experience some incredible outdoor fun and music with some great people,” Scanlon said.
On Day 2, performers included 42 Dugg, Lil Durk, Tinashe and Moneybagg Yo. Crowd favorites were Doja Cat, Lloyd Banks, Roddy Ricch, Bobby Shmurda and, of course, headliner Justin Bieber. Despite Sunday’s light rain, attendee’s spirits were not soaked.
To keep festival-goers energized, the site was lined with Food Trucks reminiscent of Villanova’s “Food Truck Fridays.” The food vendors offered a wide variety of options to eat, from Jamaican plates, to tacos, to traditional Philly foods and everything in between.
The Festival instituted a number of COVID-19 safety guidelines. The extensive statement on its website reads as follows:
“The Made In America festival will implement all CDC and local public health mandates and guidelines. In accordance with current guidance, proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or printed proof of full COVID-19 vaccination must be presented at entry. The negative COVID-19 test result must be obtained within 48 hours of attending the Made In America festival. In addition, as mandated by the City Of Philadelphia, all attendees on festival grounds will be required to wear masks.”
Attendees were required to present their vaccination status, with proof of vaccinations options such as the “CLEAR Health Pass” app, which serves as a virtual vaccination passport. However, despite these many safety guidelines, festival-goers reported that mask-wearing was loosely enforced at best, with a majority of the crowd going sans-mask. We will see if the city and its surrounding areas experience a large spike in COVID-19 cases as a result of this.
Overall, Made in America 2021 was an amazing celebration of music, culture and togetherness, as well as a great way for Villanova students to kick off the fall semester.