Philadelphia — One of the biggest events we have in Philadelphia is our annual Made In America festival. It happens over three days during Labor Day Weekend and everyone dresses in red, white and blue. To me, it is the East Coast version of Coachella: it is outside, and sometimes it's super hot but it is typically a memorable experience depending on who is performing. In past years the concert was headlined by Beyoncé, Rihanna, The Weeknd, Nicki Minaj and many other notable performers. This year, the headliners were scheduled to be Lizzo and SZA. Other performers included Ice Spice, Metro Boomin, Doechii, Lil Yachty, Coco Jones and many more.
However, on Aug. 9, the organizers of the festival announced that the entire event would be canceled. In a statement posted to Instagram, the Made In America Festival organization said, “Due to severe circumstances outside of production control, the 2023 Made In America festival will no longer be taking place.” Within moments of this being posted, ticket holders and fans were quick to express their anger about this sudden change. Although, despite the nature of the announcement, theories began to circulate as to why this happened as many people believe the scheduled talent is at fault.
First, this cancellation is coming to fruition just one week after Lizzo’s former background dancers sued her and shared accusations of misconduct when working with the singer. Although an investigation has yet to be conducted, the reputation of the music festival may be put at risk if the 35-year-old artist is allowed to perform. A few people commented on the post with the announcement expressing their discontent about Lizzo being featured as a headliner. @itsjustandri on Instagram commented “We asked to remove Lizzo, not the whole festival” and @parisknightt11 said, “I blame Lizzo for all of this.” Based on these comments and others like them, festival ticket holders had asked the organization to remove Lizzo from the concert lineup when allegations about her behavior were released earlier this month. This reaction itself raises concerns about how the singer’s career might be in jeopardy because of this lawsuit. However, she is not the only headliner who has left a bad impression on concertgoers in the city.
To fans of SZA in Philadelphia, it seems as though the singer has made every effort to avoid performing here. According to Billy Penn, the 33-year-old, who was raised in New Jersey, has developed a track record for canceling her shows in the City of Brotherly Love. According to Billy Penn writer, Fallon Roth, this is the “second time in the past five months — and the third time in about six years — that SZA’s performances in Philly have been canceled or postponed.” As of right now, SZA is still expected to perform in Philadelphia on Sept. 26, a rescheduled date for a show she was supposed to have in March. Time will only tell if the singer can keep her promise to her fans and perform.
Conversely, to some people who planned to attend the festival, the lack of diverse music genres and artists is causing the downfall of the event. Paul Gronski commented claiming the festival needs to “bring back the diverse music genres. You used to have R&B, Pop, Indie, Rock, Punk…That’s what made the festival so great.” Some people in the comments like Jules Medoro claimed the lineup was “trash” and the show should have been canceled anyway.
For me, the show may have been canceled because of the artists’ respective challenges but it also could have been canceled in solidarity with the current industry strikes. Performers like Snoop Dogg and Flavor Flav have joined writers and actors on the picket lines as a way to garner support for the end of unfair wages. All in all, the cause of the festival’s cancellation is still unclear, but it is my hope that the organization listens to the concerns of ticket holders and makes changes to future events.
Alyssa Threadgill, (she/her) is from Philadelphia and covers lifestyle and entertainment. Follow her on Instagram and LinkedIn: @alyssathreadgill.
Edited by Nykeya Woods