Art by Lauren Martin
Capital One City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage series is set to make a return this year with a lineup of 80 free and benefit shows across 12 neighborhood parks in New York City’s five boroughs as well as beautiful Central Park. The event marks SummerStage’s 37th iteration and will once again feature established and emerging artists from various genres, including jazz, hip-hop, salsa, indie rock, reggae, and Afrobeat. Notably, the upcoming season will commemorate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with a series of events showcasing different elements of hip-hop culture, such as live performances, DJ sets, dance exhibitions, and graffiti displays.
According to Heather Lubov, the Executive Director of the City Parks Foundation, SummerStage’s aim is to provide exceptional free programming that reflects each neighborhood’s rich cultural heritage by bringing a diverse range of artists to the parks to create an emotional experience that fosters connections and promotes community building among New Yorkers. “Feeling the joy and wonder of live music with other New Yorkers is an experience that is unmatched and should not be underestimated,” she said in a statement. “At a time when we are increasingly isolated, SummerStage uses our city’s parks — vital resources in every neighborhood — to connect audiences with each other in a very emotional and magical way and, ultimately, to create community.”
The series will kick off on June 10 with free performances by St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Say She She, Mwenso and The Shakes, and DJ sets by WFUV’s Alisa Ali. All shows, except for some ticketed benefit concerts in Central Park, will be open to the public and will run through October. The other outdoor spaces celebrating the culture and music of New York include Marcus Garvey Park, Tompkins Square Park, Von King Park, and The Coney Island Amphitheater, among others.
The lineup for this year’s festival includes Regina Spektor, Vance Joy, Carl Cox, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Buddy Guy, Grandmaster Flash, Kool & The Gang, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds with Garbage, Manchester Orchestra with Jimmy Eat World, New York Sings Yiddish! The Klezmatics and Special Guests, The AUSSIE BBQ, Stanley Clarke N 4Ever, Kenny Garrett, Brandee Younger, a Canada Day singer-songwriters showcase, Marisa Monte, Queralt Lahoz, Juanes, Julia Jacklin, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Waa Wei, Dinosaur’s Head, Mdou Moctar, The Comet is Coming (featuring Shabaka Hutchens, formerly of Sons of Kemet), Ibeyi, Show Dem Camp, Emicida, Goyo, Hippo Campus with Gus Dapperton, Indigo Girls with Larkin Poe, Tanya Tucker, and many more.
Additionally, the festival will host a Hip-Hop 50 Special Edition Showcase and the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival with Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band featuring Dianne Reeves, The Cookers, Charles McPherson with Terell Stafford, and other notable musicians.
Learn more about this summer’s celebrations here.