I’m Going to Have It out with the Welcome America Guy

Philly Mag’s Victor Fiorillo spoke to Welcome America CEO Jeff Guaracino – more on that title in a second – about the clustershitcabaret that was the Wawa Welcome America Parade and fireworks. Among the issues raised by viewers and ME, are:

  • The horrible NBC 10 coverage of the event, which was not live from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m, in Philly, on the Fourth of July, a day for celebrating an event that happened in, you guessed it, Philly
  • The lack of anything even remotely resembling a celebrity or know musical act during the concert
  • The decision not to have The Roots perform, as is tradition
  • The decision to pull the Philly Pops, the only worthwhile element of the already shittily-booked concert

Here is the link to the full interview. I’m providing that because I’m about to excerpt pretty much the whole damn thing for the sake of tearing Guaracino a new one:

Here, Welcome America CEO Jeff Guaracino — a/k/a the man in charge of all of our 4th of July festivities — responds.

Wait, this can’t be real. Welcome America has a CEO? Like first off that’s most ridiculous title ever for a guy who plans a single annual event that’s not the Super Bowl or Oscars. People who give themselves “President,” “CEO,” “COO,” and “Sr. VP” titles for enterprises that have no prospects of generating at least $100 million in annual revenue are frauds or douches (often both), especially if it’s for a government job. You’re not a CEO– you’re a director, founder, owner, manager. Get over yourself. Second, there’s no way planning a shitty week-long festival is an all-year-long job, right? RIGHT?!

From Philly Business Journal:

Voila_Capture 2016-07-06_11-34-43_AM

OH GOD DAMMIT IT IS. What does he do the other 357 days the city is not welcoming the country during the eight-day event? How many free meals do you think he eats per year on the taxpayers’ dime, wining and dining potential sponsors? Let’s move on.


There was a lot of confusion over the television coverage. You moved it from Channel 6 to NBC10, and the broadcast was earlier than normal. If someone tuned in at 8 p.m., all they saw was a concert in New York. Some people think that there was no TV coverage.

This deal was inked with Comcast-NBC, and they already had an 8 p.m. show from New York scheduled, one that they’ve been doing for years. So we started early.

Translation: We inked a deal with a broadcast network that already had something to broadcast during prime viewing hours, but fuck it, Comcast, those self-interested whores who are literally more interested in a few extra ad bucks than in televising live the one event actually relevant to the city it calls home, paid us more. I’m here to make money for Welcome America Inc., whatever that is, not to provide the citizens with a compelling product celebrating the birth of the greatest nation in the history of structurally definable civilization. New York takes precedent.


So the whole concert was on TV — it was just on earlier?

Yes, everything that was promised to be on was on, from Leslie Odom to Leon Bridges to the TSOP tribute. And it all started with the national anthem.

And keep in mind that it was not only on TV but it was on in two languages, because don’t forget that Telemundo carried it as well. And it was streamed live, too.

Haha– OK no one knows who those people are. It started with the National Anthem. Um, congrats? Way to think outside-the-box? Good for you for including that obvious element in the broadcast no one saw? Glad they’re paying you the big bucks, CEO! Because don’t forget that Telemundo carried it was well. I’m just going to ignore this. But I’d like to present this quote to Donald Trump, just for fun.


The Philly Pops were scheduled to play at 8 p.m., which is when the broadcast switched to New York’s concert. Based on what you’re saying, the Pops were never supposed to be on the broadcast?

Right. The Pops can’t be broadcast because their contract makes it cost-prohibitive. It wouldn’t be financially feasible to do it.

WHAT?!?! Welcome America has enough of a budget to employ a “CEO,” but it can’t afford to live broadcast THE PHILLY POPS? Since when did THE PHILLY POPS become the Rolling Stones? Never mind that THE PHILLY POPS won’t cut PHILLY a hometown discount for the fucking Fourth of July, you mean to tell me that the line for live broadcast entertainment for a Philly concert celebrating the birth of America, in Philly, is THE PHILLY, FUCKING, POPS? I hate this city sometimes. New York, thanks to sponsor Macys, turned out Pitbull (hate him, fine, but he’s expensive) and Megan Trainor, both Grammy winners. Boston turned out, and live broadcast – you’re not going to believe this – THE BOSTON POPS. If only Philly had a big corporate backer that could also broadcast the event:

Voila_Capture 2016-06-27_09-14-33_PM


Still, I’m souring on the Philly Pops. Where do they get off…


But in the end, the Pops concert never even happened, is that right?

They cancelled due to safety. The rain was coming down sideways. I’m sure they wanted to do it. You don’t pull all those musicians together and then just not do it. There were all the expensive violins. And the harp. The harp needed its own car.



Any chance you’ll bring the Roots back for that?

We’ve made some big shifts, but we still have a great relationship with the Roots. I think this year we were both family-appropriate and hip. But weather is the ultimate determination of everything, whether it’s indoors or outdoors.

And hip.


All I can say for sure is that July 4th will happen next year. It’s happened every year since 1776.

No thanks to you, Jackass.

Someone convene a summit with Ben Franklin, Jim Gardner, and the consortium of local department store heads. They’ll right this ship, and they won’t need a full year (!) to do so.

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35 Responses

  1. Nice to see Vic Fiorillo do something productive for a change

    Wasn’t he the bozo who incorrectly said someone was getting divorced?

    And — his monthly “INSIDER” blurbs in the print version of the fishwrap (Philly Mag)
    are always AWFUL. Nothing legit or important. Last month he talked
    about Erin Elmore- like anyone gives a crap about her

    1. This was actually a pretty good article once I read it Kyle, sorry for making fun of you.

  2. Why does a man in his early 30’s give a rats ass about Welcome America? Who the hell cares.

  3. Jesus H., another post about this 4th of July NBC Philly coverage nonsense? Who the fuck cares?

    1. Only a loser would be watching this shit on TV on Independence Day to begin with. Real people with lives were at barbecues drinking beer and bullshitting with friends and family.

    2. This country is so fucked up now that if you really want to be pissed off about something important, write some posts about why a Presidential candidate was just reprieved of espionage charges in the transmission of classified information on an unsecured server. The American Justice system just committed the greatest crime in the history of the country.

  4. ……………………„„-~^^~„-„„_
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  5. The coverage was a disgrace. The fact this guy is trying to claim everything was fine is a joke.

  6. This guy looks like he and Gay Jeffy are sucking each other’s coxs on a daily basis.
    GOLD STANDARD–Blooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

  7. agree 100 % with you Kyle. Enjoy watching the concert and the fireworks for years and was completely blown away that it wasn’t really on. Nothing in the TV listings (COMCAST, btw), showed that the concert would be on earlier.

    One thing though, and I am NOT a big “Broadway play” guy, but Leslie Odom is one of the lead parts in one of the biggest plays in years, Hamilton, on Broadway, and he is a Philly guy, so good for him that he was the main attraction at the concert. Too bad I couldn’t see him!

  8. This is the most embarrassing yearly event in the United States. This is the 7th largest metropolitan area in the United States and they repeatedly have nothing but D-list talent as their big headliner for what is supposedly the cities biggest yearly event.

    They are too worried about having black acts that no one has ever heard of or they have one line dancing hit so that they can appeal to the masses that go to this concert because it is free.

    This year, the shit-fest was actually made even stinkier with NBC 10’s coverage that was more about them(the station and broadcast team) jerking off about one another than actually having a quality show. Then again, I don’t know how much of a quality show you can have when the entertainment starts at a sewer level. I have an idea, let’s put on every group of 70 year old men that can barely dance and sing anymore, add in some guy from Broadway that a majority of people have never heard of and take away the only decent thing the event has had going for it (The Roots) in recent years.

    Yeh, yeh , that’s the ticket!!!

    1. It’s about Josh Innes sending all the former WIP hosts packing trashing them to then PD Andy Bloom

  9. ________________$$$$

  10. It’s way better than what’s shown locally. The New York fireworks display compared to Philly is like a gnat on an Elephant’s ass.

  11. U should see guaracino’s twitter bio. It reads like an unemployed trust funder. The link in his bio is ridonkulous.

  12. Should get me on the bill next year, I’ll play Brown Sugar for 40 minutes.

    1. Why the period? Mike LeCompt isn’t on the restricted list too?

      1. It’s a typ.o that continues to autocorrect and I don’t care to fix it because me and Buddy Cash are rockin’ right now.

  13. A couple of things. Jeff Guaracino has been tasked with making the Wawa Welcome America the stellar event it should and could be. He came in well after the planning should have begun and he made smart decisions to put together a festival with limited money and limited time. In addition to Welcome America, Jeff has been tasked with creating events beyond Welcome America that will further Philly’s reputation as a world class city. You must live under a rock if you do not know who Leslie Odum is. He is a Philadelphian who just won a Tony for performing in a blockbuster on Broadway. Hamilton. Leon Bridges is an up and coming artist and Gamble and Huff are national treasures. The people that I saw were having a blast singing along to the O Jays and the Blue Notes. As for the switch to NBC, what’s wrong with going were the money is? I’m sure that the arrangement will be different next year. My suggestion is that you save you evil vitriol for something that you may or may not know something about like SPORTS.,

    1. Assuming you’re in the know a little bit here, PG. But none of that explains his ridiculous, almost dismissive answers. Or the fact that Philly can’t afford to broadcast THE PHILLY POPS. Or the decision to grab the money from NBC for an event that is supposed to be a cultural thing, not a profit maker– THEY LITERALLY COULDN’T TELEVISE THE EVENT. And I’m sorry, Leslie Odum is talented, but to most people who even do know who he is (most don’t, I can assure you) “that guy from Hamilton” is hardly a draw. An up-and-coming artist is great, but it’s also embarrassing that’s the best Philly can do when other cities are rolling out genuine superstars. You can’t seriously be comparing a couple of talented acts with genuine national, big-name acts. Maybe it’s not all Guarcino’s fault, but he’s the face of it, and his answers were ridiculous and as out-of-touch as your comment. I mean, the big event was broadcast at an odd time and tape delayed and left viewers confused and pissed off.

      1. Kyle, I appreciate your comments. I would suggest that we look to next year when Jeff Guaracino has a full year to pull together a great event.
        Thank you.

    2. PHILLYGIRL you just embarrased yourself and your city with that paragraph full of BS. How much do they pay you a year?

      1. Not dumb by any stretch of the imagination. Possibly just more informed.

  14. why is the guys comment about sucking coxs comment still there but mine got censored?

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