Concerts and festivals are up and running again

Made In America comes home to Philadelphia

Jordan Daniel, LA&E Editor

After a year of concert and festival cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19, it is now considered safe, with certain precautions, for people to watch their favorite performers live again. 

The two-day music festival produced by Live Nation and owned by Jay-Z, Made In America, returned this past Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia and many celebrities came out to perform their top hits for their fans. 

According to Made In America Fest, the festival implemented all CDC and local public health mandates and guidelines. 

Attendees had to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test 48 hours prior to the event or printed proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination upon entry. All attendees were also required to wear masks on festival grounds.

Even though the festival’s website released a statement claiming there were following CDC guidelines and protocols, some attendees disagreed with this.

“There were no masks in sight during this event,” said junior nursing major Jess Fred Torres. “I understand that everyone there was supposed to be vaccinated or have a negative test result but that is not always the case. I have social anxiety and I knew it was going to affect my experience, but I did not realize how bad it was going to be.”

Also, for many, this was the first time they had ever been to a large event live a music festival, so it is understandable for those to feel worried about their safety, especially because of COVID-19. However, although there were moments of uncertainty for some there was also excitement.

“I liked getting to experience going to a big music festival,” said junior nursing major Alexis Yeakel. “I had never been to one before. I liked a lot of the artists that were going and wanted to experience something new with my friends. My favorite part was seeing Lil Baby.” 

Major performers on Saturday were Megan Thee Stallion, Kehlani, Young Thug, Griselda and Baby Keem, with Lil Baby being the closing act. Sunday performers included Doja Cat, Roddy Rich, Bobby Shmurda, Freddie Gibbs, Mariah the Scientist and Justin Bieber, who closed on the last day of Made In America.

“My favorite performer was Kehlani,” Torres said. “She was such a sweetheart and had a beautiful voice. She was unlike anyone else that performed because she was not a ‘rap’ artist, she only sings. I have wanted to see her since 2014 so it was like a dream come true.”

If people were hungry or thirsty there were places where they could buy food and drinks. There were also areas for people to buy merchandise and take pictures to post on social media.

“The atmosphere is pure craziness,” Yeakel said. “There are people everywhere and music coming from every direction. Besides watching people perform there were food trucks, different vendors trying to sell their products and places where you could go to take some cute pictures with friends.”

The festival is full of high energy, and lasts 12 hours, which may be too long for some people to be up on their feet. 

“I would honestly rather go to a regular concert because you at least have a place to sit if you need to and it also is not an event that lasts 12 hours,” Yeakel said. “Made In America is very fun, but tiring.”

Torres also shared her first-time experience at Made In America.

“Before even entering the festival, people were drinking and getting blacked out before they even got inside. “When I was getting through security I could already see vomit on the ground and see all the people drunk or high on something. There were a lot of people, too many people, in my opinion. Since everyone wants to see the big artists I would get pushed around by all these people trying to reach the front.”

One of the aspects Torres like most was the technological benefits. 

“My favorite part about it was that you could still enjoy the performances without actually having to be all that close up to the stage,” said Torres. “They had big screens and loud speakers to assure of that. I also liked that you could make friends or bond with these random people just by talking about the event or the artists.”

Most ticket vendors and sites began selling tickets for the festival three to fourth months in advance of the actual date of the event. There was also a limit to the number of tickets one could buy at a time, which was eight two-day passes. The lowest price range for a two-day pass was around $150. 

“I like that I can see many artists I love listening to for a fraction of the cost of a concert ticket,” said Torres. “I decided to go because the price of a two-day pass was very worth it and I could see many artists that I would have loved to see in concert.”