Welcome America! Fourth of July fest concert lineup announced

Wawa Welcome America! has announced its star-studded lineup for the 2016 Fourth of July concert on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

The eight-day fest, which runs June 27 through July Fourth, highlights America’s independence and everything Philly — from history to culture to entertainment.

This year’s event promises to feature more live music than ever before, with free, live performances by West Philly Tony-nominated and award-winning actor and musician Leslie Odom Jr.; Yazz the Greatest, star of the Fox hit TV series, “Empire”; Brotherly Love, the five-member a cappella group of Philadelphia fame; the “Sound of Philadelphia” by music icons Gamble & Huff, with performances by The O’Jays, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes and The Intruders with the Urban Guerrilla Orchestra; and the Philly POPS return with “POPS on the Parkway”, featuring their 65-piece orchestra.

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During a Friday news conference from the Independence Visitor’s Center, Mayor Jim Kenney andComcast and Wawa top executives came together to announce the details of this year’s festival. Kenney said he was proud to welcome the 350 performers along with a total of “100 hours of fun” in Center City. All events are free and open to the public.

“I wanted the vision of Welcome America and the festival to be inclusive, because that’s the spirit of our country and of Philadelphia,” said Kenney.

“I think this year’s festival will be fun for all neighborhoods and generations and I’m excited that, for the first time, the concert on the Fourth will be broadcast in Spanish. I’m also excited that our musical acts are representing a very wide range of genres and that all our acts have strong Philadelphia ties.”

Fireworks shows will go off over the Delaware River on July 1, 2 and the Fourth. For more information on the festival, go to welcomeamerica.com.

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