4th of July 2017: Where to Enjoy the Most Fireworks and the Least Sousa

I have always had an aversion to old-school patriotic music. Other than the theme song for Monty Python’s Flying Circus, John Philip Sousa’s marches makes me crazy. As a result, I seek out places that aren’t advertising something like “A Salute to America” or “A Patriotic Jubilee.” The live bands at concert venues this 4th of July aren’t as impressive as in years past, consisting primarily of cover bands, but you won’t have to listen to “Stars and Stripes Forever”, so consider yourselves lucky. There are a lot of big festivals this year in addition to the traditional fireworks displays by places like Dodger Stadium and the Queen Mary.


3-Day July 4th Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl with Pentatonix

(July 2, 3, 4) 7:30 pm

Celebrate Independence Day with three-time Grammy®-winning a cappella group Pentatonix, whose hits include arrangements of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.” The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra joins the multi-platinum-selling recording artists for three spectacular evenings of patriotic music, thrilling fireworks and fun! Half off for kids 12 and under.

Starlight Bowl in Burbank

6:30pm / $20 – $140

The Starlight Bowl in Burbank presents a 4th of July concert featuring 4-man vocal group, The Company Men. They do mash-ups of modern songs with classics in a 90-minute show titled “A Night of Hits.” Also getting you in the groove will be Grooveline, a  dance party band with choreographed routines set to hits of the 80s as well as disco and modern top 40.

WAY more listings after the break


4th of July Block Party at Grand Park

2pm – 9:30pm/ FREE

The Block Party is a free event brought to you by Grand Park and the Music Center, featuring two stages of live music, food and an incredible fireworks display launched from the civic center skyline. L.A.-based talent includes live bands playing jazz, funk and hip-hop. The Backyard stage will feature the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and the Angel City All-star Brass band, both of which might play some patriotic music. You have been warned. This is an alcohol-free event (There are bars like The Redwood around, though). Picnics and outside food are welcome, but no outside beverages. No folding chairs, large coolers or alcohol.

Americafest at the Rose Bowl Stadium

2pm / $15 – $30

On Saturday, July 4, the world-famous Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena hosts its 91st annual Fourth of July celebration, Americafest. The festival starts at 2 p.m. outside the stadium with food and games for kids in Area H. Gates open at 6pm. I know that I told you I would avoid places with cheesy names like Americafest, but the show will include live motorcycle stunts and insane fireworks at 9pm. Unfortunately you will have to listen to Souza, unless you park nearby and crank Hendrix’s Star-Spangled Banner.

July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza – Warner Center Park 

6pm / FREE

VCC’s July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza delights over 60,000 people with their 20-minute spectacular fireworks display. There are over 20 food vendors, along with arts and crafts vendors and a play area. Although the event is free, for safety the park will be secured with 8 specific points of entry. Expect to pay for parking, and bring cash for vendors. They don’t say anything about”patriotic music” but maybe you can suss out the Souza in this description from the website: James Domine will lead the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra in a July 4th spectacular concert entitled Made in the USA featuring all-American favorites from the Broadway, Jazz and Rock music repertoires in addition to some of the world’s best-loved classical encores.

Pacific Palisades Parade and Concert

2pm / $10 – $15

Get there ten minutes early if you want to catch the skydivers! The parade will follow Via de la Paz to Sunset Boulevard, then go east on Sunset to Drummond Street. Food trucks will be serving all day. After the parade, there will be a concert and fireworks at the baseball field of Palisades High School. “Bring blankets or low beach chairs without stick legs so not to block the view of other concert-goers, and to help preserve the field surface.” Tickets for the concert are $10, free for ages 6 and younger, and $50 for VIP grandstand seats. A variety of original and cover bands will perform blues, classic rock and “alternative rock.” Patriotic music will be performed by the Palisades High School Charter Band from 6pm until 6:30 if you want to take a break. Fireworks at 9 p.m. Palisades Charter High School, 15777 Bowdoin Street, Pacific Palisades 90272.

Marina del Rey Waterfront Fireworks

9pm / FREE

In Marina del Rey, fireworks will be launched from a floating barge located in the waters of the main channel between Fisherman’s Village and the Breakwater. If you have a boat, or a good friend with a boat, you are all set. Boats are allowed to idle in the main channel (no anchoring). Best viewing spots on land include Fisherman’s Village (13755 Fiji Way), Burton Chace Park (13650 Mindanao Way), and Marina (Mother’s) Beach at 4101 Admiralty Way. Check the website for info on parking and street closures.

Culver City Fireworks

4pm / $5

Picnic, enjoy the music of cover band “Rebel Rebel” and view the Fireworks from the WLAC Baseball & Practice Fields. The celebration will include play areas for the kids and food trucks, Including favorites like Cousin’s Maine Lobster and CJ’s Wings. No pets, no alcohol. Up to $20 for parking. PEDESTRIANS enter at Overland. CARS enter at Jefferson. West Los Angeles College is at 9000 Overland Avenue (near Jefferson), Culver City, CA 90230.


July 4th Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain

10am & 10:30am / $72.99

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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3 Responses to 4th of July 2017: Where to Enjoy the Most Fireworks and the Least Sousa

  1. Linda Trevillian says:

    Sad that some people don’t enjoy our patriotic songs on our nation’s birthday, especially Sousa. They are the most appropriate do the occasion. You can hear the usual other stuff any day, any night, any time. I guess that for those people, July 4, our Independence Day, is just another holiday to get loud and drunk.

    • Ellen Topping says:

      This list is not for you. There are plenty of options for you everywhere else.

    • Musical preferences do not dictate behavior. Or patriotism. These events are family-friendly and most of them don’t allow alcohol. Did you even read the post before deciding I’m a commie alcoholic?

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