Last weekend I went to Made in America in Philly! Yes, it was my first music festival ever, and yes, I saw Coldplay for a second time. And it was awesome.
The lead-up to the festival was actually so stressful. I barely knew any artists besides the headliners, and the lineup times weren’t announced until mere days before. Who was I going with? How was I supposed to navigate the city? I interrogated a friend, who simply said, “I’m gonna get there and then have fun.”
College kids, man.
But in a beautiful way, it did kind of all work out. On the first day, Saturday, I Lyfted to the Ben Franklin Parkway with a random girl who also needed a ride. After seeing Lil Uzi, we parted ways. Because during my research of the Tidal Made in America playlist, I discovered a cool band called Cherry Glazerr and wanted to check them out.
It was a humble stage, no screens or huge crowd. It even shared space with a small skateboarding rink. I made my way to the front, my stomach pressing against the metal bars of the fence. “This song is what it’s like to be on my period,” the lead singer said before playing a jamming rock song. At that moment, I felt so content to be in this little crowd, bobbing my head to a tune I didn’t know, and enjoying it all by myself.
After that I milled about on my own, collecting free Tidal and Budweiser merchandise until I met up with some friends for 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne.
At this point, a couple notes about music festivals:
- Smells strongly of weed. (I’d never thought I’d feel relief at a whiff of cigarette smoke.)
- Food is really expensive.
- Lots of hetero couples.
- Lots of violently gyrating grinding couples.
After that performance we squeezed into the first row of Jamie xx, which was straight-up trippy.
Finally, it was the last act of the night: Rihanna. Though I enjoy her old songs and her newest album Anti, for some reason, I never considered myself a Rihanna “fan.” I think all that changed about three seconds after she started singing. To our shock, she appeared above the center of the crowd in a hooded cloak, throwing it off and tossing her long hair as she proceeded to the stage via glass platform. I was astonished at how excellent her voice was and, also, at how I knew all of the words.
In such a short amount of time, she still managed to blend in many of her old classics throughout the show (though she didn’t sing my fave: “California King Bed”). There were also cool backup dancers and special effects, like soap bubbles falling from the walls?
“If you’re on your phone, I only want you to be taking pictures of me,” Rihanna said in her silky voice. She also said near the end: “I’m actually not ‘made in America’,” and encouraged us to vote.
I walked back to my dorm with my friends, and I did not feel threatened or small among the city. Though I was already so excited for the next day’s great acts — Chance the Rapper, Martin Garrix, and Coldplay — I still couldn’t anticipate what was going to happen on the last day of the musical festival.
But that’s for a different story and a separate part II. More anecdotes and pics to come!