Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage has detailed their lineup of events for the summer of 2019, taking place at various venues throughout New York City’s five boroughs including the newly renovated Central Park SummerStage. This year’s series will showcase 200 renowned artists and rising stars from around the world to local neighborhood parks, presenting distinctly New York genres like salsa, jazz, and hip-hop alongside indie, reggae, Afrobeat, soul, contemporary dance, and more.
SummerStage 2019 Announcement Video
SummerStage’s flagship venue in Central Park will reopen after undergoing a major, $5.5 million transformation that includes a new stage and sound system, enhanced lighting, new and raised seating areas, and improved dressing rooms and production spaces. In collaboration with West Elm, the Brooklyn-based global design company known for its original, modern designs, select areas of the venue will be expertly outfitted with furniture and décor from the brand’s new summer assortment. Concert-goers and performers will enjoy the highest standard of sustainably sourced products all summer long.
As Heather Lubov, Executive Director of City Parks Foundation, notes in a press release, “This is a very big year for SummerStage. Not only are we reopening our storied Central Park venue, modernizing it for its next 30 years, but we are also partnering with our new title sponsor and looking to the future by launching the season with young musicians representing the next generation. Of course, throughout the summer, we will present a line-up that is reflective of our city’s population, focusing not only on gender equality, but also on the huge diversity of cultures and backgrounds that make New York so special and exciting.”
As a women-run series with a mission of diversity and inclusion, SummerStage is helping to transform the future of the music industry by participating in the PRS Foundation’s international Keychange pledge and presenting a lineup this season that features a 50:50 gender balance. SummerStage is one of the few local festivals that has achieved this goal.
SummerStage will also recognize a number of pivotal anniversaries citywide through specially-curated shows including the 100th birthday of the Harlem Renaissance to be celebrated during the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival; the 100th birthday of iconic choreographer Merce Cunningham featuring the Stephen Petronio Company and former Cunningham dancer Melissa Toogood; the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and WorldPride celebrations with two shows — New Orleans bounce queen Big Freedia and all-male ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo; the commemoration of the Harlem Cultural Festival known as Black Woodstock with bandleader Igmar Thomas, MC Talib Kweli and trumpeter Keyon Harrold in Marcus Garvey Park where the original festival was staged; and the 40th anniversary of Queens-based, women-run reggae label VP Records with Elephant Man, Junior Reid, Estelle, and Raging Fyah.
As always, New York’s own musicians and performers will be well represented at SummerStage. Opening night in Brooklyn’s Herbert Von King Park will feature Queens rapper Pharoahe Monch and Friends celebrating the 20th anniversary of their album, Internal Affairs. Brooklyn mega-hit rapper Young M.A will perform in her home borough in Betsy Head Park; Staten Island hip-hop heroes Force M.D.s play a hometown show in Corporal Thompson Park; one of hip-hop’s great storyteller’s, Bronx-born Slick Rick, joins forces with DJ Chuck Chillout, in Soundview Park; rising psych jazz rockers Crumb will be joined by fellow Brooklynites Phony Ppl in Manhattan’s East River Park; and La Sonora Ponceña, one of New York’s longest running salsa bands, will perform in Coney Island’s Ford Amphitheatre.
In addition to all the free offerings around the city, SummerStage will feature paid benefit shows to help fund their breadth of free programming. Confirmed shows to date include George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic’s Farewell Tour with Galactic, Fishbone, and Dumpstaphunk; buzzworthy instrumental trio Khruangbin; lo-fi experimental rocker Kurt Vile and the Violators with Dinosaur Jr.; Australian singer-songwriter Tash Sultana; chart-topping alt-rock band Guster; Australian psych-rockers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard; Welsh indie-pop artist MARINA; British indie rock band Bloc Party; and legendary new wave icons The B-52s. More shows will be announced throughout the season. All benefit concerts are produced by The Bowery Presents.