PROVO — The first "American Idol" winner and two Canadian groups will headline one of America’s biggest birthday parties this summer.
Kelly Clarkson, Carly Rae Jepsen and Cirque du Soleil will perform at Provo’s July Fourth Stadium of Fire celebration, organizers announced Thursday. The artists will perform in front of up to 64,000 spectators at LaVell Edwards Stadium and via broadcast to an additional 1 million U.S. troops around the world on the American Forces Network.
“We’re performing for millions on TV,” said Paul Warner, executive director of America’s Freedom Festival, which is hosting the event. “We have to keep it tight and fast paced, but that works great for us.”
It usually takes several months of planning to find artists who can commit to the venue in advance, said Stadium of Fire spokesman Emory Cook. The Fourth of July is a difficult day to nail down, he said. Jepsen was the first to agree to the gig, and Clarkson and acrobatic circus group Cirque du Soleil got on board just earlier this month.
“There are so many phone calls and so many things that go into this that people have no idea,” Cook said. “It’s a yearlong process. We do everything we can to find the right artists who also happen to be available and willing.”
Clarkson became famous in 2002 when she won the debut season of "American Idol" and his since won multiple Grammys for her music in her "Breakaway" and "Stronger" albums. Jepsen was relatively unknown before 2012 when she hit it big with her "Call Me Maybe" single, which became the best-selling single in the world in 2012. Cirque du Soleil are known for their theatrical acrobat stunts and have won several Primetime Emmys and Grammys for their shows in Las Vegas.
“The work of all three of these groups reflects a positivity, which is something that was important to us,” said Alan Osmond, who initially founded Stadium of Fire 33 years ago and now serves on the board of directors. “We have a reputation for being a real celebration (rather than just a performance) and we wanted to keep that up. We feel like we’ve landed a couple of good ones.”
Public figures such as Miley Cyrus, Glenn Beck, the Blue Man Group and the Beach Boys have performed or narrated at the Stadium of Fire in recent years. The Stadium of Fire typically serves as an encore for Fourth of July celebrations in Provo, where 300,000 onlookers attend an Independence Day parade in the morning. The finishing touches are still being put on the nighttime entertainment, according to Warner.
“We’re bringing skydivers back this year, and we’re working on hopefully getting a (fighter jet) flyover,” he said.
Tickets to Stadium of Fire go on sale April 3 at 8 a.m. They can be purchased at stadiumoffire.com, byutickets.com or in person at the BYU Marriott Center ticket office.