Ida may have brought historic flood levels to Philadelphia this week, but the damage and devastation caused by the storm does not stop the Made in America Festival from continuing this weekend on Labor Day.
Mayor Jim Kenney defended the city’s decision to let the two-day concert event continue as planned, saying Friday that the festival is an opportunity for Philly to “have fun.”
“This thing has been planned for a whole year or more,” Kenney said. “There have been commitments. People have been booked. Tickets have been sold. We can do two things at once and I think it’s good for the city to have this kind of event so we can celebrate a little bit, even “In the middle of a potential tragedy. Jay-Z, Beyonce, Biebs are coming. It’s going to be fun for a change. It would be nice to have fun, right?”
The heavy rainfall that Ida brought to the region Wednesday night delayed some construction on the stage and concert area at Eakins Oval, but city officials said Thursday that construction would be completed in time for the festival to begin Saturday.
The main stage of the event is located in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, not far from where the Schuylkill River flowed onto the Vine Street Expressway and into the Logan Square neighborhood.
Concertgoers should use public transportation when traveling to Made in America this weekend, city officials said. Most SEPTA services are up and running, but delays are to be expected. Cynwyd and Manayunk / Norristown regional railways as well as parts of the Norristown High Speed Line remain suspended due to the flood.
The Schuylkill River is now below the flood stage as the waters have begun to recede, city officials said. Roads like Lincoln Drive and Ridge Avenue have reopened. But Vine Street Expressway, Kelly Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive remains closed. Several roads were to be available by Saturday afternoon.
City officials said the rise of the river is expected to come in at about 16.5 feet, which would set it lower than the 152-year-old record set at 17 feet in 1869. However, this was the most flooding the city had experienced. according to the early 1900s, according to city officials.
Despite floodwaters beginning to subside, city officials urged them to stay out of the water. Some Philadelphia fans have taken to swimming in the floodwaters over the city, including such a viral moment where someone made a backlash into the water at the Vine Street Expressway.
“Do not do stupid things,” Kenney said.
Philly has gone into recovery and cleanup mode, a process that city officials said will take months. The city said it has begun solving buildings with infrastructure problems caused by the storm.
No storm-related deaths have been reported in Philadelphia. City officials were unable to say exactly how many residents were to be evacuated. The city’s reception center at West Philadelphia High School is still open to residents who need a place to evacuate to because of the flood.
City offices remained closed to the public Friday. Only important services are available.
Waste and recycling collections continue as planned in areas not affected by floods. Residents should still provide their materials on their regularly scheduled day. Delays are expected in areas where roads were affected by the flood.