By Vinette K. Pryce
No sooner than daylight savings time dawned, so too did a plethora of summer concert series to brighten and lengthen the season of free, outdoor music and dance offerings. The annual five borough presentations of music, dance, spoken word, films and theatrical presentations encompassing jazz, reggae, hip-hop, pop, r&b, and country music offerings enable free, quality, outdoor entertainment for the asking.
Already announced, the lineup for the 2018 Good Morning America Summer Concert Series at the Rumsey Playfield in Central Park — where SummerStage presents live televised Friday morning, showcases from 7 – 9 am.
On May 25, the series offer Sting and Shaggy, the two hottest duos to collaborate this year.
The pop / reggae dancehall stars plan to wake up America by kicking off the series on the last Friday in the month performing their individual hits as well as their own hit single “Don’t Let Me Wait.”
The following week on June 1, Halsey, on June 8, Ne-Yo, Pitbull is slated for June 15, with an impressive weekly lineup to include Bebe Rexha, Florence + the Machine, G-Eazy, Backstreet Boys, Camila Cabello, Fall Out Boy, Kelsea Ballerini, The Chainsmokers and Luis Fonsi.
Simultaneous to those Friday concerts, artists for the 2018 SummerStage season have been unveiled. Acclaimed as New York’s biggest, free, outdoor summer series, a five-month long daily lineup ends on Oct. 7 after showcasing more than 200 artists across a plethora of genres.
Presenting the most varied lineup in all five boroughs, artists taking the stage in parks around New York’s five boroughs include Talib Kweli, Dej Loaf, Big Daddy Kane, Angelique Kidjo and Young MA.
Several benefit shows in Central Park will bolster the stellar lineup and offer pre-show workshops at various shows, expanding this year for two new season-long collaborations with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and social justice non-profit organization VOICES, to offer free dance workshops and humanitarian events. The 2018 season kicks off on June 2 in Central Park with jazz legend Gregory Porter and rising folk singer Victory Boyd.
In Brooklyn, the BAM R&B Festival announced events slated for the MetroTech Commons (corner of Flatbush and Myrtle avenues) presented on Thursday afternoons from June 7 through Aug. 9, the series offers a variety of jazz, soul, and r&b lunchtime concerts that are free and open to the public. June 7 — Bernard Purdie’s All-Star Shuffle with guests Bobbi Humphrey and Quiana Lynell; June 14 — Savion Glover featuring Marcus Gilmore; June 21 — PJ Morton; June 28 — Vivian Green; July 5 — Delgres; Juyl 12 — Amalgarhythm with Kris Davis and Terri Lyne Carrington; July 19 — Jupiter & Okwess; July 26 — Terence Blanchard featuring the E-Collective; Aug. 2 — Ranky Tanky; Aug. 9 — Marcus Miller.
BRIC, the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn also announced its 40th season of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in Prospect Park.
Offering 31 performances beginning June 5 – Aug. 11, the pioneering NYC arts-and-media organization and leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn boasts programming, reflective of the borough’s eclecticism and diversity by featuring a wide array of free and world-class performances.
Common is up first for the premiere event on June 5, 8 pm.
Jamaicans, Caribbean nationals and reggae fans will relish the return appearance of Taurus Riley.
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 include: The Jayhawks / Mandolin Orange / Parsonsfield (June 16), Juliana Huxtable (June 23), Branford Marsalis / Roger Guenveur Smith (June 29), Kentucky Thunder / Sierra Hull and Justin Moses / Mamie Minch (June 30), Ricky Skaggs and Antibalas / Combo Chimbita / DJ Nickodemus (July 12), Kronos Quartet / Trio da Kali (July 14), Anoushka Shankar / My Brightest Diamond (July 20), Tinariwen / Cheick Hamala Diabate (July 27),Taurus Riley with Dean Fraser and the Blak Soil Band / Mwenso & the Shakes (Aug. 4), and Godspeed You! Black Emperor / Emel Mathlouthi (Aug.10).
On the Manhattan plaza during the Lincoln Center Out of Doors 2018 Festival, free music, dance and spoken word, redefine their annual summer festival of diverse music, dance, and spoken word artists runs beginning July 24 – Aug. 12 at Lincoln Center.
July 24 at 7:30 pm. Damrosch Park Bandshell introduces RZA, Wu-Tang Clan founder, composer, and filmmaker who will kick off the season with an epic audio-visual film experience. Billed as a re-score of the Shaw Brothers’ 1978 martial arts classic The 36th Chamber of Shaolin with its themes of perseverance, transcendence, and brotherhood, the film was a formative influence on Wu-Tang’s aesthetic. Now, weaving together instrumentals, beats, and lyrics from the Wu-Tang discography (and beyond), RZA performs his thrilling new score live, amplifying the film’s powerful narrative and astonishing action from opening sequence to closing credit. After touring this project to sold-out venues in 12 cities, RZA will open the outdoor fest with a special edition crafted specially for his hometown fans.
This year’s lineup also includes: Raphael Saadiq show; NPR Music’s Turning the Tables Live featuring music and conversation with Carly Rae Jepsen, Jamila Woods, I’m With Her, and others. The New York City premiere of Hal Willner’s “Amarcord Nino Rota,” a tribute to Italian film composer Nino Rota; Sun Ra Arkestra performing a live score of 1970s film”Space is the Place,” OkayAfrica’s Mzansi Heat & Naija Beats with, DJ Maphorisa, Yemi Alade and DJ Tunez; and the annual Roots of American Music Weekend.
July highlights Mexican, outdoor, pop, Puerto Rican rock, salsa and summer.
August highlights big band, books, Colombian, Cuban, Cumbia, Ecuadorean, festival, folk, free, hip-hop and jazz.
There is usually a spoken word section at Teatro Pregones in the Bronx.
Catch You On The Inside!