Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Parkway concert economy

Water prices rose $1 a block on the way to Made in America 2

The Parkway concert economy

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)

On Sunday, as Philadelphia's Made in America 2 concert drew thousands of paying fans and shut down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway below the Art Museum for the second straight day, the first floor of the nearby Four Seasons Hotel - one of Philadelphia's premier business addresses - was bustling with casually-dressed young people moving out the door and uphill toward the concert.

"It means more business for us," and other Philadelphia hotels, said Four Seasons manager Michael Nenner over the distant wah-wah-boom. "Like I told Mayor Nutter last night, we need the business. We need more events like this here in Philadelphia."

But at the Barnes art museum across the Parkway, visitor traffic was down - displaced, staff said, by the concert crowds. "It has slowed us," said Betty Breznay, visitor services assistant. To be sure, the Barnes ran out of tickets - Peco Energy gave away Sunday, in a promotion the company sponsors several times a year. "But it's not crazy-busy" with lines of tourists trying to get in, as the Barnes usually is this time of the month, she said. Same thing happened during the concert last year, she added.

Along the Parkway, the price of bottled water climbed every block toward the gate:
- $1 at Con Murphy's Irish Saloon, 17th Street, bottles were $1.
- $2 on the shady west side of 18th Street, from the Elkton, Md., vendor who called himself G-Prop "cause I'm God's Property." He added, "It's $5 inside" the show.
- $2.50 (2 for $5) in front of the Franklin Institute, from a hot dog vendor. "It's $4.50 inside," according to his sign. 

At the gate, guards allowed only one water bottle per concert goer. Extras went into the recycling buckets. 

For the record, concessions inside the concert sold water at $4 a bottle (and beer at $11). They had run out Saturday, leaving thirsty revelers to rush the free water refill stations run by the Philadelphia Water Department and by, Reverb supervisor Tanner Watt told me. His group came back with a platoon of Greenlee Security guards, and more water stations, this time, even though, he pointed out politely, "it's not (Reverb's) job to supply water to everyone."

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PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at,, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

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