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Fourth of July on the Esplanade: What to know about the 2024 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular

BOSTON — It may be May, but planning is well underway for the annual 4th of July Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular.

This year will mark the the 50th anniversary since fireworks were added to the free musical celebration of Independence Day, a beloved Boston tradition that began almost a century ago under conductor Arthur Fiedler.

The historic event will take place at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade on Thursday, July 4, from 8–11 p.m. with Keith Lockhart conducting the Boston Pops.

The 2024 Fireworks Spectacular will include the Pops playing patriotic favorites, closing with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, followed by a fireworks display over the Charles River, beginning at 10:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Admittance to the event is on a first-come, first-served basis. Information on directions and parking can be found here.

Tony Award-winning actress Kelli O’Hara will headline this year’s event, which will also feature performances by The Mavericks, Darlene Love, and the Singing Sergeants from the U.S. Air Force Band.

Carol Massey and Romaine Bostick of Bloomberg Television will co-host the 2024 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular performance and concert television and radio broadcasts.

The performance will be broadcast live on Bloomberg TV and Radio and SiriusXM channel 119, as well as locally on WHDH-TV Channel 7 and online at Bloomberg.com. (Click here for additional tune-in details including how to live-stream the concert on Bloomberg online).

“When philanthropist David Mugar introduced fireworks and cannons to the Pops annual July Fourth concert in 1974, he created an iconic tradition that would unite millions in music and celebration over the years and would showcase Boston as the birthplace of our democracy,” Lockhart said in a statement.

“I am grateful to be able to carry forward that legacy in this year’s Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this extraordinary event, our orchestra’s gift to the great city of Boston,” Lockhart said. “I also look forward to celebrating several other milestones at the Fireworks Spectacular over the next couple years: my 30th anniversary as conductor of the Boston Pops in 2025 and the 250th anniversary of the United States Declaration of Independence in 2026.”

O’Hara has “established herself as one of Broadway’s greatest leading ladies,” the Boston Pops said in a statement. The Tony Award winner, Emmy and Grammy-nominated actress has appeared in 11 Broadway shows for which she has garnered eight Tony Award nominations, including in 2024 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical in Days of Wine and Roses. She won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, along with Grammy, Drama League and Outer Critics nominations for her portrayal of Anna Leonowens in The King and I.

O’Hara’s other Broadway credits include Kiss Me Kate, The Bridges of Madison County, Nice Work if You Can Get It, South Pacific, The Pajama Game, The Light in the Piazza, Sweet Smell of Success, Follies, Dracula, and Jekyll & Hyde. O’Hara received an Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Katie Bonner in Topic’s hit web series, The Accidental Wolf, and can currently be seen on HBO’s The Gilded Age.

The Mavericks “have created the kind of multicultural Americana that reaches far beyond America itself, blending their favorite stateside sounds — including rock & roll, country, and R&B — with Tex-Mex twang, Cuban rhythms, Jamaican ska, and other Latin influences,” the Boston Pops said in a statement. Band members Raul Malo (vocals and guitar), Eddie Perez (lead guitar), Jerry Dale McFadden (keyboard), and Paul Deakin (drums) have won a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Group with Vocal in 1996; multiple awards from the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association, and the Trailblazer Award at the 2021 Americana Music Honors & Awards.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Darlene Love “continues to captivate audiences worldwide with her warm, gracious stage presence and superb performances,” the Boston Pops said in a statement. Her film Twenty Feet from Stardom won both an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2014 and a Grammy Award for Best Music Film in 2015. Her Billboard hits include: “He’s a Rebel,” “The Boy I’m Gonna Marry,” “Wait ‘Til My Bobby Gets Home,” “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” and the legendary holiday classic, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

Stationed at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., the Singing Sergeants is one of six musical ensembles from The U.S. Air Force Band, the Boston Pops said in a statement. The Singing Sergeant’s 24 active-duty musicians support ceremonial and diplomatic functions, education outreach events, and perform concerts throughout Washington, D.C., and the United States, “using music to bridge language and cultural differences and to help advance positive diplomatic relations through song.” The chorus is regularly featured at national music education conferences, including the American Choral Directors Association, the Music Educators National Conference, and Chorus America.

The event is planned to take place rain or shine. Light or intermittent rain will not cancel either the concert or the fireworks, organizers said. If severe weather necessitates cancelling or curtailing the program to protect the safety of the public, performers, and event staff, organizers said they will post an update on this website.

Former Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler first began leading a free July 4 performance on the Esplanade back in 1929.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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