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Alderman Rainey asks Jay-Z to consider Milwaukee for hosting Made in America festival

On July 19, Alderman Khalif J. Rainey sent a letter laying out compelling reasons why Milwaukee should host the 2019 Made in America festival, a multi-genre music event founded by entertainment mogul Jay-Z and his company Roc Nation.

Made in America had been held in Philadelphia since its inception in 2012 until the city’s mayor just announced Philly would no longer play host. The 7th District Alderman is encouraged by the tourism and positive economic impact that Made in America would bring Milwaukee.

“I and my community have known for years the entrepreneurial spirit and remarkable success of this event and admired particularly the way it built the foundations of this success in the minority community. A city-wide impact of $100 million does not come easily and, representing as I do an area of the city where people of color can struggle to find employment, your hiring of 1,000 people a day is equally impressive,” said Alderman Rainey in the letter (attached) to Desiree Perez, chief operations officer of Roc Nation.

In the letter, co-signed by Council President Ashanti Hamilton, Alderman Robert J. Bauman, Alderman Russell J. Stamper II, and Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, Alderman Rainey also touted Milwaukee as a City of Festivals, a reputation well-deserved by hosting dozens of small and large events including Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival.

He makes the case that with Milwaukee hosting Summerfest for more than five decades, the City is well positioned to accommodate Made in America. “I am confident that working with other City officials and municipal departments, a welcoming home could be found for your event.”

By way of introduction, my name is Khalif J. Rainey and I serve as alderman in the seventh district within the City of Milwaukee.

I read with great interest the news reports of the City of Philadelphia’s decision to no longer host the Made in America Festival. I and my community have known for years the entrepreneurial spirit and remarkable success of this event and admired particularly the way it built the foundations of this success in the minority community. A city-wide impact of $100 million does not come easily and, representing as I do an area of the city where people of color can struggle to find employment, your hiring of 1,000 people a day is equally impressive. Last year I had the opportunity to attend Made in American for the first time and was struck by its energy as well as the obvious positive effect it was having on the city around it. Also evident was the commitment you have collectively made to local-sourcing your partners as, to my understanding 85% of them are from the Philadelphia area.

To put the matter directly, I believe Milwaukee would be an excellent home for future Made in America Festivals. Milwaukee has a reputation as a City of Festivals. It’s one we are very proud of and think we have earned by hosting dozens of both large and small events throughout the year. My office has been responsible for adding an exciting new one to the calendar – Hip Hop Week MKE – during the latter part of August. It will highlight Hip Hop not only as music but culture, education, and economic opportunity.

Only a week ago, Milwaukee wrapped up its 51st hosting of Summerfest. Certified as the world’s largest music festival, it brought nearly 800,000 guests to our well-developed, 75-acre lakefront site for what is already acknowledged as one of the great international music festivals. I believe you will find that many of the problems that surfaced between your organization and the City of Philadelphia have already been resolved here given our long experience with Summerfest. I am confident that working with other City officials and municipal departments, a welcoming home could be found for your event.
And, if I may, I would particularly welcome the inclusiveness and diversity of entertainment that is the signature of Made in America.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter and should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

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Matt Rourke

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