The crowds, and the sun, come out for Made in America’s return to the Parkway

Made in America returned to Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the first time since 2019 on a mild, sunny Saturday that bore no resemblance to the rain-drenched, windblown mess that marked the days preceding it. (Even parts of the Vine Street Expressway nearby, underwater since Thursday morning, were reopened by late afternoon.)

Gates to the two-day music festival — a Labor Day weekend fixture in Philadelphia since Jay-Z started it in 2012 — opened at noon to people with tickets and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Masks were required, in accordance with a city mandate for outdoor events over 1,000 people. A Live Nation representative told the Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this week that ticket sales were on track to reach as high as 60,000.

The early festival crowd was young and eager to see the wide array of music acts set to perform. Marvin Davis, 24, from Coatesville, was excited to see rapper Coi Leray, and he said he would have found a way to the front gates even if the flooding hadn’t subsided.

People walk through a second round of security as they enter the festival gates. (Kenny Cooper/WHYY)

“I was showing up regardless. I paid my money. We got to take the canoes or whatever — we coming,”  Davis said.

Davis wasn’t the only one who was keeping an eye on the weather. Although the music began at 2 p.m., Cyrus Quaye, 24, arrived early to secure a spot in the shade.

Quaye is from Allentown, but he said he had his eyes glued to Philadelphia news coverage in the days leading up to the festival.

“My mom was like, ‘Why are you watching Philadelphia?’ I’m like, ‘Because it’s the only place I care about at this point,’” Quaye said. “I don’t need Philadelphia flooding, because I need to be here. And we’re here. The sun is out. It’s gorgeous, good vibes.”

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