Will the Budweiser Made in America festival take up permanent residence in Philadelphia on Labor Day weekend?
On Sunday afternoon, I forsook seeing Wavves play on the Liberty stage to talk to Bud exec Paul Chibe (rhymes with "imbibe"), one of the major players behind the fest, and ask him that question.
Short answer: That's the plan.
"That's my hope," said the marketing VP, who was one of the key players in the development of the Made In America concept when he came to the beer behemoth on 2011.
The festival is "a joint venture between Budweiser and Jay," Chibe says. It's co-owned Jay Z''s Roc Nation, who make all the calls on talent selection. And it's also up to the city of Philadelphia, whom Chibe says have been "amazingly cooperative." (On Monday, Desiree Peterkin-Bell, Mayor Nutter's cummunications director, tweeted "Proud that Philly once again showed we do BIG events well! We officially also now own Labor Day.")
Chibe claims Bud does not make money on the festival, despite all those $11 24 oz. Made In America cans being slurped down all weekend. "This is about the development of the brand," he says pointing out Bud's long assocation with music dating back to the Budweiser Superfest R & B tours of the 1980 and 1990s.
Made in America, as the beer company sees it, is a way of appealing to music fans with varied taste, in an era where "you can't tell what people like by what they look like. White guys like rap, black guys like hard rock." It reflects, he says, "the great pluralism of our country through music."
To establish itself on a crowded festival landscape, MIA "had to be at the right time of year, with a good location and great environment." Symbolically, it helps, too, that "Philadelphia is the birthplace of the U.S. America was born in Philly."
It stands to reason then, that Made in America is going to be shutting down the Ben Franklin Parkway - while concertgoers with no option but to drink Bud hope that Jay Z deigns to actually perform at his own festival - for years to come. "I don't see any reason why we're not here in 10 years," says Chibe. "looking back on a decade of Made in America in Philadelphia."