Jay-Z is embroiled in a dispute with the mayoral office of Philadelphia after it announced plans to change the location of his music festival, Made in America.
On Tuesday, a representative for Mayor Jim Kenney said this year’s festival would be the last to be held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the centre of the city. The festival, founded in 2012, was “intended to provide a unique attraction to the city on the otherwise quiet Labor Day weekend” but thanks to a rise in tourism, the mayor’s office argued “the need for an event of this scale at this location may no longer be necessary”.
Writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, : “Our question is: how do you think that tourism grew, Mayor Kenney?” The rapper said he and his company, Roc Nation, were never consulted over the city’s decision and that the move showed “zero appreciation” for the festival. “We are disappointed that the mayor would evict us from the heart of the city, through a media outlet, without a sit-down meeting, notice, dialogue or proper communication,” he wrote. Roc Nation’s chief operating officer, Desiree Perez, : “We’re shocked. We couldn’t believe it. We don’t have a clue about the hostility we’ve received.”
Jay-Z also said that the city council had tried to cancel this year’s event, which is being held on 1-2 September, and will feature Nicki Minaj, Post Malone and Meek Mill as headliners. He claimed the festival had brought in more than $100m (£77m) to the city’s economy plus $3.4m paid in rent, and highlighted the work of its philanthropic partner Cause Village.
Kenney has since released a statement softening his stance, saying he was “greatly appreciative” of the festival. “We hope to be able to resolve what has been an unfortunate misunderstanding,” he said, adding he was “committed to continuing our partnership with the Made in America festival”.
Made in America has featured high-profile headliners such as Jay-Z himself, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Rihanna, Coldplay and the Weeknd. Barack Obama gave a video address at the inaugural 2012 event.
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