Jay-Z’s Made In America Music Festival Axed for Second Consecutive Year

Stephen Lovekin/WireImage via Getty Images
Stephen Lovekin/WireImage via Getty Images

Made In America, a two-day music festival with a lineup personally curated by Jay-Z, has been held in Philadelphia over almost every Labor Day weekend since its founding in 2012. But, last year, it was called off for reasons unspecified beyond “severe circumstances.” And on Wednesday, organizers killed the festival for the second year in a row.

“Made In America will not take place in 2024,” the festival team announced on social media.

A reason for its cancellation was not given. “As purveyors of change, the Made In America executive production team is reimagining a live music experience that affirms our love and dedication to music and the work we do,” the team said. “We promise an exciting return to the festival.”

Organizers pulled the plug on last year’s festival in August, a month before it was set to take place, citing “severe circumstances outside of production control.” They said the decision had “not been made lightly nor without immense deliberation.”

The lineup had been set to feature SZA and Lizzo as headliners. Earlier in August, Lizzo had been sued for alleged sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment by three of her former dancers. (A judge dismissed some of their claims in February, but is allowing the case to move forward to trial.)

Ticket holders were promised refunds, and organizers said they looked forward to the festival’s return “to the great city of Philadelphia in 2024.”

A lineup for this year’s iteration had not been confirmed when its cancellation was announced on Wednesday.

Jay-Z, real name Shawn Carter, launched the Made In America festival in 2012, with himself and Pearl Jam as headliners. Barring 2020, when it was mothballed over the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival has run every year since then.

“Since its inception, this groundbreaking festival has celebrated music & community—from creating a space for fans to connect, to uplifting local small businesses & shining a light on important causes,” festival organizers said on Wednesday. “It has strived for accessibility, eliminating barriers through affordable tickets and location.”

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Produced by Carter’s entertainment company, Roc Nation, the festival has proved a major cash cow for Philadelphia. 6abc Action News reported on Wednesday that it has generated a total of $180 million for the city since its inception.

In a 2018 op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Carter said that the festival had had a $102.8 million economic impact on the city in its first six years. He penned the op-ed as a fiery response to then-Mayor Jim Kenney’s decision to move the festival that year off the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and out of the city center, reportedly over costs and congestion.

Carter slammed the mayor for failing to consult him and Roc Nation, saying the move showed Kenney had “zero appreciation” for the festival. He alleged that the city council had tried to cancel that year’s event altogether.

Kenney quickly backpedaled, calling the situation “an unfortunate misunderstanding” and saying his administration was “committed to continuing our partnership with the Made in America festival.”

When the 2023 festival was canceled, Kenney said the city was looking forward “to bringing Made in America back and bigger than ever to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway next year.” His successor, current Mayor Cherelle Parker, did not immediately return a request for comment from the Associated Press on Wednesday.

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