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May 23, 2023

Demi Lovato, Ludacris to headline Wawa Welcome America concert on July 4

The Independence Day tradition on the Ben Franklin Parkway is the culmination of 16 days of live performances, cultural celebrations and free museum admission

Festivals Welcome America!
Welcome America Headliners Ed Newton/Wawa Welcome America

Demi Lovato and Ludacris will be perform during Wawa Welcome America's concert on July 4, 2023, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Demi Lovato and Ludacris will be in Philadelphia this summer to to perform at the Wawa Welcome America concert July Fourth on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Philadelphia's Independence Day festival takes place over 16 days, from June 19 through July 4, featuring cultural celebrations, free admission to city museums, live performances and other special events. Welcome America will culminate Lovato and Ludacris performing on the stage at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art followed by the fireworks display on the Parkway.

Rapper Ludacris will open the concert at 7 p.m. on July 4. The Atlanta-based artist has released eight studio albums and 89 singles during his 25-year career. His hit songs include "Rollout (My Business)," "Stand Up," "Runaway Love," "My Chick Bad" and "How Low." Ludacris also has established himself as an actor, and he is best known for his appearance in the "Fast and Furious" franchise. He also is in Lovato's 2017 documentary "Simply Complicated."

Lovato will close out the concert on the Parkway. The pop star's hits include "Cool For The Summer," "Sorry Not Sorry" and "Confident," and the former child star has sold more than 24 million albums in the United States. The singer's most recent album, "Holy Fvck," peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 200 after its release and featured rock-inspired singles like "Skin Of My Teeth" and "29." 

The Welcome America concert is free to attend, though tickets are required. After the stray bullets struck two police officers last July 4 during the fireworks show, Welcome America is increasing its safety measures and everyone arriving at the parkway will be subject to bag checks and must pass through metal detectors. Also, people will be prohibited from arriving at the Ben Franklin Parkway for the concert until after 4 p.m.

Welcome America's festivities will kick off with the Juneteenth block party at the African American Museum on June 19. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., people of all ages are invited to the outdoor festival to celebrate the legacy of emancipation. There will be a marketplace with Black-owned businesses at the forefront along with food trucks, entertainment and giveaways. The event is free and will include a lineup of special guests, but registration is required

Wawa Hoagie Day is Wednesday, June 28 from noon to 3 p.m. on Independence Mall. Wawa will give away 25,000 free hoagies, and there will be a performance from the Six String Soldiers of the U.S. Army String Band. More than 1,000 Wawa locations in the region also will give away about 30,000 hoagies the same day. 

In addition to the Fourth of July concert on the parkway, Welcome America will host three concerts on Independence Mall. On June 30, the U.S. Army Field Band presents "America The Beautiful," a celebration of patriotism that honors veterans and current service members.

On July 2, Gospel On Independence takes over Independence Mall with performances from the Welcome America Mass Choir, Six Singing Sista's Ensemble, Philly Remembers Choir, Treena Ferebee and Generations. The concert, hosted by Patty Jackson, pays tribute to the 160th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Then on July 3, singer, actress and former Miss America, Vanessa Williams, headlines Music On Independence.

Other highlights among the events leading up July 4 include the Avenue of the Arts block party on South Broad Street from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. There will be live musicians, art installations from Mural Arts Philadelphia, previews of the Kimmel Cultural Campus' upcoming season and a 120-foot slide for people of all ages to try. 

For the first time, Hispanic Fiesta at Penn's Landing will be part of Welcome America. The event takes place June 24-25 and features  live entertainment, food vendors and Latino-owned businesses selling clothes, jewelry and other handmade items.

This year, Wawa also continues to provide free admission to more than two dozen museums in the city, including the African American Museum of Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center, the Mütter Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Penn Museum and the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History.

Tickets and additional information will be added to the Welcome America website through the beginning of the festival on Monday, June 19. 

Wawa Welcome America

June 19 through July 4, 2023
Various times | Free, pay-as-you-go
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130