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A Capitol Fourth

A Capitol Fourth

  • Premiered: 
    July 4, 1981
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: PBS
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Special, Annual
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Holiday
  • Tags: Independence Day/4th of July

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Plot Synopsis

Each year since 1981, PBS has broadcast the Independence Day celebration on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, with fireworks, a live performance by the National Symphony Orchestra, and musical numbers by world-renowned guest musicians and singers. The celebration ends with a rousing rendition of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," complete with live cannon fire provided by the United States Army Presidential Salute Battery.
In 2019, PBS aired A CAPITOL FOURTH live on Thursday, July 4, 2019 from 8-9:30pm ET (live)/PT (tape), with John Stamos hosting for the third time. The country's longest-running live national July 4 TV tradition features all-star musical performances by Grammy Award-winning music legend Carole King with the Broadway cast of the Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning musical BEAUTIFUL starring Vanessa Carlton; multi-award winning electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling; acclaimed Tony-nominated singer-songwriter and actress Keala Settle (THE GREATEST SHOWMAN); multi-platinum recording artist and star of television, film and the Broadway stage Vanessa Williams; double ACM winner, CMA and Grammy nominee with more than 12 million in RIAA certified sales and early member of Pandora's Billionaires Club Lee Brice; Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum-selling singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat with her new band Gone West; five-time Grammy Award-winning Gospel vocalist extraordinaire Yolanda Adams; 2019 AMERICAN IDOL winner Laine Hardy; Broadway star and two-time Tony Award nominee Laura Osnes (BANDSTAND); singing sensation Angelica Hale (AMERICA'S GOT TALENT); Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's and R&B legends The O'Jays; and this year's winner of THE VOICE (Season 16), Maelyn Jarmon, performing the "National Anthem;" with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly.

The concert also features a special treat for the entire family, with Big Bird, Abby Cadabby, Rosita, Elmo, Grover, Bert & Ernie from SESAME STREET on hand to celebrate America's birthday. The Sesame Street Muppets perform a musical medley of patriotic favorites and iconic songs from the groundbreaking children's television series, currently celebrating a landmark 50 years of learning and fun.

And, the concert pays tribute to our men and women in uniform with a special performance by the MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band and John Stamos. MusiCorps is a conservatory-level music rehabilitation program, formed in response to the needs of service members injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2007, the program has become a pioneer in the field of adaptive music and has helped countless wounded warriors in their recovery.

A CAPITOL FOURTH aired live to troops around the world via American Forces Network, and for the second time ever, the broadcast was live-streamed online on YouTube, Facebook, and


Other Titles

  • Previously known as A Capitol Fourth with the National Symphony


  • - Washington D.C., Washington D.C. USA