The Made in America festival, Budweiser’s coup of patriotic branding, got off to a star-studded start Saturday, Sept. 5, as crowds of (mostly young) people flocked to Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Parkway to see everyone from Nick Jonas to Modest Mouse to the day’s headliner, Beyonce.
The diverse lineup, while occasionally discordant, provided something for everyone, as the red, white and blue clad masses (complete with the gratis American flag bandannas that said “Made in China” in large letters along the edge and George Washington temporary tattoos) danced as willingly to DJ Mustard‘s hits-laden set as the Struts’ Brit-rock.
Read on for the highlights from day 1:
2:29 p.m.: “It’s a beautiful-ass motherf—ing day,” Earl Sweatshirt told the crowd over gut-grinding bass, before reciting a few of the usually-gloomy cuts off his most recent album I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside. He made them party-ready, though, compelling the crowd to shout along to refrains like “Imma f— the freckles off your face, bitch!” before debuting some three new songs.
3:27 p.m.: Vic Mensa paused briefly during his wide-ranging set to lead a group sing-a-long: Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (inspired, Mensa said, by a positive tour stop in Seattle), perfectly suited to the mosh-ready teenaged throngs. “Go on and get it, white boys!” said Mensa as he egged on the crowd, thrashing around the stage with equal enthusiasm.
4:49 p.m.: De La Soul charmed the crowd completely with their energetic set, opening with Otis Redding (a nod to festival curator Jay Z) before launching into a slew of their most memorable hits from “Potholes in My Lawn” to “Stakes Is High” — though the group mentioned their 27 years in the game more than once, heads about half that old nodded along just the same.
5:44 p.m.: The crowd loved “Chains” and “Levels,” but it was when Nick Jonas went for the high notes on a cover of Outkast‘s “Roses” that the audience participation really kicked in. Jonas, still not completely shaken of his Jonas Brother-era coyness, said he picked the song because it’s “a tasteful way of saying, ‘F— you!’ to a person you don’t like.” The aspiring R&B star also put his own spin on Bell Biv DeVoe‘s “Poison” and The Weeknd‘s “Can’t Feel My Face.”
6:25 p.m.: DJ Mustard led one of the festival’s most enthusiastic dance parties with his trademark formula: the most memorable 10-20 seconds of all your favorite hip-hop hits, back-to-back-to-back. Though the set certainly skewed towards his own productions (“Rack City” was his first pick, as is traditional), he also paid tribute to his Roc Nation sponsor Jay Z with “I Just Wanna Love U” as he implored the crowd to “get their diamonds in the air.”
7:01 p.m.: Meek Mill pleased and confused his massive hometown audience by playing a series of hits by his girlfriend Nicki Minaj, which turned out to be a prelude to her joining him onstage for their duet “All Eyes On You.” Mill also brought his son out, who showed off his whip and nae nae skills to crowdwide awws.
8:45 p.m.: Modest Mouse, confronted with a massive crowd of Beyonce fans, kept things light with a mix of their biggest songs — 2004’s optimistic hit “Float On” still sounded brand-new 11 years later.
11:15 p.m.: Never one to shy from a timely reference, Beyonce busted out the whip to T-Wayne‘s “Nasty Freestyle” in the middle of her classics-driven set (she also fit in “Trap Queen” and “Commas” before closing out the show).