New York’s largest free outdoor arts festival is bringing live entertainment back to the city. The Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage will welcome New York-centric artists like Patti Smith and her band, as well as benefit concerts featuring Machine Gun Kelly, Dawes and more.
The 2021 season will kick off with a free concert featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis on June 17 in Central Park. On Juneteenth, City Parks Foundation will host an outdoor screening of film Summer of Soul presented by Target followed by live performances at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park featuring Questlove and surprise guests.
“We are so thrilled to bring SummerStage back for all New Yorkers to enjoy in-person, outside, in parks again this summer. The artists performing this summer represent a true sense of resiliency in their own art and deep connection to New York City,” said executive artistic director of SummerStage Erika Elliott in a release. “While we continued to present artists of all genres for the past year with SummerStage Anywhere digitally, we are eager to provide artists the platform to perform to a live audience and to bring communities together to enjoy the live, spirited experience that is truly unique to our city and festival.”
In partnership with iStar, SummerStage will also return to the Seaside Park Community Arts Center & the Coney Island Amphitheater in Brooklyn this summer for six free concerts featuring Gloria Gaynor, DJ Stormin Norman, La Indi and more.
SummerStage in Central Park will also host several paid benefit performances this season. Blue Note at SummerStage will present three shows, each with two seatings — a matinee and an evening show — starting June 20, including a show from George Clinton with Parliament Funkadelic. The Bowery Presents benefit shows will include Lake Street Dive on Aug. 24, Machine Gun Kelly on Sept. 13, Dawes on Sept. 17, and folk-rock co-bill Indigo Girls with Ani DiFranco on Sept. 21, with more to be announced.
The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, SummerStage’s annual salute to the eponymous late saxophonist, will return for its 29th year with a weekend of live jazz in Harlem’s historic Marcus Garvey Park/Richard Rodgers Amphitheater from Aug. 28-29.
“The last year has been enormously difficult for our city, but New York City’s parks have provided needed respite. Now, our parks will help us re-engage with one another, generating the unique energy that is sparked only by experiencing live performance collectively,” said City Parks Foundation’s executive director Heather Lubov in a release. “This year’s SummerStage line-up reflects our city’s tenacity and spirit, its vibrancy and creativity. We are thrilled to be back.”
As a women-run festival with a mission of diversity and inclusion, since 2019, SummerStage has helped to transform the future of the music industry by participating in the PRS Foundation’s international Keychange pledge, presenting an annual lineup that features a 50/50 gender balance. SummerStage is one of the few festivals that has achieved this goal.
SummerStage will be operating at modified production levels and performances will initially be held at a reduced capacity in all of our venues to abide by social distancing requirements. Free tickets are required for entry to every free SummerStage show this season. Ticket pod requests must be made in advance through our online entry form. Forms will be available three weeks prior to each show. Ticket request forms will open on Mondays at noon ET.
For a full schedule and more information, head here.