There’s more bad news for Jay-Z’s Made in America festival.
Last month Budweiser – which helped launch Made in America in 2012 – announced it was ending its sponsorship of the event to focus on country music gatherings.
Now comes word the city of Philadelphia is kicking the two-day festival off the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where it’s been held for the past six years.
On Tuesday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s office told local publication Billy Penn that after this year, the festival will have to move to another location. City leaders blamed the cost of the event and associated congestion. Unfortunately, they forgot to tell Jay-Z’s Roc Nation the festival would no longer be welcome on the parkway.
Jay-Z was not happy and penned an op-ed Wednesday in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“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,” Jay-Z said.
“It signifies zero appreciation for what Made In America has built alongside the phenomenal citizens of this city. In fact, this administration immediately greeted us with a legal letter trying to stop the 2018 event,” he added.
According to local media reports, last year it cost the city about $1.1 million for services for the festival, including police overtime and cleanup. Roc Nation covered half of those costs.
When the festival first launched, the Great Recession had recently ended and Philadelphia needed the economic boost the event would bring.
Now that the economy has improved, a city spokesperson noted “the need for an event of this scale at this location may no longer be necessary.”
Jay-Z said in his op-ed, Philadelphia leaders are being shortsighted.
“Since 2012, Made in America, one of the only minority-owned festivals, has had a positive $102.8 million economic impact to Philadelphia, and the festival has paid $3.4 million in rent to the city,” he said. “Made in America employs more than 1,000 Philadelphians each day and 85 percent of our partners are Philadelphia-base companies.”
Each year the Made in America Festival is held on Labor Day weekend, and draws thousands of fans.
This year’s lineup features a wide-range of performers, including Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Meek Mill, Diplo, Zedd, Alessia Cara and Fat Joe.
A Roc Nation rep told Billy Penn the festival will return to Philly in 2019, meanwhile a city spokesperson said: “We are interested in discussing the festival’s future.”
In 2014, Made in America was held simultaneously in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
However, the two-day L.A. event – held downtown in Grand Park – faced heavy criticism for drawing massive crowds to the city center, and causing noise and traffic problems.
That year the festival drew more than 70,000 music fans, but it hasn’t returned to L.A. since then.