Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival isn’t until Labor Day weekend but the city is already as giddy and nervous as a nine-year-old Miley fan.
This is clearly one of the biggest concerts we’ve ever hosted, projected to draw some 50,000 people to the parkway. And since every major recording artist of 2012 is scheduled to perform (and Ron Howard will be documenting the thing), we can expect to have one gigantic spotlight breaming directly onto our collective face for the entire length of the weekend.
That should be a good thing, assuming no one pulls a gun like last time.
By our count, things could go one of two ways. The first scenario is that all goes swimmingly and, save for a few drunken disorderly arrests, Philly gets propped up a bit in the eyes of concert promoters and the music industry at large. The other scenario is not so rosy, ending with a sprinkling of murders and the death of any super-profitable music festivals in the future.
The city understands the ramifications of a not-so-murder-free music festival, so they’ve made measures to ensure that the venue is as safe as possible, measures that would make East Berlin jealous. Workers have recently started erecting a concentric fencing system featuring eight-foot walls that will serve keep out non-ticket holders. The sixteen feet in between these walls will house a large number of roving
machine-gun-carrying security guards and police.
If this seems like overkill, that’s because it is. While an outdoor venue in the middle of the parkway does require beefed-up security, it’s evident that officials are seeking to protect more than concert-goers; they also want to preserve Philly’s reputation. This is understandable. I mean, we could ostensibly be the next Woodstock ’99 (shudder).
The Nutter administration is now promising to charge fence-jumpers to the maximum degree (defiant trespass, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct). This essentially puts an end to your brilliant plan to hang outside the gates and save a hundo on tickets (we thought about that, too).
So, for those of you planning to attend, please be kind to your neighbor, even if their taste in music is wildly different than yours. Also, don’t get drunk and attempt to run the Made in America gauntlet. Remember, the rest of the city- and America -will be watching.