“The blockbuster roster of talent,” according to Anheuser-Busch’s May 14, 2012 press release, “will include nearly 30 artists that embody the American spirit performing across three stages on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park on Saturday, Sept. 1, and Sunday, Sept. 2.”
When addressing the media, Jay-Z poised atop the iconic staircase of the Philadelphia Museum of Art — the stairs made famous in the film Rocky, and which will serve as a backdrop to the music festival — and explained what makes this live music event unique. “Whenever I enter into a project, I try to hit on some touch points,” he told the crowd, and cited three major components: “Is it great? Will it push the culture forward? And what’s the philanthropic opportunity?”
Its lineup alone is testament to the innovation and grandeur of the concert. The diverse array of acts crosses styles, decades, and attitudes while showcasing, as Budweiser put it, “the only genre that matters, ‘great music’.” Headlining along with Jay-Z is Pearl Jam, on one of their only U.S. stops during their tour. Skrillex, Passion Pit, Afrojack, Calvin Harris, Miike Snow, Santigold, Janelle Monae, Rick Ross, and the renowned R&B artist, D’Angelo, are also slated. The complete roster can be found on Made in America’s official website. This collaboration of artists is sure to draw an eclectic patronage, expanding the exposure of both the musicians and the attendees to fresh art and ideas.
Besides hosting an unforgettable show, a primary goal of the festival is to have a positive impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. The city of Philadelphia is enthusiastic about how the tourism will boost the city’s revenue, money which should trickle down to help its citizens. Jay-Z was also intent on a grass-roots push to benefit the local people more directly, which is why the concert is a benefit.
The recipient organization is The United Way, a global network of community-based efforts with a vision of “a world where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through education, income stability and healthy lives.” The program’s mission is to “[improve] lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good.” The event proceeds will go to United Ways in Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Lancaster County, PA and New York City. “It’s great to partner with United Way again to support all of the positive work they do in the community,” said Jay-Z.
While the rapper has performed his way around the music festival circuit throughout his career, Made in America is the largest event that Jay-Z has yet hosted. His business successes — running a clothing line, multiple clubs and record labels, a cosmetic brand, and being part owner of a professional basketball team, to name a few ventures — piqued Anheiser-Busch’s interest in 2006. He was hired to provide a new spin on brand programs and marketing for Budweiser, along with overseeing advertising across popular media and events.
If Made in America is as successful as its organizers are hoping — and so far they’re doing everything right — fans can expect more live music events from Jay-Z in the future.