What You Missed While You Were Away on July 4th, Photos of Concert, & People Running on the Parkway

Last week Philadelphia put on another stellar July 4th celebration, and with VH1’s help, one of the best line ups during America’s largest free concerts ever. (I’ve lived on the Parkway for nearly 15 years, so I’m kinda an expert on everything on the Parkway.)

 With John Mayer making his first concert debut in nearly 3 years after having undergone throat surgery. Here he is at sound check last Thursday. So remember this for next year, they always do sound check the day of the concert.
 Grace Potter. On TV I said she was the new carnation of Janis Joplin, but I should have included with the beauty and talent of a Grace Slick and Stevie Nick’s. Amazing talent.
 On Fox 29, I called Ne-Yo the Michael Jackson heir apparent, not Chris Brown, which kinda shocked Sheinelle Jones. Brown is to unpredictable. Ne-Yo can dance and is full of life. During rehearsal, he didn’t sing but he practiced his dance moves, which I thought was really cool.
 Seen on the Scene.

Hunter Hayes at rehearsal
 During the day’s activities along the Parkway, there were lots of things to do including catch the Quest Love hand picked talent who performed on The Questlove Stage featureing performances by
Chill Moody, Go Go Morrow, Jasmine V and Lido Lido above.
 Move over Selena Gomez for Jasmine V
 In the evening Mayor Nutter welcomed the crowd

MC Kevin “Let Me Explain” Hart and his adorable kids 

 Black Thought and Questlove were the musical directors of the July 4th Philly Jam
 DJ Jazzy Jeff was in the house spinning
 Philly’s own Jill Scott
 Grace Potter performing
 Although billed as Hunter Hayes, country music’s newest star, Hunter’s been singing for quite a few years now. He’s just hitting his stride now. He was a huge draw, with fans lining up to see him in the wee hours of the morning.
 J. Cole has the #2 CD on Billboard.

 The crowd surged into the VIP area when he came on stage.
 John Mayer
 in fine form seemed to dash off stage. Now we know why, he had Katy Perry waiting in his dressing room.
 Ne-Yo wowed the crowd
 especially when he jumped into the crowd. All in all it was a magnificent night except for two crazy happenings.

 On Thursday in my post I mentioned that the “new” location for the stage is just awful. You can’t see the stage unless you’re right on top of it in the VIP/Ticket holder area. All week I was fielding questions on how to get those tickets. They are handed out to sponsors, city workers and they are given to various districts in the City to them hand them out to constituents.


 I also mentioned that there was one spot where it was also fairly easy to see the stage, on the north side

A lot of people realized that too. If you’re going to have a steller line up, expect fans to want to see their idols in person, even if they can’t quite make out what they’re wearing, or what not. They don’t want to see them
on the tiniest of three jumbo trons you can imagine. These are perfect for folks lining the Parkway, out with their friends and family for a good time, loving the sounds, but really waiting for the fireworks.
 No, they want to see their idols up close and personal, well it really doesn’t have to be up close, but when you have a 1000 people behind you pushing closer eventually something is going to give and that was the tiny security gates. At least 3 times they were knocked down and the masses poured into the “ticketed” area. This can all be resolved, and next year people won’t have to get trampled so someone can take a cell phone shot of John Mayer, J-Cole or Ne-Yo
 Prior to 2007 all the July 4th Concerts were held with either the stage sitting on the art museum steps or at the bottom of the steps. The Made in America stage sat at the bottom of the steps, the mass amount of people who get to see the stage. 
When you put the stage among the trees in the Eakins Oval parking lot, the view is obstructed, except for the VIP/Ticketed peeps. Back then the City moved the stage as they said it was cost effective. 
I say how much is a life worth, or the frightened look on a kids face, or my face, or some of your workers who were stuck on the press riser for 90 minutes for the fear that the surging crowd would climb the steps where we were?
Even this far back people can enjoy the stage show when the stage is placed at the bottom of the Art Museum stairs. While I was at Made in America, I didn’t see one incident, or trampling. As for the Parkway incident, I had heard rumblings about it on the message boards and from friends. NBCPhiladelphia has a bit of the story. One official with the City told me, with a crowd this large, we can’t control every aspect, people need to act responsibly, and know their actions affect other people. I couldn’t agree more. 


I wonder what happened to the families who got there at 10AM to claim their spot near the fence that was breached. Especially the nice family I met from Ohio?

I made it home just in time to celebrate the holiday with my friends back at my house.

Now Mr Mayor please move the stage back to the bottom of the Art Museum Steps so more people can enjoy the concert.