BY EVERYNIGHT CHARLEY CRESPO | The summer of 2021 is half gone and, unlike other Augusts, the number of outdoor concerts in New York City is increasing rather than decreasing.
With Mayor de Blasio’s announcement on Aug. 3 that all indoor performance spaces, restaurants and fitness centers must become vaccination-only zones starting on Aug. 16, outdoor music may become even more prevalent.
In many cases, the outdoor concerts will be open to both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Weather permitting, under sunlight or moonlight, more New Yorkers will enjoy summer breezes with their live music.
New York City awaits the NYC Homecoming Week concerts in the five boroughs during Aug. 16 to 21. These five free concerts will feature Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Andrea Boccelli, Maluma, the Killers, Kane Brown, Journey, LL Cool J, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jennifer Hudson, Elvis Costello, Wyclef Jean, George Clinton + the P-Funk All Stars, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane and many other artists. Ticketholders must present proof of vaccination in order to be admitted.
Global Citizen also promises a major free concert in Central Park’s Great Lawn on Sept. 25. The agency’s Web site says it will announce the details of the concert in August. There is no indication yet if the event will be for vaccinated ticketholders only.
Popular music acts have started touring again, so concerts are coming to several of New York’s larger open-air venues. This month, Dead & Company will perform at Citi Field, Pink Martini, Yacht Rock Revue, Jason Mraz, Blackberry Smoke, All Time Low and Kesha will headline at the Rooftop at Pier 17, Common and Lake Street Dive will be at SummerStage Central Park, the Roots, Skip Marley and San Fermin are among the artists playing in Prospect Park, and a Wilco/Sleater-Kinney double bill and a Dropkick Murphys/Rancid double bill are coming to Forest Hills Stadium. All of these concerts will gather thousands of eager music fans.
New Yorkers love free, and so free concerts get a lot of love. Central Park, Prospect Park, Bryant Park, Little Island, Lincoln Center, Hudson River Park, the Brooklyn Public Library, DUMBO and Madison Square Park are all hosting free concerts in August. A general guide to free outdoor concert series in New York City can be sourced here.
Chris Flash is attempting to revive his summer concert series and political rallies in Tompkins Square Park, starting this past weekend. He scheduled Spike Polite & Sewage NYC, Sea Monster, Jezo Black + the Element and Skitzopolis for Sat., Aug. 7. The Nihilistics, Hot Knives, Dutch Gutz and Ruckus Interruptus performed on Sun., Aug. 8.
Meanwhile, many lesser-known performers have taken to the urban outdoors — from parks to sidewalks — on their own. These buskers will continue to perform where they can, weather permitting. They seek your attention and your tips!
For more of Everynight Charley Crespo’s coverage of the city’s music scene, check out his blog, The Manhattan Beat.