Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage Announces In-Person Summer 2021 Programming

Mark Doyle
– Next Stage
The Originals perform at Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield in New York City during the 2019 iteration of the SummerStage concert series.

Concerts in Central Park are a classic part of any New York City summer and, in another indication that New York City is emerging from the throes of the pandemic, Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage announced its programming for in-person summer 2021 shows on Thursday.

The festivities begin with Jazz at Lincoln Center, a free, ticketed concert featuring esteemed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, on June 17. Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield has a range of free shows on deck for the summer, spanning jazz (Sun Ra Arkestra, July 24), salsa (Tito Nieves, Aug. 1), opera (Met Opera Summer Recital, Aug. 8), electronic (Marc Rebillet, Aug. 14), hip-hop (Armand Hammer & The Alchemist, Aug. 15), Afrobeat (Antibalas, Aug. 21) and rock (Patti Smith, Sept. 19).

The Manhattan park will also host several paid benefits, including George Clinton (June 24), Lake Street Dive (Aug. 24), Machine Gun Kelly (Sept. 13), Dawes (Sept. 17) and Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco (Sept. 21).

As always, the series’ programming extends beyond Central Park, with multiple shows booked for both Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park and Brooklyn’s Coney Island.

Courtesy SummerStage

“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 executive director Heather Lubov in a statement. “This year’s SummerStage lineup reflects our city’s tenacity and spirit, its vibrancy and creativity. We are thrilled to be back.”

“We are so thrilled to bring SummerStage back for all New Yorkers to enjoy in-person, outside, in parks again this summer,” said SummerStage executive artistic director Erika Elliott in a statement. “The artists performing this summer represent a true sense of resiliency in their own art and deep connection to New York City. 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 2020, SummerStage responded to the pandemic by launching the virtual SummerStage Anywhere series, streaming performances by a diverse array of artists throughout the summer.

“We built out a season that felt authentic to SummerStage, in that it reflects the way we would normally curate the festival, in terms of the kinds of genres that we present and the audiences that we serve,” Lubov told Pollstar last September.

The season culminated with the SummerStage Jubilee, which featured Norah Jones, Trey Anastasio, Rosanne Cash, Rufus Wainwright and several other marquee performers.

This year, SummerStage will livestream concerts via

For many fans, the coming months may be the first time they encounter the substantial renovations Rumsey Playfield underwent in 2019, which included a new canopy, landscape lighting and a reimagined layout of pathways and bleachers.

“Even though our festival is primarily free for the public, we need to be just as competitive as any other venue in the city because we need to attract artists just like anybody else does,” Lubov told Pollstar in 2019. “I want to make sure that we are just as competitive and just as exciting a space as any other concert venue in the city, indoors or outdoors.”

Find Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage’s full slate of programming below.

Central Park:
June 17: Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis
June 20: Chris Botti – the Blue Note Jazz Festival (benefit)
June 24: Falu & Film: Monsoon Wedding – screening
June 24: George Clinton – the Blue Note Jazz Festival (benefit)
July 11: Galactic – the Blue Note Jazz Festival (benefit)
July 24: Sun Ra Arkestra and Sistazz of the Nitty Gritty
July 25: Dance IS! featuring the Rennie Harris Puremovement, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Parsons Dance, A.I.M., Alvin American Dance Theater & Ailey II with Madison McFerrin and Soles of Duende
July 31: The Originals
August 1: Tito Nieves
August 8: Met Opera Summer Recital
August 14: Marc Rebillet, DJ Premier and Brady Watt with special guests
August 15: Armand Hammer & The Alchemist with Moor Mother, KAYANA, Fielded and Quelle Chris
August 21: Antibalas
August 24: Lake Street Drive (benefit)
September 4: Dom Salvador Sextet and a screening of Dom Salvador & Abolition in association with the 25th anniversary Inffinito Brazilian Film Festival
September 11: Erica Campbell
September 13: Machine Gun Kelly (benefit)
September 17: Dawes with Erin Rae (benefit)
September 19: Patti Smith and her band
September 21: Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco (benefit)
Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem:
June 19: Summer of Soul screening with Questlove and Friends at Marcus Garvey Park
August 28: Charlie Parker with Strings: The Donald Harrison Quartet and the Harlem Symphony Orchestra at Marcus Garvey Park
August 29: Willie Jones III – A Charlie Parker Centennial Celebration with Sarah Hanahan, Godwin Louis, Justin Robinson, Erena Terakubo with Donald Vega and Endea Owens in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center
Coney Island, Brooklyn:
July 17: Gloria Gaynor at Coney Island with DJ Stormin Norman
July 18: La India
August 7: Funk Flex Birthday Party with Ginuwine and Friends at Coney Island
August 29: Invincible: A Glorious Tribue to Mike Jackson with DJ KS360 at Coney Island