This post is about SummerStage, a series of free concerts held in Central Park every summer, and is updated for 2023.
We include information on how to attend a show, a list of who is performing, and other free music options throughout NYC.
- Attending SummerStage
- Concert Lineup
- More Free Music
- Explore Central Park
- A Guide to Summer in NYC
- Other Things to Do in NYC
Every summer since 1986, a series of free concerts called SummerStage has been held in Central Park.
The SummerStage line-up is diverse and includes everything from afro-punk, Latin jazz, soul, hip-hop, avant-garde, and good old rock and roll.
They also have stand-up comedy, dance performances, and sometimes Broadway musical performances.
A few shows are benefit concerts and require tickets, but those are benefit shows to raise money to keep the rest of the concerts free.
If you are heading to a show, why not make time beforehand to explore Central Park?
Where is SummerStage?
The stage is located in Central Park at Rumsey Playfield near 5th Avenue and 72nd Street.
How To Get Here
The easiest way to get there is to take the subway. Take the 6 train to “68th St-Hunter College” station and enter the park at Fifth Ave and 72nd St.
You can use this Google Maps link to get exact directions from your point of departure to Summerstage.
To learn more about using the subway check out our guides
Are Tickets Needed?
No tickets are necessary if it is a free show. Admission is given on a first-come, first-served basis, so entry is not guaranteed.
Benefit shows require a ticket. These shows cost around $40 - $80 Some extra spectacular with multiple top performers, shows may cost $100 and up.
When Should I Arrive?
- Free weekend shows - gates open 90 minutes prior to the show-time
- Free weekday shows - gates open 60 minutes prior to show-time
- Benefit concert times vary
Food and Beverages
- At the free shows, food and non-alcoholic beverages are permitted
- However, glass bottles, coolers, and alcohol are not permitted
- You can purchase food and drink at the concert
Items Not Allowed in Concerts
Your bags will be searched on entry. You cannot bring:
- alcoholic beverages
- any kind of glass bottle
- ice coolers
- video cameras
- recording devices
- flash cameras
TIP: If you have large bags, a bicycle, luggage, or anything else you can't bring to the concert, you can find inexpensive hourly storage in the area.
See our post about where to store luggage and more in NYC.
The 2023 line-up is awesome! There are more than 90 shows!
Benefit shows that require tickets are noted. Otherwise, all these shows are free!
Shows in Central Park
- June 3: Hippo Campus, Gus Dapperton (benefit)
- June 4: Indigo Girls, Larkin Poe for the Subaru Music Series (benefit)
- June 10: Opening Night with St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Say She She, Mwenso and the Shakes, DJ Alisa Ali
- June 14: New York Sings Yiddish! The Klezmatics June 15: Sammy Rae & The Friends, Rubblebucket (benefit)
- June 19: Park Jams: A Juneteenth Celebration of Hip-Hop with DJ Premier, Grandmaster Flash, Kid Capri, and more (benefit)
- June 20: The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital ft. Gabriella Reyes, René Barbera, Will Liverman and Dimitri Dover
- June 24: Stanley Clarke N 4ever, Kenny Garrett, Brandee Younger, DJ Logic in Association with Blue Note Jazz Festival
- June 25: Dreamland: Pride in Central Park with Purple Disco Machine (benefit)
- June 28: Michael Franti and Spearhead, Tank and the Bangas (benefit)
- July 10: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Garbage, Metric (benefit)
- Jul 13: Bastille Day: Joachim Garraud & Marie Berson, Passi, Bénabar, Adèle Castillon
- July 24: Cafe Tacvba (benefit)
- July 26: Works & Process at SummerStage: Dorrance Dance
- July 29: Mdou Moctar, Meg Baird and Mary Lattimore, Rough Francis
- August 2: The Comet Is Coming, Ibeyi, AceMo DJ Sets
- August 3: Bittersweet Daze: Cavetown, Ricky Montgomery, (benefit)
- August 5: The Originals: Stretch Armstrong, Rich Medina, Tony Touch, Clark Kent, D-Nice
- August 9 & 10: Mt. Joy (benefit)
- August 19: Cautious Clay, Wet, Christian Kuria, Zinadelphia (benefit)
- August 20: Everyday People
- August 23: Manchester Orchestra, Jimmy Eat World, Middle Kids (benefit)
- August 24: Regina Spektor (benefit)
- August 27: Palmwine Festival with Show Dem Camp and Friends
- August 31: In Our Own Sweet Time Tour with Vance Joy (benefit)
- September 14: Tanya Tucker, and Nikki Lane for the Subaru Music Series
Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park
- August 17: Works & Process at SummerStage: The Missing Element with The Beatbox House
- August 18: Jason Moran and the Big Bandwagon: James Reese Europe and the Harlem Hellfighters
- August 19: Mixtape (Film Screening) with DJ sets by: Ron G, Doo Wop
- August 25: Charlie Parker Jazz Festival with Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band featuring Dianne Reeves, T.K. Blue
- August 26: Charlie Parker Jazz Festival with The Cookers, Endea Owens and the Cookout, Nduduzo Makhathini Trio
Coney Island Amphitheater
- July 9: Skip Marley & Friends
- July 16: The Duprees, The Coasters, Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, Del Satins, Vito Picone & The Elegants, and more
- August 6: Hip-Hop 50: SPECIAL EDITION with Nice N Smooth, Special Ed, and more
- August 13: Funk Flex & Friends Birthday Concert Featuring Raheem DeVaughn, Rob Base & more
- August 20: Jose Alberto “El Canario,” The Big 3 Palladium Orchestra: The Music Of Machito, Tito Rodriguez and Tito Puente
See the SummerStage website for other shows and any other details.
If you can't make the live shows, many of the 2023 SummerStage shows will be live-streamed via SummerStage Anywhere.
Look at our guide to Summer in NYC and our monthly posts:
Also, see our post on hundreds of free things to do in New York.
Don't forget that NYC Street & Subway Performers are always free!