Logan Square neighbors unsettled over fences, tickets for Labor Day concert

Fences are being built along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia as the city prepares for “Made in America,” the two-day Labor Day weekend concert hosted by rap superstar Jay-Z. It will be the first event to take over the Parkway that will require a paid ticket.

Jim Fennel, who lives nearby, says it looks like a concentration camp.

“This whole concept of double-fencing a primary part of the Parkway for a paid event is suspect,” said Fennel. “We’ll have to see how it goes.”

“Made In America,” to be presented by Budweiser, will feature headliner acts Jay-Z and Pearl Jam. About 50,000 people are expected to attend, each paying about $100. The city allowed the public space to be used because the event is expected to bring international attention to Philadelphia.

“The perimeter will have two fences, 8-feet tall separated about 16 feet,” said Mark McDonald, a spokesman for the city. “The second fence will have a scrim, a material that prevents anyone from seeing what’s on the other side of the fence.”

Security will patrol the 16-foot gap between the fences. More security, both city police and private, will be inside and outside the fences.

Concert promoter Scott Mirkin has worked with the city many times in the past, particularly in staging events during the Fourth of July.

The Logan Square neighborhood is no stranger to enormous public events. Every year, the free Fourth of July concert on the Parkway draws more than 500,000 people, 10 times the number expected to attend “Made in America.”

But this one requires a ticket, and that’s new. It’s making neighbors nervous.

“It’s the unknown of how many people are going to show up without tickets and stand outside the event, perhaps be unruly,” said David Searle, president of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association. “We’re used to hosting 500,000 or 600,000 people for the Fourth of July. That taxes the neighborhood an incredible amount, but we’re used to that. This is something completely new and we don’t know what to expect.”

Both the Philadelphia Art Museum and the Barnes Foundation will remain open during the concerts.

Labor Day weekend will be the final days of the art museum’s “Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia” exhibition. Museum officials are encouraging visitors to use the west-side entrance, and avoid the steps of the main entrance.

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