Philadelphia has annually been treated to music and fireworks on the Parkway in celebration of America’s birthday, but this year is set to be particularly impressive, being billed the “largest free concert in America.” Festival director Questlove (along with sponsor Wawa) pulled out all the stops for this year’s Philly Fourth of July Jam to produce an all-star show that will feature names such as The Roots, Earth, Wind and Fire, Michael McDonald, Estelle, Sara Bareilles, and DJ Jazzy Jeff. To explain why the day is so special to him, Questlove said,
“I have been attending the fireworks and the concert on the Parkway in Philly since I was kid. I have had the pleasure to perform on the main stage over the past two years and truly understand the impact this event has on the city and can potentially have on the world. July 4th should be to Philadelphia what New Year’s Eve is to Time Square in New York City. That is the kind of excitement we are aiming to bring to Philly this year and in years to come.”
Headlining the show will be Philadelphia’s own The Roots, who have in recent years become a summer mainstay for the city. Their fourth annual Roots Picnic at Festival Pier in June brought in a diverse group of acts such as Nas, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Wiz Khalifa, and Man Man. They perform their mix of hip-hop, neo-soul and funk with live instruments and tons of attitude and dancing, making for a truly enjoyable show.
Earth, Wind and Fire have had a huge amount of success in their 40+ year career. With six Grammy Awards, seven top 10 albums, and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the super-group has established itself as a true legend of our time. Their expansive career has allowed for experimentation with many sounds and projects, and throughout it all their 14+ person live shows have remained incredibly dynamic.
Michael McDonald is another a multi-Grammy Award winning artist, for his work as a singer-songwriter and with the Doobie Brothers. His style is sometimes described as “blue-eyed soul,” which he accomplishes via his expressive voice and keyboards. He had a #1 single with the Doobie Brothers with “What A Fool Believes,” as well as many hits from his debut solo album If That’s What It Takes.
Also performing will be British singer Estelle, singer-songwriter Sarah Bareilles, and Philly’s DJ Jazzy Jeff, originally of Fresh Prince fame. The concert will include a tribute to the 40th anniversary of Philadelphia International Records’ “The Sound of Philadelphia.” Following the show at 10:30, there will be grand finale fireworks over the Museum of Art. For additional information regarding all of the Wawa Welcome America weekend festivities, visit the website here.
The Philly Fourth of July Jam will feature The Roots performing with Earth, Wind and Fire, Michael McDonald, Estelle, Sarah Bareilles, and DJ Jazzy Jeff. The free, all-ages concert will take place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.