Rapper Jay-Z said Wednesday he’s disappointed that Philadelphia is booting his annual music festival from the city’s grandest boulevard, accusing the mayor of having “zero appreciation for what Made In America has built alongside the phenomenal citizens of this city.”
Writing in The Philadelphia Inquirer, the music mogul rapped the city for making a decision before consulting organizers, calling it a failure on the part of Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney. The mayor said he thought the city’s position had been communicated to Jay-Z. “I love Jay-Z,” Kenney said at a news conference. “We love the concert and we want to keep it.” He said the city is looking at alternative sites.
Held each year since 2012, Made in America has drawn as many as 50,000 people to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a heavily visited expanse of museums, monuments, fountains, and the famed “Rocky” steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. But the city said the festival is no longer welcome on the parkway after this year. “We had some operational difficulties on the parkway because of how long it takes to set up and take down,” Kenney said. Jay-Z claims Made in America has generated an economic impact of nearly $103 million since 2012.
In a statement to the New York Post, Roc Nation COO Desiree Perez said efforts to reach the mayor’s office were met with silence. “I’d love to have a conversation,” the entertainment executive said. “We’re shocked. We couldn’t believe it. We don’t have a clue about the hostility we’ve received.”
Made in America was originally intended to attract people to Philadelphia on Labor Day weekend, traditionally a slow time for tourism, said city spokeswoman Sarah Reyes. But the growth in tourism since then means an event of that scale “may no longer be necessary,” she said in an earlier statement to philly.com.
The two-day festival has also drawn noise complaints from some neighbors, philly.com reported. Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill, and Post Malone are set to perform at this year’s festival.
Budweiser in June notified Jay-Z it would no longer sponsor the Made In America music festival this year and instead plans on using the money to advertise its brand at country music events to better target consumers. “We are realizing that music is being consumed in many different ways today and we want to keep up with trends and how consumers are behaving today,” said Budweiser Vice President Ricardo Marques. “Fans at country music events spend more on beer than at similarly sized events featuring other genres.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.