I was extremely fortunate to be offered the opportunity to go to the 2021 “Made in America” music festival.
As a native from the Philadelphia suburbs and a music enthusiast, it felt like a rite of passage to attend. I was filled with excitement when I saw the set line ups; however, I didn’t know what to expect.
The event had three performance areas: the TIDAL Stage, the Liberty Stage and the Rocky Stage (in front of the iconic Rocky steps). Even though the weather was hot, sticky and humid, Day one is a day I will cherish.
The first performance I saw was Morray. Before going to his set, I had never heard of him. However, his stage presence was lively, and his energy filled the set with passion. After his performance was over, I saw Coi Leray, who was pretty mediocre by comparison.
As I was sitting down, I saw a familiar face in the massive crowd. I realized it was local Philadelphia rapper MattOX. I could not pass up the opportunity to introduce myself, and he was gracious enough to take a picture with me. As a fan of his music, it was an experience I will never forget.
Seeing Baby Keem live was exhilarating. He opened with “MOSHPIT,” which is one of my personal favorites. The wave of energy that went through the crowd while he was performing was euphoric.
Next up was A$AP Ferg. He opened with “New Level,” and the sound of the gloomy trumpets and eerie high-pitched chimes rang through the stage speakers rattling the parkway and invigorating the audience. Halfway through his performance, he gave a heartwarming tribute to the late A$AP Yams, and then closed his set with “Plain Jane.”
As Day one was coming to an end, the energy was slowly declining, but leave it to Lil Baby to liven up the crowd again. I didn’t think anyone expected him to bring out a guest artist during his set, but to our collective surprise, he brought out Lil Uzi Vert and together, they performed “Commercial” and “XO TOUR Llif3.”
Entering Day two, I felt exhausted from the previous day, but I had to see Doja Cat perform. Her performance was breathtaking. Hot pink lights beamed throughout the parkway while she performed “Rules.” The audience sang along with her to the newly released “Ain’t Shit” and an array of phone flashlights swayed back and forth in the crowd.
Ending Day two was Justin Bieber, and his set was sorely lacking in my opinion. Part of me expected to hear more of his older songs. Though he did perform “Baby” and brought out notable guests Kid Laroi, Chance the Rapper and Don Toliver, I left Bieber’s set unsatisfied.
Overall, my experience at “Made in America” is a memory that I will hold dear to my heart, and I hope I am able to go again in 2022.