May 14, 2024 - News

Kesha and Ne-Yo to headline Philly's biggest summer party

Kesha and Ne-Yo

Kesha and Ne-Yo. Photos: Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty; Katja Ogrin/Redferns via Getty

Philadelphia is throwing it back to the 2000s for this year's Wawa Welcome America festival, with artists Ne-Yo and Kesha headlining the Fourth of July bash.

Why it matters: The free festival is Philly's biggest summer party, and it's expected to draw more than a million visitors for what we're officially declaring: Miss Independence Day.

Driving the news: Organizers on Tuesday unveiled the lineup for the festival, which stretches over 16 days with events leading up to the July 4th concert and fireworks show on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

What's new: The First Person Arts Festival will take part this year.

  • Running June 29-July 2, the festival will feature conversations and stories from Philly activist and television personality Marc Lamont Hill, author Roxane Gay and comedian Chris Gethard at venues across the city.

Zoom in: The festival includes free museum days, including to the African American Museum in Philadelphia, Masonic Temple, Fabric Workshop Museum and Eastern State Penitentiary.

  • Plus, the ever-popular free hoagie day!

Highlights:

June 19: The Juneteenth Block Party is a daylong celebration featuring live music, vendors, dance performances, food trucks and family-friendly activities at the African American Museum.

  • Headliners include Kid 'n Play, along with West Philly R&B band Suede Lace.

June 21: Kids can dance, play and create at the Kidchella Music Festival at Smith Memorial Playground. Musical performances include Alex & The Kaleidoscope and Johnny Shortcake.

June 24: A family-friendly block party at the Independence National Historic Park's Declaration House will feature the unveiling of a new exhibit from Monument Lab with performances.

June 26: Rocky Movie Night will take over the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to show the flick that started it all. Don't forget a lawn chair and blanket.

June 27: 25,000 free Wawa Shorti Hoagies are up for grabs for Hoagie Day at the Independence Mall. After your meal, stay for musical performances and free admission to the National Constitution Center.

June 28: Philly music legend Dyana Williams will host a concert celebrating Black Music Month at the outdoor Dell Music Center. The evening will conclude with a fireworks display.

June 29: The Avenue of the Arts Block takes over part of South Broad Street for a day of music, art, carnival games, activities and food.

  • Musical guests include Carla Gamble, Javon Newman, Omar Wilson, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

July 4: Celebrate the 248th birthday of the U.S. at the Salute to Independence Parade along Market Street.

  • The Parkway concert is the culmination of the festival. Besides Kesha and Ne-Yo, the lineup includes DJ Diamond Kuts and Philly-based Snacktime.
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