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SummerStage Brings 80 Concerts to Parks Across the City

More than 80 concerts will be held across the city's five boroughs beginning on June 10.
The artwork for this year’s SummerStage was created by New York-based artist and illustrator, Lauren Martin.

From June to October, Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage 2023 is presenting 80 performances in parks across New York City's five boroughs. Most of them are free, except for a few special benefit concerts.

“SummerStage is back for another exceptional year of free programming,” said Heather Lubov, executive director for City Parks Foundation. “It's an honor to bring to parks artists that are reflective of each neighborhood’s rich cultural fabric, whether these performers are familiar or completely new discoveries.”

SummerStage is an outdoor performing arts festival. For 37 years, the festival has been facilitating free community performances by established and emerging artists in public parks across the state. 

This year’s festival will bring a multitude of genres including jazz, hip-hop, indie rock, reggae and contemporary dance to venues throughout New York City. 

SummerStage is a women-run festival with a mission of diversity and inclusion. Event organizers are committed to gender and racial equality throughout the programming. 

“We are thrilled to present another vibrant season filled with captivating artists from around the world and introduce music fans to their diverse sounds,” said Erika Elliott, executive artistic director of SummerStage. 

The festival will launch on June 10, with a free concert from St. Paul and the Broken Bones, including opening sets by Brooklyn soul band Say She She and DJ sets by WFUV’s Alisa Ali. 

Festival highlights

This year, SummerStage will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. A Hip-Hop 50 Special Edition Showcase is set to take over Coney Island on Aug. 6. 

Organizers say the showcase highlights the history and significance of hip-hop in New York City, as well as its global influence.

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop this year, we are excited to highlight the global impact that the genre has had on music and culture with an outstanding lineup of international artists and hometown heroes,” Elliot said. 

“SummerStage has been featuring hip-hop in our performances since the 90s' and is dedicated to giving a platform to showcase this important culture, shining a light on the genre every season,” she continued. 

The showcase will bring back seminal artists to recognize their contributions to the genre as well as highlight some young innovators. 

The event will include live performances, DJ sets, dance and graffiti displays across the five boroughs. Musical performances in the showcase will include: 

  • MIKE at Von King Park on July 15
  • Grandmaster Flash on Aug. 2 in Crotona Park in the Bronx
  • Frankie Cutlass and Black Sheep’s Dres on Aug. 12 at Stapleton Waterfront Park in Staten Island
  • DJ Funk Flex at Brooklyn’s Coney Island on Aug. 13

SummerStage will also welcome the return of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, an annual salute to the late saxophonist. 

The three-day celebration of live jazz will take place on Aug. 25 to 27. The jazz festival will include performances from: 

  • Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band featuring Dianne Reeves in association with Jazzmobile
  • The Cookers
  • Endea Owens & The Cookout
  • Charles McPherson
  • Vincent Herring Septet

Brooklyn performances 

In Brooklyn, SummerStage will offer 10 free concerts at Von King Park, the Brooklyn Bridge Park and Coney Island Amphitheater. The Brooklyn-based shows will include: 

June 23: The Met Opera summer recital featuring performances from Gabriella Reyes, Rene Barbera and Will Liverman at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The show will run from 7:00pm-12:00pm.

July 9: Tuff Gong Takeover featuring Skip Marley and Friends will perform at Coney Island beginning at 5:00pm. 

July 13: The Masterz at Work Dance Family with Courtney Washington will perform with DJ Byrell the Great in Von King Park. The performance will be held from 7:00pm-9:00pm. 

July 14: Brooklyn-based artist Nick Hakim will bring his soulful R&B sounds to Von King Park with June McDoom and Even Wright. The performance will be held from 6:00pm-9:00pm.

July 15: Von King Park will host Brooklyn MC MIKE’s annual Young World hip-hop festival from 4:00pm-9:00pm. 

July 16: Veteran hip-hop artists Dead prez, along with thirt3en and Large Professor DJ will host performances at Von King Park from 6:00pm-9:00pm.

July 16: Golden Oldies On The Boardwalk 2023 featuring the Duprees, the Coasters and Charlie Thomas’ Drifters with Jeff Hall will perform starting at 4:00pm at Coney Island.

Aug. 6: Hip-Hop 50 will take place at Coney Island starting at 4:00pm and will include:

  • Nice N Smooth
  • Special Ed
  • Buckshot of Black Moon
  • Masta Ace
  • CL Smooth
  • Rah Digga
  • Rampage
  • Black Sheep Dres
  • Sweet Tee
  • Joeski Love
  • Sparky D

Aug. 13: Funk Flex and Friends birthday concert featuring Raheem DeVaughn, Rob Base. The concert will be held at Coney Island at 5:00pm. 

Aug. 20: Jose Alberto "El Canario" with the Big 3 Palladium Orchestra: The Music Of Machito, Tito Rodriguez and Tito Puente at Coney Island beginning at 4:00pm.

Benefit concerts 

Along with the wide array of free concerts, SummerStage will also host a few ticketed benefit concerts in Central Park. 

The ticketed benefit shows in Central Park help support City Parks Foundation’s free performances.

“Feeling the joy and wonder of live music with other New Yorkers is an experience that is unmatched and should not be underestimated. At a time when we are increasingly isolated, SummerStage uses our city’s parks -- vital resources in every neighborhood -- to connect audiences with each other in a very emotional and magical way and, ultimately, to create community,” Lubov said. 

For a full schedule of events, click here. For more information click here.


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