The XP Guide: July 2024

Photo by Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images

We’re deep into the dog days of summer now. School is out; heat waves are setting records, and our inboxes are flooded with OOO auto replies. As we gear up for the Fourth of July and all that comes with it — cookouts, pool days, beach trips, and parades — cities around the country, including Salt Lake City, Boulder, and Santa Monica, are replacing traditional fireworks with drone shows, citing their environmental impact and harm for animals. But don’t worry. There’s still plenty of excitement for your long weekend. Famed competitive eater Joey Chestnut was banned from this year’s Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest (he ate 62 hot dogs and buns last year), so who will take the title this year?

Keep reading for experiential inspiration from the biggest happenings this month — and check out how XP Land XLISTERS are involved in everything from Slash’s first annual S.E.R.P.E.N.T Blues Festival Tour to the 30th edition of Essence Fest.

FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVITIES 

Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage for Shock Ink

The Sphere’s First Anniversary: July 4; Las Vegas

The Sphere, celebrating its first anniversary on July 4, announced a special Independence Day show featuring a six-act performance synchronized to music on the Exosphere. Additionally, it will introduce two new features: XO Audio, which syncs custom audio to Exosphere content, and XO Stream, a 24/7 live stream available on its website. The event will include performances at 9:30 pm and 11:40 pm, featuring a fireworks display, a tribute to Nevada’s history, highlights from the past year and a pre-show ceremony showcasing student artwork from the Sphere’s design challenge.

Macy’s Fourth of July Spectacular: July 4; NYC

New York City celebrates America’s birthday with events across the five boroughs, including Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest, fireworks at Coney Island in Brooklyn, and a historic parade in Travis, Staten Island. The highlight is Macy’s Fourth of July Spectacular, featuring over 65,000 fireworks shells launched from five barges on the Hudson River starting at 9:30 pm. This year, viewers should head west between 14th and 34th streets in Manhattan — Macy’s even shared prime viewing locations — as the show has moved from its usual East River location.

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic: July 4; Camden, NJ

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic is coming to the Philadelphia region this summer, held at the Freedom Mortgage Pavilion. The star-studded lineup includes Willie Nelson & Family, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Maren Morris, Mavis Staples and Celisse. This marks the first time the event, traditionally held in Texas since its inception in 1973, will be hosted in this area, bringing together live music, food, and drinks to celebrate America’s birthday.

Lake Tahoe Drone Sky Show: July 4; Lake Tahoe, CA

In 2024, Tahoe City will host the largest drone light show at Lake Tahoe, featuring 300 drones above the water. The show will be free and family-friendly, with DJs throughout the day, and will take place from noon to 10 p.m. at Commons Beach. The drones will be visible from Tahoe City’s shores and boats on the water and will feature a variety of explosive formations and musical sounds. The community has embraced an eco-friendly approach to protecting the lake, and the drones will leave no trace behind.

FESTIVALS

Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Netflix

Essence Festival of Culture: July 4-7; New Orleans

Known as a “party with a purpose,” Essence Festival attracts hundreds of thousands of New Orleans visitors yearly. The festival promotes and explores health, wellness, spirituality, beauty, food, community, culture, entertainment, and entrepreneurship within the Black community. Returning to celebrate its 30th anniversary with the theme “Loving on Us,” headliners include Janet Jackson, Charlie Wilson, Usher, Birdman & Friends, XLISTER Derrick “D-Nice” Jones and more. The festival offers panel discussions, shopping, meet-and-greets, and nonstop live music.

S.E.R.P.E.N.T Blues Festival Tour: July 5; Bozeman, MT and various locations

The S.E.R.P.E.N.T Festival, a blues tour extravaganza curated by Slash, will feature legends like Kingfish, Samantha Fish, Keb Mo, Warren Haynes, Eric Gales and Larkin Poe. The festival, which stands for Solidarity, Engagement, Restore, Peace, Equality, N’, Tolerance, supports various charities, with every ticket sold contributing to causes that promote peace, equality, and tolerance. One of those organizations is the Know Your Rights Campaign, including activist, Head of Development at Kaepernick Endeavors and XLISTER, Tony Ng. 

Pitchfork Music Festival: July 19-21; Chicago

The annual Pitchfork Music Festival has been a Chicago staple since 2005 and highlights hip-hop, folk-rock, alternative and other up-and-coming artists. Over the years Pitchfork has presented such prominent names as Bjork, Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Brian Wilson, Solange and Ms. Lauryn Hill. This year’s event will take place at Union Park, with over 40 performers, including headliners Black Pumas, Jamie xx, and Alanis Morissette, plus Jai Paul, Carly Rae Jepsen, Brittany Howard, 100 gecs, Jessie Ware and MUNA. 

SPORTS

Photo courtesy Paris 2024

Wimbledon Championships: July 1-14; London

Wimbledon, the world’s oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament, known for its grass courts and rich traditions, will hold its 137th edition at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club beginning July 1. Over two weeks, 675 tennis matches will be played on 19 courts, including 2023’s defending champions, 21-year-old Carlos Alcaraz and 24-year-old Markéta Vondroušová. 

Major League Baseball All-Star Weekend: July 12-16; Arlington, TX

The reigning World Series Champions, the Texas Rangers, will host the 94th edition of the MLB All-Star Game at Globe Life Field. The starting rosters for each league’s position players were determined by fan balloting, with second-phase voting open through July 3 on MLB.com or via the MLB app. Other prominent events throughout the weekend include the All-Star Futures Game and All-Star Celebrity Softball on July 13 and the T-Mobile Home Run Derby and Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 15.

Brickyard 400: July 21; Indianapolis, IN

NASCAR’s return to the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval for the 2024 Brickyard 400 brings back the three-day schedule, a standard format for most NASCAR Cup Series races until recent years. From 1994-2020, the Brickyard 400 was a significant event at IMS, but it shifted to the road course for the past three years due to declining interest. Fans and drivers advocated for the return to the oval, and the upcoming Brickyard Weekend on July 19-21 will feature three days of on-track action for both the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series.

The Paris 2024 Summer Olympics: July 26-Aug 11; Paris

The Summer Olympics — themed “Games wide open!”— aims to showcase France’s iconic offerings while being more responsible, inclusive and spectacular than ever, with 95% of venues already existing or temporary and powered by renewable energy. Marking the first Olympic Games to achieve gender equality, with 50% female athletes, the event will feature 10,000 athletes in 329 medal events, including new additions like breaking (aka breakdancing). It will kick off with a unique city-center Opening Ceremony along the Seine. Held across 35 venues in Paris and surrounding areas, including two new permanent structures, the Games will also host the surfing competition in Tahiti, the farthest medal event from the host city in history.

THEATER

Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage

Barbie The Movie: In Concert: Opens July 2; Tampa, FL and various locations

Barbie’s experiential reign, under the leadership of Mattel, Inc.’s EVP, Chief Brand Officer and XLISTER, Lisa McKnight, continues over a year after its theatrical release. The film will be shown accompanied by a live score performed by Macy Schmidt and the Barbie Land Sinfonietta — an all-women and majority women of color orchestra. The tour starts on July 2 in Tampa and concludes on August 17-18 in NYC.

Duel Reality (On Tour): July 6-Aug 4; San Diego

Love, honor, and betrayal are vividly portrayed through acrobatics, theater, and music in this one-act performance from Shana Carroll, the founding director of The 7 Fingers and XLISTER. Two feuding families compete in increasingly daring challenges, cheered on by their respective sides of the audience, while a pair of star-crossed lovers try to escape the conflict.

Join us in XP Land. A community for experiential creatives and experience-makers, brand leaders and IP-owners, space stewards and venue visionaries — all of those in the business of epic gatherings and live, immersive storytelling.

Welcome To
Experiential Is Everything

XP Land is for experiential creatives and experience-makers, brand leaders, and IP-owners, space stewards and venue visionaries — all those in the business of epic gatherings and live, immersive storytelling.