The Fourth of July is a crucial part of country music’s DNA, providing the setting for hundreds of all-American songs — from Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” to Toby Keith’s “American Soldier” — that bleed red, white and blue. It’s no surprise, then, that many of the genre’s icons are playing patriotic shows this week, serving as opening acts for the nation’s string of fireworks shows. We’ve sorted through the dozens of July 4th celebrations to find those that offer the most entertainment for country music fans.
Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular
Location: Midtown Manhattan
Firepower: More than 75,000 shells will be shot from seven barges along a 20-block stretch of the East River. That’s a 25 percent increase from last year’s payload.
How to Watch: NBC’s two-hour broadcast airs live on Wednesday night. The coverage kicks off at 8:00 p.m. ET, followed by a one-hour encore presentation at 10:00 p.m.
A Capitol Fourth
Star Power: Hosted by John Stamos, the nation’s longest-running July 4th telecast celebrates its 38th year with an — ahem — full house of country icons, Broadway performers, Motown groups and more. Included in the mix are Luke Combs, Lauren Alaina, Jimmy Buffett and headlining act the Beach Boys.
Location: The West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol
Firepower: With fireworks exploding high above the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument and the rest of the National Mall, A Capitol Fourth offers some of the nation’s most highly photographed displays of patriotic pyrotechnics.
How to Watch: Live coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. ET on PBS.
Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular
Star Power: Folk-music firebrand Rhiannon Giddens shares the bill with the Indigo Girls, Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, Broadway leading lady Natalie Cortez and pop singer Rachel Platten.
Location: The Hatch Shell in Boston
Firepower: Boston’s 30-minute fireworks display will be accompanied by a live soundtrack from the Boston Pops, with a handful of appropriately countrified tunes – including Zac Brown Band’s “Roots” and Dolly Parton’s “Color Me America” – tossed into a patriotic setlist.
How to Watch: A two-day event, the Boston Pops event technically begins with an 8:00 p.m. concert on Tuesday, July 3rd. Network coverage begins the following day, with Bloomberg Television broadcasting the evening’s events.
Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th
Star Power: Hometown heroes Lady Antebellum, Chris Janson, Lucie Silvas and Andrew Combs are all lined up for Nashville’s fretwork-and-fireworks fiesta.
Location: Downtown Nashville, sandwiched between the honky-tonks of Lower Broadway
Firepower: The Nashville sky will light up for 30 minutes, thanks to 33,500 pounds and 60,000 individual shells of fireworks. With last year’s event drawing more than 240,000 onlookers, Nashville’s annual display of explosive patriotism is traditionally one of the largest in the country.
How to Watch: The fireworks display will be live-streamed at 9:30 pm on www.visitmusiccity.com/july4th, while a pair of Nashville-area radio stations – NASH ICON 95.5 and NASH FM 103.3 – will broadcast the headlining sets by Chris Janson, Lady Antebellum and the Nashville Symphony.
Fourth of July at the White House
Star Power: Thomas Jefferson was the first U.S. president to throw a July 4th party at the White House, kickstarting an annual tradition. This year, Sara Evans headlines the event. The evening will also include a pre-taped performance from Chris Janson, who teamed up with the U.S. Marine Band and the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters to perform two songs at the U.S. Marine barracks on Monday, July 2nd.
Location: The South Lawn of the White House
Firepower: None, although the fireworks display from the nearby Capitol Fourth celebration — less than two miles away on the National Mall — will be visible for those in attendance.
How to Watch: Tune in to the Hallmark Channel at 8:00 pm/ET.