The Budweiser Made in America Festival has returned to Phildadelphia for 2014, with an expansion to include Los Angeles for the first time this Labor Day weekend. The two-day music festival at Benjamin Franklin Parkway opened its gates at noon on Saturday, August 30, with the music commencing at 1:15 p.m. Twenty-four artists performed across four festival stages, providing non-stop entertainment until midnight.
Made in America is the first music festival to operate simultaneously on both coasts, with a number of the artists performing alternate nights at both events. Kanye West headlined on Saturday night in Philadelphia, while The National, Steve Aoki, J. Cole, Chromeo, and City and Colour were among the day's highlights.
Sunday's Philadelphia lineup will include Kings of Leon, Pharrell Williams, Kongos, Tiesto, Girl Talk, Spoon, Grimes and Bleachers. Rappers Danny Brown and YG will also be worth checking out.
Founding partner Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter personally curates the yearly lineup to include a cross-cultural blend of musical talent. The Philadelphia event benefits the United Way organizations of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and Lancaster County, Penn. The Los Angeles festival will benefit the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. The primary goal of Budweiser Made in America is to have a positive impact on the communities involved, with an end-result to positively impact the education, income and health of the most vulnerable and needy citizens in these regions.
Kanye closed out the Philadelphia component of Made in America on Saturday, and will do the same for the Los Angeles fans on Sunday. While fans never really know which Kanye will show up, there's almost always reason to expect controversy--see Bonnaroo. Regardless, the man can entertain and that's exactly what he did. Always the perfectionist, Kanye did stop the show a couple times to direct stage hands or fans on how he wanted to proceed. Of course, there were rants but that's just Kanye.
The National followed a strong set by City and Colour, highlighted by vocalist Matt Berninger capably swooning the Rocky Stage crowd. Berninger sang with emotion, even taking to the crowd toward the end of their show. They had the unenviable task of preceding Kanye West's headline set, who's fans repeated chanted "Kanye" during lulls. Given that Kanye is all about respect, they might have stopped to think, "What would Yeezus do?"
City and Colour
City and Colour were a great choice to lead into a set by The National on the Rocky Stage. They performed an inspired set of melodic folk rock fronted by Dallas Green. From the gritty "Thirst" to their more traditional "Fragile Bird," strong vocal harmonies and tight musicianship set the bar on Saturday.
Electro-funk artist Chromeo always bring high energy and their show at Made in America was no exception. From the opening "Night By Night," the duo of Dave1 and P-Thugg transformed the Liberty Stage crowd into a dancing frenzy.
Having performed at the renowned Reading Festival last weekend in England, The Neighbourhood returned to the U.S. to rock Made in America with music from their debut album, "I Love You." Having blown up with their smash hit, "Sweater Weather," they're quickly gaining momentum with their atmospheric medleys that feature Jesse Rutherford's smooth vocals. Other highlights included "Afraid" and "Female Robbery."
Performing on the same day as Kanye West and Big Daddy Kane, J. Cole hit the crowd hard with songs that spanned his early mixtapes to his latest album, "Born Sinner." Proof positive that there was no shortage of hip-hop talent in Philly this weekend.
Big Daddy Kane
Though its been some time since he's released new music, Big Daddy Kane still knows how to entertain a crowd. His Saturday afternoon set at Made in America drew a large crowd to the main stage with his tight word play.
Fresh off a tour with OneRepublic, Mayer Hawthorne rocked the Liberty Stage at Made in America. The multi-talented artist gave a modern take on classic soul, emphasizing music from his latest album, the 2013 "Where Does This Door Go."
The Nashville duo of Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber know how to throw a party. Cherub opened the Rocky Stage at Made in America on Saturday with their funky electronic pop. They're touring on "Year of the Caprese" featuring "Doses and Mimosas."