Queen Latifah to headline the 2019 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular

Plus: How to watch and stream the show.

Fireworks shoot from the Hatch Shell as confetti falls during the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on the Esplanade.
Fireworks shoot from the Hatch Shell as confetti falls during the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on the Esplanade. –Associated Press

This year, Boston will celebrate the anniversary of our independence from the British monarchy on July 3 and 4 with a visit from a queen.

Grammy-, Emmy-, and Golden Globe-winning singer, rapper, and actress Queen Latifah will be the headliner for the 2019 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, joining conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops for a selection of hits from her diverse catalog.

In an interview with Boston.com, Lockhart praised Latifah as an “incredible singer” and said that she was “the right kind of big headliner for a big event like this.”

“We’ve been hoping to get Queen Latifah for Fourth of July for several years now, and this is the first year it has actually worked,” Lockhart said. “She performed with us at Symphony Hall in 2017 and really blew the doors off, so we’re really excited about that.”

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Along with Latifah, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular will feature folk singer-songwriter, storyteller, and Massachusetts resident Arlo Guthrie, who will take audiences back in time to the summer of ’69, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock with songs he performed at the legendary concert, plus other tunes from his lengthy discography. The show will also welcome two acts who rose to fame on “America’s Got Talent”: 16-year-old Massachusetts singer Amanda Mena, who was a semifinalist on the reality competition in 2018, and the Texas Tenors, the highest-ranking group in AGT’s 13-year history, according to a Boston Pops press release.

“Each year we try for a different manifestation of the same thing, and that is we try to put a diverse group on the stage, a group that is somehow reflective of the people who are listening to it,” Lockhart said of the four acts. “This year, we’ve got a Woodstock veteran and a 16-year-old among the headliners, so that’s a pretty good range right there.”

The free, public event will take place on the Esplanade on July 3 from 8 to 10:30 p.m. and July 4 from 8 to 11 p.m. A large viewing screen and sound tower will also be installed on the far side of the Charles River along Memorial Drive in Cambridge, and a large screen will be installed on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. As is tradition, the July 4 show will end with a 20-minute fireworks show accompanied by music from the Boston Pops and other popular music.

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“Massachusetts is once again thrilled to welcome visitors of all ages from across the country to celebrate our nation’s history at the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular,” Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said in the press release. “The Commonwealth is proud to support this family-friendly Independence Day tradition each year.”

For the third consecutive year, Boston-based global asset manager Eaton Vance will be the presenting sponsor of the Fireworks Spectacular, and Bloomberg will be a major sponsor and the event’s media partner. After an 11-year run with Liberty Mutual as the primary sponsor of the event ended following the 2015 Fireworks Spectacular, philanthropist and longtime organizer David Mugar footed the $2 million bill for the 2016 edition himself, before Eaton Vance and Bloomberg signed on for the 2017 show.

The July 4 show will air on Bloomberg TV and WHDH-TV from 8-11 p.m. and will be available for streaming on Bloomberg.com, as well as on Bloomberg’s mobile and OTT platforms across Apple TV, according to a press release. Bloomberg anchors Alix Steel and Carol Massar will co-host the live concert and broadcast, with additional reporting by fellow Bloomberg anchor Matt Miller. For the digital streams, coverage will be led by Bloomberg anchor Janet Wu.