- Presented By: City of Houston
- Dates: July 4, 2020
- Location: Online & broadcast LIVE on ABC13
- Time: 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM
- Price: Free
- Admission: Free
- Area of Town: Downtown
- Free Admission: Yes
Houston’s signature patriotic celebration is back with a 2020 approach. Shell Freedom Over Texas will featurea vigorous line up of live and virtual entertainers via broadcast and live streaming on Saturday, July 4th. Mayor Sylvester Turner’s mission is to uphold the health and safety of all Houstonians. This year, guests will not gather for the annual festival on Buffalo Bayou in Eleanor Tinsley and Sam Houston Parks, but will honor the City’s cherished tradition under a new format.
"We will celebrate Houston's diversity and America's Freedom at the city's signature Independence Day event in a new way," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. "This is an opportunity for us to recognize our community for its perseverance through the ongoing pandemic. I am personally grateful to our NEW title sponsor, Shell Oil Company, and NEW fireworks sponsor, Reliant. Their support means we can also honor organizations that have been on the frontlines during the health crisis. I am also grateful for our returning annual sponsors Walmart, Dr. Pepper, and Bud Light Seltzer, who continue to support this important community event."
The evening will kick off with a patriotic tribute by the Houston Symphony, followed by performances with guest artists Houston rappers, humanitarians and philanthropists, Bun B and Trae Tha Truth, nationally acclaimed mariachi band Mariachi Imperial De America, andHouston sibling Norteño trio Los Luzeros De Rioverde.
Headlining the diverse evening of musical entertainment is three-time, Grammy-nominated Texas country music icon, singer/songwriter Pat Green who is also performing LIVE with the Houston Symphony. An influential modern star in Texas country music, Green’s talent is undeniable with contagious anthems including, “Wave On Wave,” “Songs About Texas,” “Baby Doll,” “Let Me,” and most recently, “Girls From Texas,” featuring Lyle Lovett off his latest album release, HOME.
“Shell has a history of partnership and volunteerism in our Houston area community and is proud to join with the City and fellow Houstonians in celebration of Freedom Over Texas on July 4th – a day that marks the birth and independence of our Nation, and has come to symbolize freedom, hope and challenges overcome,” said Gretchen Watkins, Shell Oil Company president. “It’s also a reminder that together, we can continue to create a supportive, world-class community – one that promotes care and equality.”
Local and regional favorites will join the show with virtual appearances by:
Lyle Lovett – Legendary four-time Grammy Award-winning country music singer/songwriter
Josh Turner – Award winning American country and gospel singer known for hits “Your Man” and “Why Don’t We Just Dance” and 2015 Freedom Over Texas headliner
La Mafia –Houston’s ownfour-time Grammy Award-winning Latin group, celebrating their 40th anniversary
Throwback tributes from past Freedom Over Texas performers include:
Hunter Hayes – 2017 appearance and CMA Award-winning artist
Sara Evans – 2012 headliner and Grammy Award-winning country artist
For the fifth year, Walmart and Dr Pepper have partnered with the Military Warriors Support Foundation to give a home to a deserving combat-wounded veteran during the broadcast.
“Miller Outdoor Theatre has been the Houston Symphony’s Summer home for nearly 80 years,” said Houston Symphony Executive Director, CEO, and holder of the Margaret Alkek Williams Chair John Mangum, “and we’ve been performing on the 4th of July at Miller since the mid-'80s. While so much seems uncertain in the midst of this pandemic, we’re happy and proud at the Symphony to partner with the Mayor's Office of Special Events and ABC13 to ensure that our city will have a great 4th of July celebration, and I look forward to the time when the Symphony can be back at Miller, hopefully sooner rather than later."
No July 4th is complete without fireworks. Thanks to new sponsor, Reliant, the evening will culminate in fireworks finale that can be seen on ABC13 or in the skies near downtown with Cox Media radio stations simulcasting the music.
Each year Freedom Over Texas donates a portion of the proceeds to the Houston Food Bank. This year, we will feature a “Text to Give” campaign to benefit the food bank and initiatives to help close the digital divide.
The 2020 Shell Freedom Over Texas fireworks show will get an elevation boost this year, with fireworks reaching 800 feet, almost doubling the height of the traditional show, for more to enjoy from further away. Eleanor Tinsley at Buffalo Bayou Park and Sam Houston Parks, the customary day-long festival location, will be closed to the public this year along with nearby roadways and trailheads to ensure the utmost safety. There will be no public activities and no public access.
"The city of Houston will celebrate freedom this year, but out of an abundance of caution during the COVID-19 pandemic, we want people to stay home and watch the fireworks. The virtual celebration will include a dazzling display of red, white, and blue as we reflect on the history of our country and the challenging events of 2020. Let us never forget what it means to be in the land of the free and the home of the brave. We are #HoustonStrong," said Mayor Sylvester Turner.
“Sadly, for the first time in the history of the event, the public is not invited to the park for our annual Fourth of July celebration. Out of concern for public safety we are not producing our traditional grand festival,” said Susan Christian, Director, Mayor’s Office of Special Events and event producer. “However, we have repositioned and elevated our fireworks launch so that more Houstonians can celebrate America’s birthday from afar. If you can see the skyline from the west, you’ll be able to view the spectacular show planned for this year - join us from your backyard, balcony, parking lots, car or from the comfort of home with our televised spectacular on ABC13.”
Private fireworks and backyard displays are illegal within the Houston city limits. “The city’s professional pyrotechnical display will outshine any homebased effort, so stay safe, stay home and let us do the work,” added Christian.
Shell Freedom Over Texas will feature a line-up of live and virtual entertainers via broadcast and live streaming on Saturday, July 4th from 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Mayor Sylvester Turner’s mission is to uphold the health and safety of all Houstonians. This year, guests will not gather for the annual festival on Buffalo Bayou in Eleanor Tinsley and Sam Houston Parks, but will honor the City’s cherished tradition under a new format, a blend of live, virtual and pre-recorded performances reflective of the diversity of Houston including Country, Pop, Latin, Hip-Hop and Rap, broadcast LIVE on ABC13. Cox Media Group radio stations will also simulcast the fireworks music soundtrack.
To accommodate a larger fallout zone for a larger fireworks show, Memorial Drive and Allen Parkway will be closed as follows:
Friday, July 3, 4:00 p.m. to Sunday, July 5, 2020 11:59 p.m.
- Metered Parking along Buffalo Bayou Park between Sabine Street and Taft Street Block 600-1900
Saturday, July 4, 7:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.
- Allen Parkway north and southbound exit ramps from I-45 (South and North Freeways)
- Allen Parkway inbound and outbound between Taft and Bagby St.
- Walker Street split at Allen Parkway outbound
- Heiner Street at West Dallas St
- Crosby Street at Allen Parkway inbound
- Park Vista Dr. at Allen Parkway inbound
- Gillette Street at Allen Parkway inbound
- Taft Street at Allen Parkway inbound
- Memorial Dr. inbound and outbound between Shepherd Dr. and Bagby St.
- Sabine at the Sabine bridge at Allen Parkway outbound
- Westbound N Memorial Way entrance ramp between Trinity and Sabine