Once again the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will host the largest free concert in the country this Fourth of July.
John Mayer will top this year’s bill, singing his blues-inspired, hushed-toned pop to the half-million people expected to gather near the Art Museum this Independence Day.
He’ll be joined by Grammy-award winning R&B singer Ne-Yo, North Philly native and Grammy-award winner Jill Scott, as well as the Joplin-esque Grace Potter, in addition to Demi Lovato, Ben Taylor and J. Cole.
Philly natives, The Roots, had a hand in organizing this year’s event and will once again perform as the festival’s house band.
Roots’ singer Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter said he and bandmate Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson grew up coming to the Parkway for live music and fireworks every Fourth of July.
“It’s a tremendous 360 effect, just coming full circle, for us to have been blessed with the opportunity to now curate such an event,” said Trotter. “It’s definitely our favorite moment of each year.”
This is the 20th year the festival has been held on the Parkway. For the first time, the concert will be broadcast nationally on VH1.
Other highlights of the weeklong festival include Hoagie Day on July 2, when participants can eat their share of a 4.5-ton Wawa hoagie, and enjoy free admission to the National Constitution Center.