Sneak-In America Festival

Labor Day is a fantastic three day weekend associated with barbeques, fireworks, and beer by the keg-full. In Philly it also means Budweiser’s Made in America Festival hits the parkway, bringing with it a slew of musical acts and an enormous amount of inebriated fans. I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of the well-projected noise and walk around the Art Museum and Parkway. As I made my way through the other attractions, a thought struck me:

Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could find a hole in the fence and sneak in for Nine Inch Nails!?

The gears in my head started to turn and everything fell into place. A mental checklist started in my head. “Workplace lanyard? Check. Semi-believable story? Check. Insurmountable determination? Double check.


I sped up my walk and marched down the parkway alone at 8 p.m., fully believing the cover of night would help my sneak attack. The nerves built up like butterflies: “Would I be able to make it? Am I queasy? Should I turn back? Never!” I pressed onward, only steps away from the front gate. This was my only chance. I approached security.

“I’m sorry miss, there’s no re-entry.” the stern security guy reminded me, as I jostled through my bag to show my lanyard.

“I work with artist relations.” I muttered, stunned that the words were falling so easily from my lips. My heart was racing. The milliseconds felt like hours. Then, his reply:  “Oh, staff entrance is over there, see the girl in the blue? Just head in over there.”



I strolled over and the security woman walked me through to side-stage, where Calvin Harris was DJing for a giant crowd of sweaty Partydelphians. I jammed to the music from backstage, a mere 50 feet from the internationally known DJ. Stunned, I felt an urge to rush over to the main stage; Nine Inch Nails would begin at 9:30 and that was my whole motivation for sneaking in. I was lucky enough to find a friendly security guard who escorted me over there and dropped me off about 30 feet from center stage.

This was like my hot, sweaty, awesome rock and roll dream. How did I even begin to pull this off?! I packed in with the crowd as the lights came up on Trent Reznor, and I was hit with the sudden realization of just how out perfectly my clever act of deception had played out. Nine Inch Nails played an amazing set, which consisted of crowd favorites like Burn, Head Like a Hole, Closer and Haunted. They closed with my favorite NIN song, Hurt.


The crowd at Budweiser’s Made in America Festival loved every note, and I couldn’t have been happier to have taken the risk. The music-loving Gods were with me on Sunday night, and I truly felt that the stars had aligned for me. Whether it was by my own pure genius, clever cunning, or just crazy good luck I don’t know.  Whatever the reason, I’d like to thank the Made in America security guards for being super cool and for either not noticing or not caring enough to let me pass through.

God Bless America and Nine Inch Nails.