Another major attendance booster is the fact that the general Philly populace now knows for sure that a fenced-in, ticketed festival on the Parkway really is doable. Last year's was pulled off without gate crashers and with just one arrest (for stealing beer).
Organizers have made improvements, shifting around stages (some baseball diamond turf was destroyed last year) and adding extra creature comforts and distractions to the site.
Support services will be better - including more cellphone service from Verizon.
And the weekend weather forecast - always a major factor in bringing out fussy Philly folks - is looking dandy.
About 40,000 tickets were sold for each of the two days of last year's fest - less than the city-sanctioned 50,000 per-day cap on admissions and probably the difference between profit and loss for the organizers.
This year, the limit on ticket sales has optimistically been raised by another 10,000, and lead festival sponsor Budweiser (working alongside Jay Z, United Way, Live Nation and the city) is definitely putting on a happy face. The Daily News received a Bud missive proclaiming that "attendance will be stronger with approximately 60,000 tickets sold per day . . . bringing the excitement back and opening the festival gates to even more music lovers."
Want to make the most of your visit? Here's what you need to know:
* Can I buy tickets at the gate? Yes, $89.50 per day, $150 for a two-day pass. Box office is on 22nd Street, the east end of the fenced-in festival, adjacent to the main entrance. If you already have tickets, you can also enter off Pennsylvania Avenue at 23rd, and to the south where MLK Drive swoops up to the Parkway at 24th.
* What's the best way to get there? With lots of roads closed for the festival, it's best to take public transportation then walk in - easiest/closest from the Race-Vine station of the Broad Street Line, 15th Street on the Market-Frankford El, and Suburban Station or 30th Street Station for commuter trains. SEPTA promises beefed-up service to meet demand before, during and after the concerts. Ditto NJ Transit. Center City garages will be open, though pricey.
* How about biking there? A bike parking zone with racks can be found south of the main gate on 22nd Street.
* Where's the concert action? How's the show structured? Four stages will be buzzing with music each day starting at 2 p.m., ending at midnight on Saturday and 11 p.m. on Sunday. The biggest headliners play alternately on the Rocky Stage built in front of the main Philadelphia Museum of Art steps and a few hundred yards off to the right on the Liberty Stage. From many locations, just twisting your body 90 degrees will be enough to enjoy good views of both stages.
Dance-music fans that were serviced last year in the dedicated music tent can get their buzz on at the Freedom Stage, relocated to the southern side of the site.
Local acts (yes, there are some) will play on the midway located at Skate Park Stage.
* What can I bring in? Blankets and towels, small umbrellas, one factory-sealed plastic water bottle, empty plastic water container or Camelback, nonprofessional cameras/cameraphones, one non-framed backpack or bag, sunscreen, sunglasses, government issued ID (needed for buying alcohol), cash and credit/debit cards.
* What else is on site? Food tents and speciality trucks. A Bud Biergarten previewing new brews. A large swing-style amusement park ride called Vertigo. A Skype free-call zone. The Cause Village - where showgoers can bring in recycled material and receive festival-branded gear as rewards or sign up as a "designated driver" gifted with an official Made in America water bottle.
Phone-charging stations are available in the Duracell/Powermat tent in Bud Park, Bud Black Crown Lounge and Biergarten. There's also a Rocawear-branded souvenir shop, because Jay Z needs your love and support. * Bored by the music? Stressed by the crowds? Most cultural institutions along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be open - including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation, Franklin Institute, Academy of Natural Sciences, Central Library and Fairmount Waterworks.
* Turn on, tune in. Can't get there for any/all parts of the show? Local radio stations will be filing reports from the site's E-Radio Row, with WMMR (93.3 FM) going especially gung-ho from 3 to 7 p.m. each day.
Better still, major acts' performances will be streamed live both days on YouTube (just search Budweiser Made in America + YouTube) and available in audio form on Spotify and MySpace home and mobile apps.