It wouldn't be a New York City summer without catching a live concert in Central Park.
Finally, after a long year without live music, New Yorkers will be able to return to the park for Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage, which just announced that in-person performances will be back this summer.
Since its return to Rumsey Playfield is largely dependent on NYC health restrictions, there isn't a schedule posted yet, but SummerStage's season will feature hip-hop, Latin, indie rock, contemporary dance, and global performances as well as the annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. The only other announced performance is Dawes on Friday, September 16. Tickets for this show go on sale on Friday at 10am at axs.com.
SummerStage is also planning to hold performances at Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park/Richard Rodgers Amphitheater.
"The last year has been enormously difficult for our city. Live performance, with the energy that is generated by experiencing it with others, will be a balm for our collective soul,” said Heather Lubov, City Parks Foundation’s executive director. "SummerStage has been an active member of the NYS Nonprofit Outdoor Performing Arts Coalition, working with fellow outdoor venues and the NYS Department of Health to ensure that we are well-prepared to provide a safe and comfortable concert-going experience that follows strict health protocols. SummerStage will help restore vibrancy to our city through free performances in parks, which have been such important public spaces for New Yorkers seeking safe respite during the pandemic.”
As Lubov mentions, all performances will follow health regulations, including limited capacity, required masks and socially distanced seating. SummerStage will also require proof of vaccine and/or negative COVID test, and a health screening (like a questionnaire and temperature check). Because of the limited capacity, you'll want to be first in line when tickets are released.
And if you're unable to nab tickets or provide a negative test, you can watch most performances live on SummerStageAnywhere.org.
Unsurprisingly, SummerStage neighborhood locations will be more limited this summer, but CityParks PuppetMobile will continue to bring its free marionette theater performances to city parks, and soon, SummerStage will give out micro-grants to grassroots arts organizations, individual artists, community parks groups, and local community-based organizations to throw free cultural programs in parks and neighborhood plazas.
In 2020, SummerStage launched its digital festival, SummerStage Anywhere, to showcase more than 100 performances virtually. It'll continue this year with weekly shows.
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