This Labor Day weekend, JAY-Z’s Roc Nation brings the specially curated annual, Made In America Festival, to the Philadelphia stage. SOHH caught up with Roc Nation’s Executive Vice President of Strategy and Communications, Jana Fleishman to talk about the festival’s history to give fans the full scoop with a quick Q&A.
Made In America Q&A
Q: Can you think back to the first Made in America Festival and discuss why it started?
A: The Made in America Festival began because JAY-Z had a vision of bringing everybody together under the umbrella of great music. Music is unifying.
The headliners for the first one were JAY-Z, and Pearl Jam, Gary Clark Jr., Janelle Monaé, Run DMC, and The Killers, also performed that first year. It was just uplifting and amazing, and it was just the celebration of music and a celebration of everyone coming together.
Q: Is there any significance in holding the festival in Philly each year? If so, can you explain the significance of the location?
A: Philadelphia is a historic city. Benjamin Franklin Parkway is just a perfect location for the festival and for a celebration of music over the long weekend.
Q: When fans purchase their ticket each year, what sort of experience does Roc Nation hope to provide them?
A: Roc Nation produces the entire festival; we provide an enjoyable festival experience throughout the weekend. We have food trucks from Philadelphia, so you have an authentic representation of the food, smells, and tastes of Philadelphia.
You also have Cause Village, which features over 30 philanthropic organizations – some rooted in Philadelphia and some national. They focus on everything from voting to environmental conservation to saving shelter dogs. It’s amazing to see the participation.
There’s exclusive merchandise from Paper Planes, so it’s a well-rounded experience that Roc Nation offers from top to bottom.
Q: How much planning goes into the Made in America Festival each year?
A: We begin planning as soon as we get back from the previous Made in America. We start thinking about the lineup early and brainstorming ways to make an even better experience for festival goers.
Q: How does the Roc Nation team go about selecting artists to headline the festival?
A: The lineup is chosen by Jay-Z.
Q: Why do you think the event is such a staple within the culture?
A: I think the festival has become such a staple of the culture because of its authenticity, its variety and the surprises every year. We bring in the feel and the energy of Philadelphia, and there really isn’t anything like it.
Q: Roc Nation does a lot of social justice work, is that implemented in the culture of the festival at all?
A: Absolutely, Cause Village is our dedicated hub for social action, and several of the organizations are focused on furthering social justice efforts.
Q: How does this festival help the black community, and what sort of community leaders, sponsors, and political figures does Roc Nation collaborate with every year to make this happen?
A: Social action is at the heart of what we do, and we’ll have a wide array of organizations on-site at Cause Village, including the REFORM Alliance, Gathering for Justice, Black Voters Matters, Bridges to Wealth, Planned Parenthood, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and many more.
At the end of the day, we work with all city agencies in terms of logistics and execution to bring Made in America to life. The festival has actually generated over $150 million in economic impact for Philadelphia since its inception in 2012.
Q: Is the festival inclusive of the disabled community? Is there wheelchair accessibility, and were disabled staff members hired for the event?
A: We are completely ADA-compliant.
(ADA refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This Civil Rights Law prohibits discrimination based on disability)
Are Y’all Ready For Made In America?
The Made In America Festival is celebrating its 10th year..
The insane lineup features artists like Justin Bieber, Lil Baby, Lil Durk, Moneybagg Yo, Bobby Shmurda, A$AP Ferg, Kehlani, 26AR, Latto, Doja Cat, and many more.
The two-day event is happening this weekend, September 3-4th. Tickets are still available for purchase.
You can also download the Made in America Festival app to receive exclusive festival details, purchase merch, schedule options, and more!
Tyler Taking Time
After a very successful 2021, Tyler, The Creator, has been traveling the world, selling out shows, and launching clothing and shoe brands.
Recently, he announced that his performance at the upcoming Made In America Festival would be his last show “for a long time.”