Free boro-wide entertainment in City Parks

Chronixx performing at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens.
Toni Dubois

One of the best bargains of the year comes every summer when City Parks announces its free, series of music, dance, films and theater. Already in full swing in many of the neighborhood parks in all five boroughs, the biggest and longest announced Brooklyn’s Celebrate Brooklyn Festival in Prospect Park.

“We are thrilled to announce the 39th summer season of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival at the Prospect Park Bandshell,” Jack Walsh, BRIC’s VP of performing arts and exec producer of the festival said. “This special season features over fifty celebrated artists from around the world and around the block — across the genres of music, dance, and film — that illuminate the vibrant cultures that make our borough so unique.”

“We invite everyone to come together at the Prospect Park Bandshell as these artists take our stage to compel, intrigue, entertain and uplift us,” he added.

Revered as New York City’s longest-running summer outdoor performance festival, when it began in 1979 it was regarded to be ‘a catalyst for a burgeoning Brooklyn performing arts scene, and to bring people back into the park after years of neglect.”

The festival has presented celebrated global music icons, legendary jazz artists, chart-topping indie bands, gravity-defying dance troupes, large-scale film projects and even a virtual reality performance, becoming one of the city’s foremost cultural attractions and a beloved summer tradition that draws a diverse audience upwards of 200,000 each season.

“As one of the leading lights of New York City’s vast cultural offerings, the world-class Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival will once again deliver a summer full of outstanding free performances by extraordinary and diverse artists,” Leslie Schultz, president of BRIC said.

“We believe it is especially important to use artistic platforms to reaffirm the very basis of what Brooklyn and America is — a welcoming supercollider of ideas and cultures, informing and enriching each other.”

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Prospect Park, and BRIC will celebrate the milestone. On the evening of July 28, Andrew Bird and Esperanza Spaulding will honor the park’s “sesquicentennial and the entire Brooklyn community that makes the park so vibrant,” Sue Donoghue, Prospect Park Administrator and President of the Prospect Park Alliance said.

The full season lineup consists of artists from Brooklyn and around the world — across the U.S., the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. They include: Pharoah Sanders (June 23) Natasha Diggs (June 24), Chronixx / Chop & Quench / Laolu NYC (July 8), Robert Randolph & The Family Band / Eric Krasno (July 13), and Quantic / Tei Shi / Álex Anwandter (July 14) Admiral T / Tabou Combo / DJ Spike T.I. (July 29), and Youssou N’Dour / Yacouba Sissoko (Aug. 12).

The music of Guadeloupe, Haiti and Jamaica represent the Caribbean’s diverse sounds.

The Guardian reported that “Chronixx is one of Kingston’s hottest new artists, “modernizing reggae staples and breathing new life into the roots reggae movement.”

His style recalls the Rastafarian golden age of the 1970s with uplifting, consciousness-raising lyrics set to deep, swooning rhythms.

Admiral T was born on the island of Guadeloupe.

At the age of 16, he joined the DJ collective Karukera Sound System, introducing the world to his “unique fusion of dancehall, reggae, and soca music.”

Five albums later, he is one of the most celebrated dancehall artists of the French-speaking world, bringing his trademark radiance and positivity to every performance.

Haitian compas band Tabou Combo is expected to enthrall audiences with their deep, merengue-meets-funk sound. DJ Spike T.I. will start the revelry.

Renowned choreographer Garth Fagan joins the lineup on June 30 when his dance company celebrates its 45th season.

Born in Jamaica and educated in Detroit, Fagan has changed the landscape of movement with his innovative blend of modern dance, ballet, Afro-Caribbean and social dance. According to the LA Times, “He “fuses technical virtuosity with conceptual depth by imbuing his work with the characters, issues, and cultural climate of his surroundings.”

He is widely acclaimed for choreographing the Broadway musical “The Lion King.”

A “Music and Movies” series of events include screenings of Guido Brignone’s 1925 silent film “Maciste All’inferno,” with a live score by Sex Mob, and an opening set by Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir (July 27); “Creed” (2015) with a live score by Wordless Music Orchestra and an opening set by Frank Haye & The Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir (Aug. 4); and “Selma” (2014) with the world premiere live performance of the score by Jason Moran, performed by Moran and Wordless Music Orchestra / Brooklyn United Marching Band (Aug. 10).

More information is available at

More than 150 individual artists from around the globe, celebrating a variety of genres and disciplines, from indie-rock, hip-hop, Latin, jazz, dance, comedy and everything in between are booked for Manhattan’s Central Park Summerstage Concert Series which features 100 performances in 16 neighborhood parks.

From Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem, Queensbridge Park in Queens, Crotona Park in the Bronx, Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island and Jackie Robinson Park in Brooklyn, the Manhattan series began earlier this month with gospel singer Mavis Staples at the flagship stage for the series, Central Park Summerstage. Music, dance, spoken word, films and theater are hallmarks of the series which runs until September.

A theatrical treat will feature the cast of “A Bronx Tale,” the Tony-nominated, Broadway, musical. It will be staged at Crotona Park in the Bronx.

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“Good Morning America,” the television morning magazine show aired on ABC announced its 2017 Friday morning, summer concert series lineup which features some of the hottest chart-topping music stars in live performances from the Rumsey Playfield’s SummerStage in Central Park. For the eighth annual live summer broadcast season, an eclectic billing features country, hip-hop, rhythm & blues and rock music.

Green Day kicked off the concert series earlier this month singing their big number one hit “Revolution Radio.”

The party continues every Friday morning, all summer long with Lady Antebellum, The Chainsmokers, Linkin Park, Zedd featuring Alessia Cara, Little Big Town, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Big Sean, Fifth Harmony and Jason Derulo,

All concerts are free and open to the public who must arrive at Rumsey Playfield via the 72nd St. entrance on Fifth Ave. at 6 a.m. for the live TV airing.

July 7 – Big Sean

July 14 –Lady Antebellum

Aug. 4 –Linkin Park

Sept. 1 – Jason Derulo

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Also check out free events at River To River Festival, Broadway in Bryant Park, Lincoln Center Out Of Doors, Shakespeare in the Park and BAM R&B Festival at Metrotech Commons.

Stay cool, enjoy the season and…

Catch You On The Inside!

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