Opening Night on June 3rd Featuring Mavis Staples
Season Highlights Include Digable Planets, BalletX, Khalid, Bob Moses, Slick Rick the Ruler, KRS-One, La India, Frankie Negrón, Valerie June, and many more
Benefit Concerts Featuring Elvis Costello, Regina Spektor, Gov’t Mule, and more
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival Celebrates 25th Anniversary this Season
Season runs May 17 to September 28
More than 100 FREE and benefit shows across all 5 boroughs of NYC
The City Parks Foundation is excited to announce the 2017 season of SummerStage, New York City‘s largest free outdoor performing arts festival, bringing more than 100 performances to Central Park and 15 neighborhood parks throughout the five boroughs. This year’s festival, presented by Capital One Bank, will showcase over 150 unique artists performing shows from a plethora of genres and disciplines, including indie-rock, hip-hop, Latin, jazz, R&B, salsa, bhangra, poetry, opera, contemporary dance, and theater.
The City Parks Foundation (CPF) is the only independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to offer programs in public parks throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The organization is dedicated to invigorating and transforming parks into dynamic, vibrant centers of urban life through sports, arts, community development and education programs for all New Yorkers. Its programs and community building initiatives — located in more than 350 parks, recreation centers and public schools across New York City — reach 425,000 people each year. Our ethos is simple: we believe thriving parks reflect thriving communities.
SummerStage, a program of City Parks Foundation, is New York’s largest free outdoor performing arts festival. SummerStage annually presents more than 100 performances in 16 parks throughout the five boroughs. With performances ranging from American pop, Latin, world music, dance and theater, SummerStage fills a vital niche in New York City’s summer arts festival landscape. Since its inception 32 years ago, more than six million people from New York City and around the world have enjoyed SummerStage.
This year, SummerStage will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the beloved Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, New York City’s annual salute to the eponymous late saxophonist. The festival, which each year coincides with Charlie Parker’s birthday, takes place uptown in Harlem’s historic Marcus Garvey Park and downtown in Tompkins Square Park, across the street from the apartment Parker called home. This year, the festival has been extended to four days and will include Emmy Award-winning tap dance virtuoso Jason Samuels Smith, world-renowned Anat Cohen Tentet, jazz master Lee Konitz Quartet, slow-funk Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science, reverend drummer Louis Hayes, young American vocalist Charenee Wade, Grammy nominated Joshua Redman Quartet, modern jazz creative voice Lou Donaldson, saxophonist Tia Fuller of the all-female band touring with Beyoncé, vocalist Alicia Olatuja, and more.
SummerStage will also expand its family-friendly pre-show workshop offerings this season to include dance classes, beatboxing lessons, and introductions to DJing and Latin percussion. These interactive workshops will take place prior to select SummerStage shows throughout the season, and all ages are encouraged to come out to the park early to participate. To kick off the season, SummerStage will host a DJ lesson from Scratch DJ Academy and a beatboxing tutorial with renowned beatboxer Exacto before the Digable Planets performance in Coffey Park. Other workshops will include salsa dance lessons in St. Mary’s Park and a poetry class in Marcus Garvey Park.
“City Parks Foundation is dedicated to providing every New Yorker with access to excellent, culturally relevant performing arts experiences in their home communities. Our SummerStage festival brings outstanding artists from genres across the globe directly to city parks across the five boroughs, all free of charge, making those parks community and cultural centers,” said Heather Lubov, Executive Director of City Parks Foundation.
SummerStage will kick off its first free show of the season with performances from the legendary Mavis Staples and contemporary blues artist Toshi Reagon in Central Park on June 3rd. Staples will lead a powerful vocal showcase of rock, blues, gospel and R&B. Digable Planets will reunite to open the citywide SummerStage run with a rare performance in Coffey Park in Brooklyn on June 21st. New York rap icon KRS-One and DJ Chuck Chillout will also perform in Coffey Park on June 25th and dynamic emcee Jadakiss will take the mic at Crotona Park on August 6th. Wu-Tang Clan founding member GZA “The Genius” will drop knowledge in Corporal Thompson Park in Staten Island on July 23rd. Brasil Summerfest returns featuring iconic samba singer Elza Soares and rising star Liniker e os Carmelows on August 5th in Central Park. Jazz veteran Joshua Redman Quartet will pay tribute to Charlie Parker as part of the annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival on August 27th in Manhattan’s Tompkins Square Park.
This season will also feature benefit shows in Central Park to help support City Parks Foundation‘s free programs for all New Yorkers. American rock band Gov’t Mule, the Grammy award-winning Elvis Costello & The Imposters, progressive rock multi-stylists Umphrey’s McGee, avant-rocker PJ Harvey, indie pop singer Regina Spektor, energetic rockers All Time Low, anthemic artists The Revivalists, and indie rock trailblazers Young the Giant with special guests Cold War Kids have been confirmed with many more to be announced. All benefit concerts are produced by The Bowery Presents.
Other highlights include:
- George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic along with Main Source, DJ Marley Marl and host Roxanne Shante will bring the funk to Flushing Meadows Corona Park as part of the Only In Queens Summer Festival on June 11
- Indie-folk pop singer and indie-folk singer rising star Margaret Glaspy performs on June 22nd in Coffey Park
- Classic hip-hop innovators Slick Rick the Ruler and GrandWizzard Theodore will team up in Queens’ Springfield Park on July 7th
- Timeless architect of alternative-rock PJ Harvey will host a benefit show in Central Park on July 19th
- Contemporary ballet company BalletX will perform their acclaimed piece “Big Ones” set to the music of Amy Winehouse in Central Park on July 26th
- Latin Grammy Award-winning princess of salsa La India will perform in St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx on July 28th
- Salsa’s next definitive voice Frankie Negrón will perform in St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx on July 29th
- Rock Steady Crew will celebrate the 40th anniversary of their Bronx-conceived b-boy crew in Central Park with a who’s who of classic hip-hop performances including the legendary MC Lyte on July 30th
- Taj Mo: The Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ Band, two generations of blues giants, will take over Central Park on Aug 13th
- A performance from the cast of Broadway’s new hit musical A Bronx Tale, based on the critically acclaimed play that inspired the classic film, will make its way to Crotona Park in the Bronx on Aug 3rd
- Alternative rock band and one of Rolling Stone‘s “10 Bands You Need to Know,” The Revivalists will perform a benefit concert in Central Park on Aug 10th
- SummerStage Family Day, featuring performances from They Might Be Giants and Bill Childs of Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child Radio, comes to Central Park on Aug 12th
- The Russell Simmons / Mos Def-backed series Def Poetry Jam will host a reunion in Marcus Garvey Park in Manhattan on Aug 20th