No doubt this coming weekend’s Made in America fest, the two-day, multi-stage musical smorgasbord that Jay-Z and Budweiser (which might be made in America, but is a foreign-owned entity) are bringing to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, has generated quite a bit of buzz. But the fact that starting today, the fest will have streets from Arch to Fairmount, and from Logan Square all the way past the Philadelphia Museum of Art closed, and blocked with towering sound-proof fences to keep out the unwashed and un-ticketed masses, has many of our metropolis’s citizenry a little bent out of shape. And we’re not even talking about those who think it should be free and open to the public. “Our neighbors are all leaving town for the weekend,” Terry Berch, co-owner of Fairmount Avenue’s London Grill and Paris Wine Bar, told Grub. “Everybody’s pissed off up here, because anytime there’s something going on on the Parkway, and streets are closed off, we become landlocked.”
“That’s somewhat accurate,” Lemon Hill owner Mike Welsh added. “It’s like we’re going to be in the DMZ for the weekend.”
Welsh added that he had reservations about thousands of concert-goers being “fenced in like animals” and not permitted to exit and re-enter the Parkway’s restricted area. While that policy might keep music fans from venturing up to Lemon Hill, and spending some money, Welsh doubts the fest will take a bite out of his business.
“Our location is up and off the beaten path a little bit,” he explained. “I think we’re going to be mostly detached from the mayhem, and we’ll see mostly a lot of neighbors just hanging out from within the neighborhood.”
La Calaca Feliz owner Brian Sirhal told us that the concert could have the potential to boost business in a big way, if fans weren’t forbidden from exiting the enclosed area.
“We’re hoping to get some concert-goers,” he said. “But really we’r a neighborhood restaurant, and I think a lot of people who stick around this weekend will continue to come into the restaurant.”
London’s Berch hopes to cash in too, but is skeptical.
“The businesses up here are trying to embrace it,” she said. “You know Philly’s not much of a Bud town, but we’ll have it on through the weekend, and I’m excited about the (Budweiser) Clydesdales coming on Thursday night.”