What does it mean to be Made In America? Of course, there are the popular primal ideas that emphasize an American birth certificate or an inclination towards democracy, apple pie, and baseball. But then there’s the America that’s not in the storybooks, whose roads are not paved with gold but rather with crushed Budweiser cans (a great American symbol of a weekend well spent nonetheless). At this weekend’s 5th annual Budweiser Made In America festival, attendees created their own narrative of what it really means to be Made In America. Musicians and festival-goers from around the world accumulated at Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the spirit of music, a global cultural stencil that transcends American borders. Rather than attendees carrying American passports or flags as a symbol of America, they carried the spirit of freedom that this country lays claim to.
Over the course of two-days attendees kicked up dust trudging between 4 stages that competed to capture the attention of fans. On Saturday, rap fans argued over who’s set to watch when ColleGrove members Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz hit the big stage while DJ Mustard spun a host of hits on a far off stage. Naturally, all agreed that Rihanna would have nothing but their devoted attention as the pop diva floated up and down the main stage as a mysterious hooded figure. Sunday’s performers, including V103 cover star Kacy Hill, rock musician Gary Clark Jr., and EDM powerhouse Martin Garrix, performed for a crowd mixed with students, their teachers, and even their mothers. Friends perched on each other’s shoulders trying to get a glance of DJ Khaled, while Travis Scott militantly climbed trees in the middle of a mosh pit, all before dusk. Headliners Coldplay caught the tail end of the excitement, reigniting the energy of the crowd before closing out the 48-hour rush.
All in all, it’s hard to imagine an image less American than the one illustrated at Made In America. The weekend witnessed an exchange of laughs between our 42nd president Bill Clinton and festival curator Jay-Z, drunken kisses shared between strangers, volatile arguments that seized when performers hit the stage, funnel cake dust sprinkled on the chins of their owners, and multi-racial and religious unions contributed to the majesticness of it all. The freedom of people of all backgrounds to dance, sing, yell, and climb poles (although no one was successful in making it to the top) in unison projected a feeling that was undoubtedly made in America.