Jay Z has burned the mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, through an op-ed published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Kenney has banned the annual Made in America festival from its traditional location on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 2018. Made in America has used this historic location since it’s inception in 2012.
“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. It signifies zero appreciation for what Made in America has built alongside the phenomenal citizens of this city,” Jay Z penned in the piece.
He cites that the administration tried to stop the festival with a legal letter. Calling Philadelphia “The City of Brotherly Love,” Jay Z refers to the MIA festival as a “multicultural platform” that offers artists and music lovers “strength, freedom of speech, and perseverance.” The rapper claims that the location is “integral” to the rhythm of the festival.
Made in America festival is slated for Labor Day weekend and will feature major acts such as Diplo, Post Malone, Zedd, Meek Mill, and Nicki Minaj over two days. More than 600 artists have performed at Made in America since 2012.
Nicknamed “the Budweiser Made in America” festival by the Inquirer, Roc Nation has also lost their largest sponsor for the 2018 run. Budweiser claims their decision to drop out was focused on research into beer consumers that named country fans as the largest spenders at large-scale music events. Most MIA fans are also under 21, which cuts into the Budweiser sales.
According to Billy Penn, the city no longer sees the need for Made in America in Philadelphia now that tourism is booming. At 2017’s festival, the city spent over $1.1 million to provide essential functions, including police security and medical services, for the event.
Roc Nation allegedly shelled out $600,000 for the festival’s costs last year and will pay the city a whopping $80,000 for additional expenses. The numbers for the 2018 edition also reach $600,000 and Roc Nation has assured Philadelphia it will be able to reimburse the city.
A rep for Roc Nation says the festival has added Citi, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Airlines, and PUMA to their roster of sponsors and will have the same amount of funding in 2018.
“We are discussing the festival’s future and alternative locations with the producers,” city communications director Deana Gamble said to NBC10.
She added, “We look forward to continuing a partnership.”