Since 2012, Jay-Z’s annual Made in America festival has been held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, which over the years has featured Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West, Pearl Jam and others along with Jay. Yet city Mayor Jim Kenney said that this year will be the last that the concert will be held on the parkway due to the costs — approximately half of which have been covered by Jay’s Roc Nation company — and congestion associated with the event, according to a report in the local publication Billy Penn, prompting an angry response from Jay-Z.
“We are disappointed that the mayor of the city of Philadelphia would evict us from the heart of the city, through a media outlet, without a sit-down meeting, notice, dialogue, or proper communication,” Jay wrote in an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It signifies zero appreciation for what Made In America has built alongside the phenomenal citizens of this city. In fact, this administration immediately greeted us with a legal letter trying to stop the 2018 event.
“Since 2012, Made in America, one of the only minority-owned festivals, has had a positive $102.8 million economic impact to Philadelphia, and the festival has paid $3.4 million in rent to the city,” he continues. “Made in America employs more than 1,000 Philadelphians each day and 85 percent of our partners are Philadelphia-based companies,” and added that “Made in America has donated $2.9 million to the United Way of Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.”
A rep for the city told Billy Penn that it was open to finding an alternate venue, and a Roc Nation rep said the festival will be held in Philadelphia next year.
According to the Billy Penn report, the city spent more than $1.1 million on various city services, including police overtime, EMS coverage, cleanup and other support. Of that amount, $600,000 was covered by Roc Nation, per the city, and Roc will make an additional payment of $80,000 later this year. Roc Nation’s costs for this year’s fest — which takes place on Sept. 1 and 2 and features Nicki Minaj and Post Malone as well as Philadelphia natives Meek Mill and Diplo — despite losing its original title sponsor, Budweiser.
A rep for the mayor told Billy Pen But six years later, tourism has grown, so “the need for an event of this scale at this location may no longer be necessary.”
“How does an administration merely discard an event that generates millions in income and employs the city’s people as if we are disposable now that we have served our purpose? The city is right in one respect; the first Made in America festival took place when there was a great need for tourism. By their admission, the festival first started as a ‘unique attraction to the city on an otherwise quiet Labor Day weekend. Over the years, tourism has grown overall,’” Jay wrote.
“Our question is, ‘How do you think that tourism grew, Mayor Kenney?’ We will discuss our options internally and handle accordingly.”
A rep for the mayor’s office said a response will be coming later today.