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May 22, 2012 / jhsaeger

Made In America Festival Falls Into Place

   Last week’s announcement of Philadelphia’s first ever Made In America Festival was only colored in with copious gray area: Jay-Z will headline; that is all we will say for now; tickets go on sale soon. On Monday, the lineup began to fall into place with the announcement of an odd accumulation of talent that will likely attract a very diverse crowd for the festival, which will take place on September 1 and September 2 on Philadelphia’s expansive Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
    Aside from Jay-Z, the second headliner of Made In America will be the veteran rock band Pearl Jam, who has a very special place in Philadelphia music history. The last time Pearl Jam played in Philadelphia was an epic four-date swing to close out the hallowed Spectrum in 2009. Pearl Jam is a savvy choice to draw a crowd, as they sell out wherever they play and the festival is one of only three U.S. tour dates for the Seattle band in 2012.
   While they will help sell tickets, Eddie Vedder and Co. do stand out among the concert’s other performers, which include: the red hot DJ Skrillex, D’Angelo, Santigold, the Dirty Projector, Jannelle Monae, Passion Pit, and Afrojack.
    Obvious acts from Philadelphia’s immense talent pool that may have fit in better with the lineup, (like The Roots, War on Drugs, Kurt Vile, Hall & Oates, or esteemed names from Gamble and Huff’s heyday) were conspicuously not on the early list of Made In America’s list, but there is still plenty of wiggle room on the roster for any of the acts to squeeze in and I’d expect at least one of those names to find their way onto the list. 
    I love the idea of a major music festival taking place in the heart of Philadelphia (especially one only fifteen non-rush hour minutes from my house), but the timing for the launch of a festival could not have gone against a more intimidating factor running at the exact same time: Bruce Springsteen selling out two dates at Citizens Bank Park. That event will inevitably detract from Made In America’s overall attendance, but it will be interesting to see if the festival can stick in Philadelphia and become an annual event on a weekend that most people in the area have seen as a representation of the close of the summer season and the mourning of a new school year. 

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