But the city’s highest-profile, very-big-deal music festival, Budweiser Made in America, which will take place for the sixth consecutive Labor Day weekend on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway starting Saturday, is not a rock festival.
Instead, it’s a mostly hip-hop and R&B gathering — with a significant amount of electronic dance music in the mix — that this year is headlined by fest curator Jay Z, who is to play Sunday, and rapper producer J. Cole, who is set to top Saturday’s bill.
Scroll down to the fine print in the schedule, however, and you’ll find the 215 scene is well represented, with a touch of homegrown hip-hop in PnB Rock, mainstream pop with Marian Hill, and a host of indie-rock touring bands from Philadelphia that cumulatively represent the vibrancy and stylistic range of the talent pool here.
Most of the Philly bands will perform on the Skate stage, which along with the Tidal stage, named after Jay Z’s streaming service, focuses on up-and-coming acts. In most cases, they play in the afternoon, before the crowds get too crushing. So get there early. Two-day passes are still available via Ticketmaster.
In chronological order, here are 10 Philly or Philly-connected acts playing the fest:
Queen of Jeans. This South Philly three-quarters-female quartet featuring Miriam Devora, Matheson Glass, and Nina Scotto (plus drummer and Eagles blogger Patrick Wall) mix swoony girl-group harmony with a rugged rock edge. They’re the first band up on MIA’s opening day. 1:15 p.m. Saturday on the Skate stage.
Marion Hill. The Brooklyn duo of Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd, who grew up together on the Main Line and named their band after two characters in The Music Man, are a jazzy electronic duo who struck gold when “Down,” from their 2016 album Act One catapulted them to fame when it was used in an Apple AirPods commercial. 3 p.m. Saturday on the Rocky stage.
Mt. Joy. An indie-folk band named after one of the two “mountains” in Valley Forge National Historical Park, Mt. Joy is fronted by the Los Angeles-based, Philly suburbs-bred duo of Sam Cooper and Matt Quinn, who set off on their career path with last year’s strummy “Astrovan” and who are working on their debut album. 3 p.m. Saturday on the Skate stage.
Mannequin Pussy. “Romantic,” the title cut from Mannequin Pussy’s terrific 2016 album, is an anomaly in that it’s nearly three minutes long. Most of the wildly energetic songs sung by magnetic vocalist Marisa Dabice are less than two. Which is not to say Romantic is by any means run-of-the-mill, pedal-to-the-metal punk. In fact it’s full of dynamic, emotional drama and highly effective at following the entertainer’s golden rule: Always leave them wanting more. 4 p.m. Saturday on the Skate stage.
(Sandy) Alex G. Born Alex Giannascoli, this Havertown native, bedroom-pop songwriting wunderkind has had some naming issues of late. After going by Alex G on his first six albums, he has added the parenthetical (Sandy) on the excellent and more confidently wide-ranging than ever new Rocket due to a legal dispute with another singer who uses the same name. 5:15 p.m. Saturday on the Skate stage.
PnB Rock. The Germantown-raised singer and rapper born Rakim Allen attracted an ardent crowd at this year’s Roots Picnic. He broke out this year with “Everyday We Lit,” the hit single by Atlanta rapper YFN Gucci, and was marked for the big time with his inclusion in hip-hop magazine XXL’s freshman class. 2 p.m. Sunday on the Rocky stage.
Japanese Breakfast. Soft Songs from Another Planet is the superb second full-length album by Philly songwriter Michelle Zauner, who received a valuable coolness endorsement when Frank Ocean played her sci-fi fantasy “Machinist” on his Blonded radio show last week. Zauner is a master at channeling grief into inviting pop music. 4:15 p.m. Sunday on the Skate stage.
Beach Slang. Well-dressed rock-and-roll true-believer James Alex got his start as a secondary songwriter in the Allentown emo band Weston way back in the 1990s. But he has stepped into his own with Beach Slang, a full-speed-ahead, heart-on-sleeve quartet who, at their best, capture a measure of the raucous, offhand poeticism of their heroes the Replacements. 5:15 p.m. Sunday on the Skate stage.
Tiger’s Jaw. Tuneful Scranton rock stalwarts have survived recent lineup changes and are now co-fronted by singer-songwriters Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins. Their fetching new album, spin, was released this year on Conshohocken producer Will Yip’s Atlantic Records imprint Black Cement. 6:15 p.m. on the Skate stage.
Marshmello. Who knows the real identity of Marshmello? It’s a big secret, hidden behind the white marshmallow mask that is reminiscent of previous MIA headliner Deadmau5’s big-eared-rodent disguise. Internet speculation, however, has it that the EDM knob-twiddler behind hits like “Alone” and “Moving On” is Philadelphian Chris Comstock, who also records under the dance-floor sobriquet Dotcom. 8 p.m. Sunday on the Liberty stage.