The 41st annual “A Capitol Fourth” concert airs this Sunday at 8 p.m. on PBS.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there won’t be a traditional live concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Instead, host Vanessa Williams will introduce newly pre-taped performances from locations across the country, as well as some special live moments.
Jimmy Buffett headlines with a rendition of Woody Guthrie’s 1944 folk anthem “This Land is Your Land,” taped in Southern California overlooking the Pacific Ocean with clips of scenes from the Golden Gate Bridge, the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty.
“I have always been a big admirer of Woody Guthrie’s, his simple songs and poignant lyrics,” Buffett said. “They were some of the first songs I learned to play. I have been lucky enough to travel this land and think it is the best song that encapsulates what America means and is.”
Buffett’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” pal, Alan Jackson, will perform from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Jackson recently performed his 9/11 tribute “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” at the National Memorial Day Concert.
Four-time Grammy winner Renée Fleming will open the show with the national anthem.
Tony, Emmy and Grammy winner Cynthia Erivo will perform from Southern California, just days after headlining Wolf Trap’s 50th anniversary concert on Thursday night.
Soul legend Gladys Knight will return after performing “Wind Beneath My Wings” at the National Memorial Day Concert and “We Shall Be Free” at the Kennedy Center Honors. Likewise, Jimmie Allen will perform after his Kennedy Center tribute to Garth Brooks.
“Moana” star Auli’i Cravalho will perform “A Whole New World” from “Aladdin” at the Unisphere in Queens, New York, while Mickey Guyton will sing “Without a Net” after recently singing the national anthem at the National Memorial Day Concert.
“Hamilton” alum Christopher Jackson will perform “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” one of several Broadway stars featured in the broadcast, from Ali Stroker to Laura Osnes.
Pop group Pentatonix will perform overlooking the downtown Los Angeles skyline.
Train will perform overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles will perform at the famed Town Hall in Times Square.
Even Kermit the Frog will celebrate America’s 245th birthday with a special performance.
You’ll also see a message from three NASA astronauts on the International Space Station: Robert Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur and Mark T. Vande Hei.
Jack Everly will conduct the National Symphony Orchestra in a performance of John Williams’ “Olympic Fanfare” to inspire Team USA at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
It all culminates with the annual fireworks display over D.C. monuments.
“’A Capitol Fourth’ will bring us together showcasing themes of love, hope, unity and patriotism from around our great nation,” Executive Producer Michael Colbert said.