BEING THERE: Wiz Khalifa @ The Piazza


As the sun dropped on a warm late October afternoon, the gates opened for the Forbes’ first ever Under 30 Music Festival at the Piazza in Philadelphia. The festival is a partnership with Global Poverty Project, the organization that runs the annual Global Festival in NYC. Both events are free ticketed events for anyone who took specific action against extreme poverty on social media — watching a video on extreme poverty, tweeting about it, or even taking a selfie and hashtagging about Global Citizen.

First up was OCD: Moosh & Twist, a hip-hop duo out of Philadelphia and the only hometown act on the bill. Not many people knew of them at the show, but they showed they know how to work a crowd. Hands were waving and people were jumping up and down as they had the crowd screaming the chorus’ to their popular tracks “How We Do” and “I Got It.” Next up was LP, a ukelele-wielding singer songwriter out of New York with an amazing vocal range. Playing her serene-but-somehow-still-in-your-face hit “Tokyo Sunrise,” she hit notes I’ve never heard before. She even had a guest appearance from Taylor Hanson from long-ago boy band Hanson who hopped on the keyboard as they played a cover of the Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty hit “Stop Draggin My Heart Around.” People started yelling for him to play “MMMBop” as he left the stage, but to everyone’s dismay the request was not met.

As the show ended Mayor Nutter came out to show his support for the Global Citizen movement by asking people to keep spreading the word and congratulating everyone who came out to the event for taking action. With the decriminalization of marijuana bill which he signd into law about to go into effect in Philadelphia, there was a certain poetic justice to having Nutter introduce headliner Wiz Khalifa, an enthusiastic advocate and consumer of the sweet leaf. He came out strong with “Work Hard, Play Hard,” bouncing around with his joint lit and pointing out all the hand-drawn signs on affixed to Piazza apartment windows calling for Wiz to come to their apartments for an after party. He went on to play a lot of tracks off of his new, chart-topping Blacc Hollywood album, backed by his bandmadtes Kush and OJ. He could be serious, rapping about his struggle to rise above his in humble beginnings “House In the Hills,” and he could be fun, getting the girls in the crowd twerking to “Ass.”

As it got later in the night it got colder, even to the point where you can see your own breath. But as it got closer to Afrojack’s showtime, the crowd got tighter making everyone pretty much on top of each other. You knew then that the main attraction was up next and he definitely brought the heat with his set. Breaking the ice with his rendition of Tiesto’s “Red Light” he had everyone with their hands up singing along, maybe because they knew the lyrics or maybe because he had all of his lyrics pop up on his DJ booth screen. Either way everyone was all-in with Afrojack, so much that when the beat dropped during “Illuminate” even Mayor Nutter was in the front row raising the roof like it was the early 2000s. Afrojack went on to explain that he was one of the main underwriters of the event, putting up his own money for the venue and more, because he is so passionate about the Global Citizen movement to end poverty and that he wants the keep things like this going. Everyone left feeling they had stepped up to the plate in a small but not insignificant way and lent a hand to a critical cause that’s up against overwhelming odds, it was one of those rare occasions where you got to have a great time supporting a great cause. — CLAYTON RUSSELL