Demi Lovato, Ludacris to headline 2023 Welcome America concert

Attendees should prepare for new security measures this year
Ludacris and Demi Lovato
Ludacris and Demi Lovato will headline this year's Welcome America July Fourth concert. Photo credit Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Don’t have a heart attack — some big-time stars are set to perform in Philly this summer. Singer Demi Lovato and rapper Ludacris will headline the annual Fourth of July Welcome America concert event.


Attendees can shake their “money makers” at the free show before the big fireworks spectacular on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, but everyone should be prepared for new security measures. Welcome America officials laid out details of the celebration on Tuesday.

Nina Rodriguez will be performing in one of the festival’s new features — the Hispanic Fiesta, which includes two nights of fireworks June 24 and 25.

Welcome America President Michael DelBene says it enhances a defining characteristic of the event: "WaWa Welcome America will remain the most inclusive expression of freedom, liberty and independence in America. We will continue to create a festival that all Philadelphians can see themselves in."

Last year’s celebration was marred by two police officers on the Parkway being struck by bullets that were fired for presumably celebratory reasons from a mile away.

"Last year was dumb because some nitwit two miles away decided to fire a gun he never should have had," Kenney said. "We had no problems on the site. It was safe. It was fun and we expect to do the same this year without the shooting in the sky."

He says it’s unrelated to the new security measures, which include metal detectors at a single entry point at Logan Square. Kenney says it should be no big deal.

"It’s the times we live in, but it’s not unusual to go to a concert and go through a magnetometer and have your bag checked," he said.

The 16-day festival begins on Juneteenth with programs throughout the city, including the traditional hoagie giveaway on Independence Mall on June 28.

Lovato, 30, first popped on the scene in Disney Channel original shows and movies but quickly topped the charts as a pop music icon, with hit singles like “Sorry Not Sorry,” “Confident,” “Cool for the Summer,” “Heart Attack,” “Stone Cold,” and “Give Your Heart a Break.”

The Grammy-nominated singer and mental health advocate has released eight albums and garnered more than 30 billion streams worldwide. Like Lovato’s previous albums, her 2022 album also reached the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard 200.

Ludacris, a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, philanthropist and businessman, first skyrocketed to the top of the charts in 2000 with his debut album, “Back for the First Time.”

With hit singles over the years like “Stand Up,” “Get Back,” “Number One Spot,” “Money Maker,” “Southern Hospitality,” and “My Chick Bad,” 45-year-old Ludacris has sold more than 24 million albums worldwide. He has also had a recurring role in the Fast and Furious franchise movie series.

If fans can’t make the Fourth of July show in person, they can watch live on NBC10, a broadcast partner of KYW Newsradio.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images