New York's SummerStage Concert Series Announces Lineup and Benefit Shows

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Michael Seto
All Time Low perform during City Parks Foundations Summerstage concert series in Central Park.

The woman-run series will also be one of the first New York music entities with an evenly split lineup of male and female acts.

City Parks Foundation has announced the 2019 season of Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage, New York City’s largest free outdoor performing arts festival, bringing nearly 100 free and benefit shows to Central Park and 17 neighborhood parks throughout the five boroughs. This year’s series will feature more than 200 artists from around the world in neighborhood parks with performances from The Wailers, Japanese Breakfast, Parquet Courts, Slick Rick, Big Freedia, Young M.A. and more.

SummerStage shows will kick off on June 1 in Central Park with a performance from R&B singer and songwriter Emily King along with soul group Durand Jones & The Indications. The evening will also debut SummerStage’s revamped venue in the park.

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.

"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," said executive director of City Parks Foundation Heather Lubov in a release. "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 festival 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. Notable performances by women this summer will include two break-out female-fronted Canadian pop bands Alvvays and The Courtneys, as well as Spanish soul-pop singer and Latin Grammy winner Buika.

Legendary drummer and icon Sheila E., multi-Grammy winner and jazz songstress Corinne Bailey Rae and Grammy winning folkloric-style Mexican singer Lila Downs will also play throughout the June 1-Aug. 24 schedule.

The series will also celebrate several anniversaries this summer including the 100th birthday of the Harlem Renaissance to be marked at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and WorldPride celebrations with two shows including New Orleans bounce queen Big Freedia and all-male ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

"This season’s lineup is thoughtfully curated to celebrate community across all five boroughs by bringing distinctly New York artists to neighborhoods where they have personal history. The Festival also acts as a platform for global talent to perform for New Yorkers, and a place to see some of the most diverse and exciting talent around," said executive artistic director of City Parks Foundation Erika Elliott in a release.

The 2019 SummerStage festival will also feature benefit shows in Central Park to help support City Parks Foundation’s free performances including George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic’s Farewell Tour with Galactic, Fishbone, Dumpstaphunk. Other benefit shows will be performed throughout the city by Marina, Tash Sultana, Kurt Viles and the Violators, The B-52s and more. All benefit concerts are produced by The Bowery Presents.

For a complete list of SummerStage shows head to SummerStage.org.