The neo-soul singer Rolling Stone called one of “10 New Artists You Need to Know” - Leon Bridges - announced on Twitter Monday morning that he will be performing as part of Philadelphia’s 2016 Wawa Welcome America! July 4th festival. Want Mas? VIVA MÁS, the Philadelphia Latin vocal group, joins the all-Philly connected, 350+ performers in this year’s eight-day Wawa Welcome America! festival. Leon Bridges and VIVA MÁS will be joined by Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr., Empire’s Yazz the Greatest, Brotherly Love, the Philly POPS, USO Show Troupe, and a special celebration of the Sound of Philadelphia for Kenney Gamble and Leon Huff featuring legendary hit-makers The O’Jays, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes and The Intruders backed by The Sounds of Philadelphia Orchestra directed by Henri McMillian, Jr..
Yo! The parkway stage is not the only place to see celebrities. In front of the globally famous Independence Hall, Philadelphia-born How to Get Away with Murder actor and Scandal producer, Tom Verica appears at the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony on July 4th at 10 a.m. The ceremony will honor Philly’s “Everyday Heroes” alongside Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr, Kenney Gamble, Leon Huff and the Philly POPS.
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The fun on the parkway starts earlier this year, 12 p.m., with Party On the Parkway. This free daytime family event at Eakins Oval will get everyone dancing with performances by Kidz Bop Kids Live – the No. 1 Kid’s Album Artist in the U.S. – plus an opening DJ set and beatboxing with the kids with hip hop legend Biz Markie who has toured extensively as a fan favorite on the Yo Gabba Gabba Live Tour.
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The Wawa Welcome America! July 4th Concert also begins at an earlier time, 5 p.m., with Biz Markie djing between sets to keep the crowd going throughout five hours of non-stop live entertainment (two more hours than before) with the July 4th grand finale fireworks (also starting earlier this year) at 10:00 p.m., presented by Comcast NBCUniversal and Pyrotecnico..
Leon Bridges is no stranger to performing for large lively crowds like the one expected at this year’s Wawa Welcome America! July 4th Concert. His Coming Home tour has sold out appearances across the country including in Philadelphia. His local ties go well beyond the City of Brotherly Love—Bridges recorded the soundtrack for the sports drama thriller film, Concussion, starring Will Smith. Concussion was filmed in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
The 26 year-old Fort Worth, Texas native and Columbia Records artist released his debut album, Coming Home, to critical and public acclaim. The album was nominated for Best R&B Album at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. Most recently, the young and talented artist performed a tribute to Ray Charles at the White House for President Obama.
VIVA MÁS is what happens when you deliver both Philly Soul and Latin Heritage. Eddie, Eli, Raul, Michael, and Eric from Philadelphia’s own VIVA MÁS work with the producers who introduced Grammy-award winner Jon Secada and Latin popstars Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias.
The festival will be broadcast on NBC10, Telemundo62, Cozi TV, TCN, and TeleXitos. Events will also be live-streamed on the NBC10 and Telemundo62 websites. Festival guides that will help residents and visitors navigate the events throughout the week will live on the NBC10 and Telemundo62 mobile apps.