Monday, September 3, 2012

Made in America

If you weren’t at the Made in America Festival or lucky enough to live around the parkway within listening distance, then you missed an amazing weekend! Hip-hop, rock, pop, EDM, whatever you wanted, you got it. And if you weren’t a fan of some of the music out there, you became one because each performer brought their best to the stage. I’m going to break up my highlights from my top favorite genres so I can try to give you a little taste of everything.

The Hip Hop:
MMG and Odd Future obviously threw it down with the crowds (including me) going wild, but I’m a Drake girl. So my favorite hip-hop performance was definitely his. He brought out 2 Chainz and French Montana to help him out for a couple songs and played the perfect mix of his own. Might I add the staff around The Rocky Tent were all loving their time with Drake and breaking it down as they sold their Buds. He even threw out his verse from The Weeknd’s “The Zone” which happens to be my favorite Drake feature, and although not many people in the crowd knew it, the guy next to me did so we got to scream it out together.

The Rock:
Two crowd favorites that I really noticed were from Miike Snow and Passion Pit since people couldn't stop dancing their way around the parkway while the two bands had their sets. Even people who weren't near the stage during either performance were grooving to the beats wherever they happened to be. I even had a couple of middle aged women walk up when Miike Snow played "Animal" asking who they were because they couldn’t stop dancing! But the biggest performance unarguably came from Pearl Jam on Sunday night. It looked like the majority of the 50,000 of us stayed to watch the set which was awesome. They played some new, some old, and of course the unforgettable moment of the weekend—99 problems with Jay-Z. Yeah, that happened.

The EDM:
My usual choice for festivals was different from what I’m used to, but nonetheless great. Although the Kandi Kids were among the minority (of course we showed love when we would find each other!), it was cool to see how much EDM has grown in America. It was crazy to watch thousands on thousands of people from all different walks of music stand together in anticipation for the drop. Just two years ago if you said you listened to electronica people thought you were a little bit weird, but now everyone’s finally embracing the weird so much so that I didn't even make it into the tent! I got to catch a few of my favorite boys, Calvin, Skrillex, Alesso, and Afrojack. Even though I had to keep to the side of the stage/tent areas because it was so crowded, their beats still got to me!

Did you think I forgot about the man himself, Jay-Z? How could I! He needs to be highlighted all on his own. The man of the weekend and the reason we were all there, Jay-Z, you did it right. His performance was ridiculous. Rumors circulated before the show about Miss B making an appearance, which don’t get me wrong would have been AMAZING, but Jay Z still outdid himself. He brought out his friends Kanye West, Big Sean, Common, Pusha T, 2 Chainz, Swizz Beats, and a few others to help him close out Saturday night with the most energetic and best performance of the whole festival. Aside from his performance, Jay-Z was just an amazing festival host. He walked through the crowds a couple times, picked the perfect artists, and I even heard he took time to catch a couple backstage performances.

While the performers all did amazing and I have no complaints on that end, I have to say the organization of the event as a whole didn’t seem to be fully thought through. I’ve been to the parkway on the 4th so I knew what to expect in terms of crowdedness, but it ended up being a lot worse than I thought. On Saturday you could tell that the organization wasn’t ready for everyone to cram in. There were so many people they actually stopped scanning tickets at one point and just ripped them because they didn’t know what to do. Also, the schedules were made to not overlap too much so that people could catch the most sets they could which sounds like an awesome plan, but put into effect made it so that the huge crowd that comfortably fit in front of The Rocky Stage, tried to cram themselves into The Freedom Tent. But the thing that did save the event in my opinion was the great sound and the screens. Whoever the sound techs for the event were need a HUGE shout out because I didn’t hear any complications and it was so clear that I had the time of my life listening from the side with absolutely no view beyond the crowd. It was an amazing accomplishment for that size of a festival!

Finally as I end my recap, I want to shout out to Jay-Z because he's obviously reading this. Jay-Z, you rock. Being able to gather at the end of both nights for two final performances with 50,000 proud Americans were memorable experiences that I am grateful to have had and the best way to end my summer. Thank you for choosing our city and bringing Americans together in the best way possible. Come back again!

Lauren Resnick
Monster Entertainment LLC

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