PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --The lineup for the Wawa Welcome America celebration this Fourth of July has been announced, with Mary J. Blige as the headliner.
The six-day festival will run from Thursday, June 29 through Tuesday, July 4.
The following was released on Friday morning:
Musical pioneer and "the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul," Mary J. Blige will headline for the first time the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert. Blige has made music history with a record eight multi-platinum albums, nine Grammy Awards (plus a staggering 32 nominations), a 2012 Golden Globe nomination, and five American Music Awards.
The Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert will honor Philadelphia hometown icons Boyz II Men, the best-selling R&B group of all time with an astounding 64 million albums sold.
Boyz II Men will also appear at the "Celebration of Freedom Ceremony" at 10 a.m. on July 4th at Independence Hall where the City of Philadelphia will officially recognize their historic achievements in music and philanthropy.
Marking the 25th anniversary of Wawa Welcome America, performing in the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert will be the Philly POPS BIG Band. The POPS were the first performers at the very first free concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 1993.
The Philly POPS BIG Band will be joined by Mandy Gonzalez from the Tony Award-winning hit musicals Hamilton, In the Heights and Wicked, and Billboard top 10 jazz singer, pianist and songwriter Tony DeSare.
VIDEO: Action News coverage of Welcome America 2016
The BIG Band will set the tone with several patriotic standards and then perform a set of recent popular hits. The Philly POPS is a fixture at Philadelphia's celebrations of civic significance. The POPS BIG Band specializes in infusing the best of American popular music with a spirited, swinging presentation.
Additional Wawa Welcome America entertainment, festival information and details about 50 free events for 2017 will be announced in the coming weeks.
New times for the concert and fireworks
The Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert on Independence Day is free, open to the public and begins promptly at 7 p.m. It culminates with one of the largest and most beautiful fireworks displays in the country at 9:30 p.m. The event is held on the iconic Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.
For families with young children, KIDZ BOP Kids return for an early afternoon concert
To appeal to families with young children, for the second year, KIDZ BOP Kids will perform live on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the early afternoon on the main stage. KIDZ BOP Kids record kid-friendly versions of today's biggest pop music hits sung by kids, for kids. They are the number one music brand for kids in the U.S. and have sold over 16 million albums in 15 years. This concert will not be broadcast.
Additional entertainment, festival information and details about 50 free events for 2017 will be announced in the coming weeks. Visit www.welcomeamerica.com to learn more.
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