Stadium of Fire to celebrate American values

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Audience members watch the evening firework show during the 2014 Stadium of Fire program at Lavell Edwards Stadium. (Elliott Miller)
Audience members watch the evening firework show during the 2014 Stadium of Fire program at Lavell Edwards Stadium. (Elliott Miller)

The Freedom Festival will host its 36th annual Stadium of Fire celebration this year on July 2 at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The celebration will feature country music icon Tim McGraw and the largest stadium fireworks show in America.

Each year, the Freedom Festival hosts a three-day Fourth of July event dedicated to celebrating America’s freedom. The Provo event includes live entertainment, art exhibits, food, carnivals, a parade and more. The Stadium of Fire is the Freedom Festival’s culminating attraction and has earned its title as one of the largest Fourth of July celebrations in America.

“For this year’s Stadium of Fire we’re focusing on a patriotic theme; that this is a great country to live in,” Freedom Festival Executive Director Paul Warner said. “There will be skydivers that come in, flag girls that dance, flag guards, choirs singing, the national anthem, the pledge of allegiance and just an upbeat time of gratitude. There will also be twenty minutes of pretty spectacular fireworks. And of course, Tim McGraw.”

Three-time Grammy Award winner Tim McGraw is a well-known pillar within the country music world and currently boasts the highest-grossing tour in country music history, as well as 32 No. 1 singles. His hits include popular songs like “Humble and Kind,” “Live Like You Were Dying” and “Something Like That.”

“I think this will be one of our best years yet because his music fits Utah County. ‘Live Like You Were Dying,’ ‘Humble and Kind’ — it fits the culture and the values here,” Warner said.

In addition to Tim McGraw, the celebration will include a performance by the winners of the Stadium of Fire’s Talent Competition, which has been known to aid up-and-coming artists in their search for national fame. Past winners of the competition include Imagine Dragons, The Voice’s Amy Whitcome and local band We Are The Strike.

A choir of BYU students will serve as backup singers for some of the artists and will also sing their own numbers.

“I’ve really enjoyed being part of it all,” choir member and BYU alumnus Joshua Guest said. “The songs are very energetic and I think that they’ll really inspire the crowd and get them excited about the Fourth of July.”

It appears that ticket sales have already captured this enthusiasm. 9,000 more tickets were sold by June of this year than June of last year, according to Warner.

“Coming from Mexico, I’ve found that the Fourth of July is a pretty awesome holiday, and the Stadium of Fire adds to the spirit of the celebration,” BYU student Arturo Leon said. “The focus is on the soldiers defending the country and supporting them. It focuses on family and . . . the good America has done, the values that make it strong. It reminds us of honor, God, family and friends.”

The performance will be broadcast worldwide to US troops and their families on American Forces TV, while many local residents will gather outside the LaVell Edwards stadium or on Y Mountain to listen to the music and see the fireworks.

The entire Freedom Festival lasts from July 1 until July 4. The Stadium of Fire begins at 8 p.m. on July 2.

Nearly all parking lots on campus will be open three hours before the event and will be available for event parking.

Those interested in purchasing tickets can visit the Freedom festival website.  Prices start at $35. Stadium of Fire is also in need of volunteers, use this link to sign up.

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