Jay-Z is not happy.
The rapper and organizer of the annual Made in America festival on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway is upset that the city has declined to host the 2019 edition of the event in what’s become its traditional spot.
After this year’s concert on Labor Day weekend, Made in America will have to find another location if it wants to continue.
BillyPenn.com broke the news of the city’s decision, which had not been relayed to Jay-Z.
“It signifies zero appreciation for what Made In America has built alongside the phenomenal citizens of this city,” the entertainer wrote in an op-ed on Philly.com, calling out Mayor Jim Kenney.
Jay-Z pointed to an estimated $102.8 million economic impact for Philadelphia since 2012, when the first multiday concert took place across several blocks of the Parkway.
“We are disappointed that the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia would evict us from the heart of the city” – JAY-Z https://t.co/h3GGZK70Ko
— JAY-Z Daily (@JAY_Z_Daily) July 18, 2018
While the concert undoubtedly brought a boost to the city, it brought its share of problems. The setup and breakdown of the several stages of Made in America — which, as a ticketed event, requires significant security and fencing — disrupted the surrounding neighborhoods, shutting down traffic for several days. And concert-goers were not always on their best behavior.
“Personally, I have mixed feelings,” said Bruce Butler, president of the Fairmount Civic Association. “I thought it was good to bring people into the neighborhood and to the city. But, for the two or three days when it happens, we’re captive in our area, because we can’t leave. Our parking spaces would disappear. Parking is bad enough already up here. I’m relieved that we will get our neighborhood back.”
In May, the Parkway Council and the city managing director’s office released a study of appropriate uses of the Parkway; its focus groups included residents of Logan Square and Fairmount neighborhoods. The study found that residents feel left out of the planning process regarding Parkway activity, and they feel that Made in America and other large-scale events have increased.
“Several alternative venues in Philadelphia should be considered for special events,” the study recommended, mentioning Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River and Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park.
“Participants viewed considerations of public transit options as highly important for the placement of an event, outweighing the aesthetic value of holding the event on the Parkway,” stated the report.
Jay-Z, for the Inquirer on #MadeInAmerica:
“Is this an accurate representation of how [Kenney] & his administration treat partners … Do they regularly reject minority-owned businesses that want to continue to thrive & grow alongside his city’s people?” https://t.co/IvsbgHXFP2 pic.twitter.com/BE5nsuVJDk
— Ray Boyd (@RayBoydDigital) July 18, 2018
Jay-Z feels differently. In his op-ed, he said the city needs Made in America as much as Made in America needs the Parkway.
“The Parkway captures the freedom and spirit of inclusivity that drew us to the City of Brotherly Love,” he wrote.