Demi Lovato sick, Hunter Hayes added to Philly 4th of July Jam

Hunter Hayes (left) performs at LP Field on Friday June 7, 2013 in Nashville Tennessee and Demi Lovato (right) performs on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday, June 28, 2013 in New York. (Photos by John Davisson and Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
July 3, 2013 8:16:41 PM PDT
Demi Lovato, sick with a case of strep throat, will not be taking the stage at this year's Philly 4th of July Jam. Organizers say concert-goers will not be left hanging, having added country music star Hunter Hayes to the lineup.

City Representative and Executive Director of Welcome America, Inc. Desiree Peterkin-Bell spoke of the addition of Hunter Hayes, saying, "We are very excited to have Hunter Hayes join us for the Philly 4th of July Jam tomorrow... Hayes is one of the biggest stars in country music right now and we know that he will be a great addition to the stellar lineup we already have in place!"

PETER NERO AND THE PHILLY POPS

Wednesday night, though, the spotlight was on Independence Mall.

A big crowd packed the mall to see and hear Peter Nero and the Philly Pops.

They came from near and far. Declin Breslin made the trip from Ireland.

"We have sort of the same history," he said. "We had trouble with the English, too."

Where ever they came from, they were all there for the same thing.

"Wanted to come here and see where we all started," said Mark Hoxmeier of North Carolina.

Wednesday night's concert was free.

COUNTING DOWN TO INDEPENDENCE DAY

On Thursday, patriotic crowds will come out for the Celebration of Freedom ceremony, followed by the Independence Day Parade, which steps off on the historic stretch where the pops concert was held Wednesday night.

"Oh it's beautiful," said Amy Gaudrault of Portland, Maine. "We just arrived this morning. We're looking forward to seeing everything."

At Smith Playground in Fairmount Park Wednesday morning, Mayor Michael Nutter read to children as part of the Go Fourth and Learn series going on this week.

"Philly owns the Fourth like many consider New York to own New Year's Eve. The 2013 Wawa Welcome America is considered to be the best year yet," he said.

Over along Ben Franklin Parkway, from the seats to the stage to the sound, crews were hard at work perfecting every detail, hoping this year's festivities will climb to new heights.

From the Party on the Parkway, to the Fourth of July Jam and Fireworks, thousands will flock to this area tomorrow to enjoy the free fun.

It's billed as the largest free concert in America, with music for all. The Roots with special guests John Mayer, Hunter Hayes, Jill Scott, Ne-Yo, Grace Potter, J Cole, and Ben Taylor will all take the stage tomorrow.

People from all over are coming into town to have fun and maybe learn a little about Philadelphia's role in American history.

Ronda Selter of Michigan explained her reasons for visiting Philadelphia this Fourth of July, saying, "Get a little taste of where our country came from."

The history, the site, the fun - folks have been flooding into town all week celebrating America's birthday in America's birthplace.

Petyerkin-Bell tells Action News, "This is America's home. Where best to celebrate the Fourth of July?"

"I think it's the best place to celebrate independence, because this is where independence was founded," said Laura Olah of Paoli, Pa.

Wawa Welcome America festivities are taking place all week long.

Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Orchestra teamed up with the Phillie Phanatic for a number at Penn's Landing, after which fireworks exploded over the Delaware River.

And earlier in the day, thousands lined up for free Wawa hoagies on Independence Mall for Hoagie Day.


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