Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Gillison: Overall, Made in America a success

Aside from a handful of incidents, the second iteration of Jay-Z's Made in America Festival was a success, Everett Gillison, Mayor Nutter's chief of staff, told reporters on Tuesday.

Gillison: Overall, Made in America a success

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Fans react as Kendrick Lamar performs during the Budweiser Made in America festival in Philadelphia on September 1, 2013. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Fans react as Kendrick Lamar performs during the Budweiser Made in America festival in Philadelphia on September 1, 2013. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)

Aside from a handful of incidents, the second iteration of Jay-Z's Made in America Festival was a success, Everett Gillison, Mayor Nutter's chief of staff, told reporters on Tuesday.

There were more than 50,000 people in attendance each day, Gillison said. Hotels in Center City were more than 90 percent filled, and Gillison said the international publicity from the high-profile festival was "unbelievable."

The Finance Department will release an estimate of the festival's overall economic impact within 30 days, he said. 

The two-day ticketed concert festival took over the Ben Franklin Parkway on Labor Day weekend and featured an eclectic array of musical artists hand-picked by Jay Z. His wife, Beyonce, headlined Saturday's lineup, and Nine Inch Nails capped off Sunday's performances.

The city will be reimbursed for expenses that resulted from the event, like police and Fire Department overtime. It has received a $200,000 downpayment already and will send LiveNation the bill for the rest of the costs in the coming weeks.

Gillison said there were 600 to 700 "contacts" at the city's emergency services tent, and about 10 percent of those resulted in hospital trips - mostly for dehydration, alcohol consumption or heat-related problems.

"There were some challenges. We still have to get the water situation right," he said. "We had a lot of kids who were really dehydrated - perhaps they were drinking and dancing." 

The problem, he said, was not the supply of water but the logistics of distributing it, with many people having to wait in long lines. He said the city and concert planners will work to find a better system for future events.

There were two minor police events inside the concert: One person was nabbed after hopping the fence to get in, and there was a "small fight" resulting in summary citations, Gillison said.

Outside the gates, however, two women were sexually assaulted near the venue. One reportedly thought she was hailing a cab, only to be abducted by her assailants. The other was lured away by a man who told her she could use a cell phone-charger in his home nearby, Gillison said. Police are pursuing both cases, he said. 

But overall, Gillison said, it was a tame crowd. Talks are underway to bring the show back.

"I look forward to hopefully doing it again next year," Gillison said. "We'll see."

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William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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