Ah, freak out! Nile Rodgers and Chic brought the house down at this year’s City Parks Foundation dinner and concert benefit at SummerStage in Central Park on Thursday (Sept. 29) night with an electric performance. The band performed Chic’s Hot 100 No. 1 “Le Freak,” Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” (co-written by Rodgers) and wrapped up with “Good Times,” featuring a small interlude of the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” (which, of course, is built on Chic’s “Good Times”).
CPF, through its Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage Festival, is “one of the largest presenters of free arts and cultural programs in New York City parks. It serves 300,000 New Yorkers each year through arts, education, sports and community building initiatives,” a press release states.
“We make people happy,” Heather Lubov, executive director of the nonprofit, tells Billboard. “We bring people into parks so they can enjoy their neighborhood parks, whether by listening to music at SummerStage, playing tennis, or learning about growing their food in a community garden. Everything we do is meant to bring people into parks and keep them.”
Rodgers, who brought a “DiscOasis” disco roller rink to Central Park this summer after a successful run in Los Angeles, said that the festivities have “been truly amazing.”
“I wish I could spend more time skating, but I’ve been touring so much this year,” Rodgers told Billboard at the event.
Rodgers isn’t the only star that has rocked the mic at DiscOasis in Central Park. On Aug. 10, Madonna celebrated the release of her remix compilation album Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones at the outdoor roller rink. The Roots’ Questlove served as the DJ, spinning back-to-back Madonna hits and disco classics for skaters to show their groovy moves. Madonna and Rodgers reunited at the funky, fun event and spoke to the audience about making 1984’s Like A Virgin together.
“Madonna. She’s great. She’s one of the hardest working artists I’ve ever worked with,” Rodgers tells Billboard. “Also, I’ve made the most money with her. The biggest record of my life.”
Rodgers noted that he met Madonna at the beginning of her career, and now the megastar has accomplished so much. “She’s terrific. I’m proud as hell of her,” says Rodgers. “She did exactly what she said she was gonna do — rule the world!”
Other stars in attendance at the CPF dinner and concert benefit included Sheryl Crow, who performed her hit singles “If It Makes You Happy” and “All I Wanna Do.” She closed her set with a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Live With Me.”
The event honored CBS News senior cultural correspondent Anthony Mason with the SummerStage Icon Award and the NYC Green Relief & Recovery Fund with the People & Parks Award. CPF raised $1.3 million in donations, making it their most successful benefit to date, according to a press release.
The DiscOasis runs in New York until Saturday (Oct. 1.)