For the second consecutive year, The Roots, Philadelphia’s Grammy-winning hip-hop heavyweights, will host the annual Fourth of July concert on Ben Franklin Parkway, with iconic drummer/DJ Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson serving as musical director.
This year’s diverse lineup will feature Grammy-winning rapper/actress Queen Latifah, hit-maker Daryl Hall of the top-selling duo Hall & Oates, hip-hop artist/actor Common, and pop sensation Joe Jonas.
“We are excited to help put together such a great show! Philly’s a natural fit for the Fourth of July Concert,” says Questlove. “The Fourth of July on the Parkway should be what New Year’s Eve in Times Square is to New York.”
Once again, 6abc will broadcast the Independence Day festivities live, beginning at 10 a.m. with the “Celebration of Freedom Ceremony.” Taking place on the steps of Independence Hall, this “patriotic and inspiring” morning featuring music, speeches and excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, will pay tribute to the history of our great nation.
At 11 a.m., the station will begin live coverage of the “Philadelphia Independence Day Parade” as it travels through historic Philadelphia. With marching bands, floats and more than 5,000 participants, this year’s parade features a “Heroes Salute” honoring the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 – The United States Military, veterans, firefighters and police officers.
The evening’s festivities, airing live on 6abc from the Ben Franklin Parkway, begin at 7 p.m. with “A Special July 4th Edition of FYI Philly,” hosted by Karen Rogers and Adam Joseph. The highly anticipated “4th of July Jam” starring The Roots begins at 7:30.
The Roots, who regularly add their funky flavor as the “house band” for NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” threw an awesome party in 2011, hosting Earth, Wind & Fire, Estelle, Michael McDonald, Sarah Bareilles and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
This year’s musical celebration, which concludes with the traditional Grand Finale Fireworks, will also feature performances by surprise guest artists, and last summer Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Eddie Levert of the O’Jays stopped by to join the party.
“We know that what really makes it magical are the acts that we didn’t announce yet, so we have about three or four surprise artists that we’re not even going to advertise,” says “Questlove” Thompson. “So when you see them there, it’s going to be that much more magical.”
“Wawa Welcome America! will offer you and your family high-quality, free and most importantly, fun entertainment to celebrate America’s birthday with us,” says Mayor Michael Nutter. For complete information on Wawa Welcome America! visit www.welcomeamerica.com.
From executive producer and hip-hip icon Queen Latifah comes “The Next: Fame is at Your Doorstep,” premiering at 9 p.m., Thursday, August 16 on The CW.
The network states that in this “twist on reality singing competitions,” Queen of Latin Pop Gloria Estefan, pop icon Joe Jonas, multi-platinum hip-hop artist Nelly and country superstar John Rich will serve as “mentors,” traveling to six different cities — Orlando, Baltimore, New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles — to immerse themselves in the lives of local up-and-coming musicians on the brink of stardom and prepare them for the performances of their lives as well as the chance to win a recording contract with Atlantic Records.
“The series is a music talent show, I’m really excited about it,” says Joe Jonas, who was in Philadelphia on July 4 to participate in the 2012 “Welcome America” concert on Ben Franklin Parkway. “I’m going to be moving in with someone. The judges will be going to different cities in the states. There will be four people auditioning in each city and these artists are going to be either people that had a chance in the past, maybe they possibly got dropped from a record label. Also there will be people that are local stars or local celebrities. I’m going to be living with them for 72 hours. I’m going to be spending time with their families, learning about them. Say they flip burgers, I’m going to be flipping burgers with them, just so that it’s really hands-on, so that I can really get to know this artist, [and] so that we can work together for this audition. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I am really looking forward to it.”
In the premiere episode, Estefan surprises her contestant, Cori, at a boat party and teaches her how to deal with her stage fright. Jonas brings Tayler out of her comfort zone by having her perform material outside her musical repertoire. Meanwhile, Nelly puts Itzy on the spot, making her perform in front of her customers at work, and Rich gets comfortable in Michael’s personal space, all while giving him the tools he’ll need for an unforgettable performance — cowboy boots included.
Disneydreaming.com contributed to this report.
Every Philadelphian already knows that the best place to celebrate America’s birthday is right here, in America’s birthplace. The annual Wawa Welcome America! Festival comes back next month with 10 patriotic days of family-friendly and free activities through Independence Day. This week-long, only-in-Philadelphia party kicks off on June 24 and culminates July 4 with a parade through Historic Philadelphia and a mega concert with Grammy Award-winning artists, complete with fireworks, at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This year’s musical director for the festival is Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, the headline drummer of Philly’s own neo-soul super group, The Roots.
Mayor Michael Nutter recently annouced this year’s Philly Fourth of July Jam will be literally “star”-spangled with some of the brightest and boldest talent on the national music scene descending on Philadelphia to offer an unparalleled entertainment experience.
“In Philadelphia, we save the best for last — an our festival grand finale is ‘The Largest Free Concert in America,’ the Philly 4th of July Jam,” said Nutter. “This year, we’ll welcome back Philadelphia’s own The Roots, to take the stage as the official house band for the Philly 4th of July Jam. They will be joined by an impressive array of some of the brightest and boldest musicians in the country, including Queen Latifah, Daryl Hall, Common, Joe Jonas and other special guests. The concert will end with a bang — literally — as fireworks illuminate the sky over one of the world’s architectural gems, the Philadelphia Museum of Art.”
Wawa Welcome America! — the nation’s largest, free 4th of July festival — runs from June 25 to July 4, 2012. For more information, go to welcomeamerica.com or call (215) 683-2200.