The Roots To Star At Philly’s ‘Fourth Of July Jam’

The largest free concert in America has signed up The Roots along with special guests Earth, Wind & Fire, Michael McDonald, Estelle, Sara Bareilles and DJ Jazzy Jeff to celebrate America’s birthday.

Photo: AP Photo
Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pa.

The “Fourth Of July Jam” caps an 11-day celebration called “Wawa Welcome America” that begins June 24. Formerly called “Welcome America,” the “Wawa” in the title comes from convenience store company Wawa, Inc., which nailed down the corporate sponsorship rights.

Kicking off at noon on July 4, the concert takes place at Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway and will include a tribute to the 40th anniversary of Philadelphia International Records. Often attributed as the architects of “The Sound Of Philadelphia,” Kenneth Gamble and Leon A. Huff established the label as a hit-making machine that quickly dominated soul music in the 1970s. “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” recorded by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, “Me and Mrs. Jones” recorded by Billy Paul and “Backstabbers” and “Love Train” recorded by The O’Jays are just a few of the ‘70s hits that came from Philadelphia International Records.

“Being from Philly, it’s a privilege to pay homage to the pioneers of Philadelphia soul,” The Roots’ ?uestlove said. “We are putting together a great tribute and the crowd is definitely in for a few surprises.”

Photo: Robert Fischer /
House Of Blues, Chicago, Ill.

More than 500,000 people are expected to attend the “Fourth Of July Jam.” For more information, check out the “Wawa Welcome America” website.