Made in America makes much of the diversity of its lineup, with the combination of rappers, rockers and DJs reflecting the wide range of taste of the music fans raised in the age in the post-iPod generation.
Take a leap from there, and take a look at the multiracial, scantily dressed in red, white and blue crowd immersing itself in a wide range of styles at the festival, and you've got a mix and match metaphorical melting pot masquerading as a summer blowout in the place where the American experiment began. Brought to you by Budweiser, of course..
Walking up and down the Ben Franklin Parkway on Saturday afternoon was to see and hear that unquiet melange in action. On the "Liberty" stage near Mark di Suvero's red abstract Iroquois sculpture, three sisters Estes, Danielle and Alana Haim, from Los Angeles played an energetic, impassioned set that took a page out of the harmonizing '70s singer songwriter rock sound of bands lie Fleetwood Mac. The radio hit "Falling" went over the biggest, but their whole set, performed in front of a giant American flag, was a winner.
On from there to Mord Fustang, the Estonian DJ-producer who is as skilled at getting the crowd moving with his mix of progressive house music and dubstep as he has been at hiding his real name from electronic dance music fans. Particularly amusing were the clutch of fans at the front of stage done up in big eared deadmau5 masks, variously in Philadelphia Flyers colors and Spiderman designs. It had to be hot in there!
One of the biggest improvements to the site this year over next is the moving of the EDM artist from a hot sweaty tent that smelled like a men's locker room on Van Colln Memorial Field last year to a verdant glade on the south side of the site, closers to the festival's entrance on 22nd street. Issues of sonic bleeding from stage to stage were minmal, while the salutaroy effect is to not ghetto-ize club music lovers under their own provate roof, but rather to invite non EDM purists to the party. All afternoon, as festival goers made their way up the Parkway passed the food trucks - pulled pork from Local 215, thank you very much - they got their groove on as the sashayed by the "Freedom" stage dance music area.
Biggest bust of the fest so far: A$AP Rocky, the Harlem rapper who made the serious festival faux pas of showing up late for his set - on the main 'Rocky' stage at the foot of the steps, no less. The brief set that follwed was rushed and uninspired, not really succeeding at instigating the kind of "Woodstock rock star s---" that h decred his intention to. He did succeed in getting plenty of people up to dance for an abbreviated version of his lewd hit "F----in' Problems."
By the time A$AP's set was over, asap. MIA was jam packed. Last year the fest drew 40,000 people. This year, with the word out, closer to 60,000 are expected, and a sea of people is moving between the two main stages on changovers. Black British - or Zambian-Scottish singer Emeli Sande followed on the Liberty stage, dealing in never overblown soaring pop that has made her a huge star in the UK, where she has broken chart records once held by the Beatles.
Unfortunately, just as the piano intro to her biggest hit "Next To Me" was starting up, Flavor Flav, infamous reality TV star and ace side man to Chuk D in Public Enemy, the rap legends up next on the main stage, grabbed ahold of the mic across the way and began to conduct a sound check to shotu outs. "Make some noiiiiissee!" No, shut up Flav!"