BOSTON (CBS) – Between the Boston Pops and the fireworks, the Fourth of July festivities at the Esplanade never cease to amaze. This year, tens of thousands gathered on the grass to watch — despite the heat.

“I’ve done this 24 years in a row and it was about the most brutal I remember it being,” said Pops Conductor Keith Lockart. “We had a few casualties nothing serious, but some people who needed to go hydrate and get out of the heat for a little bit.”

Fans watch the Fourth of July show at the Esplanade (WBZ-TV)

Fans, families and fourth of July lovers lined up hours before the Esplanade gates opened at 9 a.m. for Wednesday’s Fourth of July festivities.

“I got here yesterday morning before the sun came up,” said Jennifer Ravgiala, who said she had all the items needed when she snagged the first spot in line. “A sleeping cot, a blanket because it can get cold. Family, and friends to make the night enjoyable.”

Related: Where To Find Fireworks Around Boston & Eastern Massachusetts

Tuesday night’s rehearsal concert ramped up the anticipation. Fans in the crowd danced along as Newton native Rachel Platten took the stage.

Visitors wait in line to grab their spot on the Esplanade for the Fourth of July. (WBZ-TV)

The concert lineup also included the Indigo Girls, Rhiannon Giddens, Rita Moreno, Natalie Cortez and, of course, the world-famous Boston Pops orchestra.

One concert-goer described the experience as “the one time you get to sit back, relax, and enjoy America for what it is.”

The line before gates open to get onto the Esplanade on the Fourth of July. (WBZ-TV)

One woman came all the way to Boston from Michigan. “The Boston Pops: it’s the culture, it’s the history, it’s the Fourth of July!” she said.

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