Downtown Houston 4th Of July Celebration Will Go Virtual Again In 2021

Houstonians can view the fireworks live from nearby parks, but like last year, Mayor Sylvester Turner said the public will not be able to physically watch the live music acts downtown.

Fireworks over Houston, Texas.

Houston’s Fourth of July event, Freedom Over Texas, will look different for the second consecutive year due to the pandemic.

Like last year, the show will be broadcast live on ABC 13, and available for streaming. But Mayor Sylvester Turner said the public will not be able to physically watch the live music acts.

“Fifty percent of Houstonians vaccinated is not enough,” Turner said. “We need more people to get vaccinated before we really kind of get back to business as normal. Fifty percent won’t do it. We need more and more.”

The in-person event was postponed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a concert including several musical acts such as the Houston Symphony Orchestra streamed virtually in its place.

This year's concert celebration will again be televised and streamed online on ABC 13. Singer-songwriter Lee Brice will headline the show, which also includes Jimmie Allen, Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers, Alanis Sophia Sanchez and others.

In March, President Joe Biden set a July 4 goal for the country to return to some form of normalcy, amid an increased push for vaccinations. Nearly 55% of Harris County residents 12 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, according to state health data.

But despite the ease of COVID-19 protocols and fewer restrictions, the traditional festival format, which was normally held along Buffalo Bayou Park, will be postponed until at least next year. As the city of Houston continues to open back up, Turner said he hoped to see the return of fully functional city events by this fall.

Turner did announce that spectators will be able to attend the firework show from several parks in the Houston area, including Eleanor Tinsley Park, which will be available to the public. The city typically brings in four stages and five entertainment zones for a projected crowd of 50,000 people.

“While I wish we could hold a huge Fourth of July celebration downtown, we're not just yet there,” Turner said. “It takes time to move forward and we're going to do so the best we can.”