Philadelphians improvised in their quest for the best seat in the house on day one of the Made in America Festival.
Turns out it isn't just Eagles championships that get people to test their climbing prowess. Tree limbs offered the best perches for views of rap and hip-hop stars like Tekashi 6ix9ine, Meek Mill, and Janelle Monáe.
Others preferred to prioritize beating the heat, which was much milder than earlier in the week.
"We like [Made in America] because we have this party," said Peyton Wells, 26.
He joined four friends in an inflatable wading pool on the 2300 block of Spring Garden Street.
"They said we couldn't park our cars here," said Mario Cefalo, the pool's owner, "so I decided to park my pool."
The event was marred by at least one disturbing report, a juvenile sexual assault at the festival. Philadelphia Police at the event Saturday said a juvenile had been taken to the Special Victims Unit and they were searching for a male suspect, though they had no further information on the victim or the attack itself, or a description of the suspect. The attack was reported about 8:45 p.m. at 22nd and the Parkway.
The Philadelphia Police Department did not have data on arrests at the event as of 10 p.m. Saturday.
Made in America has turned the Benjamin Franklin Parkway into a music festival/block party every Labor Day weekend since 2012. The event founded by rap superstar Jay-Z brings performers, including some of the country's biggest hip-hop stars, to five stages along the Parkway to drop beats Saturday and Sunday.
No official crowd tally was available Saturday night, but the crowd grew more dense throughout the day, making it difficult to move in some places.
Earlier this summer, Mayor Kenney threatened to boot the party off the Parkway. In July, Kenney said this year's Made in America would be the last at this location due to complaints from the neighborhood. The statement drew fire from Jay-Z, who in an opinion piece for the Inquirer and Daily News detailed the economic benefits the concert brings to Philadelphia, and said the mayor was rejecting a minority-owned business. The rapper's entertainment company, Roc Nation, manages the festival with concert promoter Live Nation, and reimbursed the city $600,000 for the $1.1 million cost of the setup, cleanup, security, and other services needed for last year's event. Jay-Z wrote that the event brought a $102.8 million positive economic impact on the city.
By late July, Kenney had relented, saying this year would not be the last time the Parkway would host the event.
On Saturday, Power Pods, a company founded by a University of Pennsylvania grad, had sold close to 500 disposable phone charges at $15 a pop by 6 p.m. Abercrombie & Fitch had a tent, as did McDonald's, which offered just three items — hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and fries.
Buying a ticket Saturday at the gate cost $200. Some chose to enjoy the show from just outside the perimeter, behind a high fence by the Barnes Museum.
Miriam Hundley, 47, of West Philadelphia, was among those people-watching. "I came down to see what was going on," she said.
Last year's festival was plagued with rain, turning the venue into a mud pit, and in the past extreme heat sent guests to the medical tent. This year, though, a mostly overcast day keep it comfortable, with fall-like breezes passing through the Parkway around sunset. As of 9 p.m., the medical tent had treated 78 people, 37 of whom were transported to local hospitals, some with alcohol related issues, but none were in serious or critical shape, said deputy chief James Renninger of Philadelphia Fire Department.
"We got a break with the weather," he said. "I don't think we had any heat-related incidents."
At 8 p.m., slightly behind schedule, Meek Mill took the Rocky Stage and the crowd went nuts. Security guards dashed into the fray — because they wanted to catch a glimpse of the native Philadelphian, too.
Georgina Horebe, 23, of North Philadelphia, twerked at the edge of the crowd as Mill, who's out on bail as a battle with the courts over a 2007 gun charge continues, took the stage. Her friends taped Mill's performance — and Horebe's — for social media.
How pumped was Horebe for his performance?
"Really excited!" she yelled over the music. "I've been waiting the whole day for this."