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.
“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 SummerStageAnywhere.org.
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.