Central Park SummerStage Concert Guide

Trinidad-born, Brooklyn-bred Rapper/MC Theophilus London closes his set with young fans from the audience on stage at Central Park SummerStage, New York, New York, August 4, 2012.
Jack Vartoogian/Archive Photos/Getty Images

This performing artist series brings together the best musicians not just from New York City but the entire world. There are dance, spoken word, and music events. Many of the events are free. although others require advance tickets.

Please note that the information below is for the 2019 SummerStage events. In 2020, in-person events were canceled for May and June and are hopeful to resume in later summer or fall. In the meantime, check the website for updates and also virtual events and classes.


SummerStage is an outdoor venue located at Rumsey Playfield (East 72nd Street off Fifth Avenue) inside Central Park. The closest subway is the 6 train to 68th Street. You can easily enter the park on 69th Street and 5th Avenue.

Free Shows 

To see what's in store for free shows this summer check out the schedule on the website. Events take place almost every night of the event. Many include more than one performer. 

The kick-off performance will take place on Saturday June 1 at 6 pm. The lineup includes Emily King; Durand Jones and the Indications; Madison McFerrin; and DJ Reborn. 

One of the most exciting performances is on August 27, 2019 at 7 pm. It features The Originals, a Motown R&B and soul group that made a name for itself in the late 1960s and 1970s. 

The final show will be on September 24, 2019. The lineup includes The B-52s; OMD; and Berlin. 

What to Know About Central Park SummerStage

Review these tips to ensure a smooth time at SummerStage events. For more detailed information, visit the SummerStage website.

  • There are no tickets for free events, but space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. For some of the most popular shows, lines form more than an hour before the gates open.
  • There is an open area where many people spread out blankets so they can sit during the show or between sets.
  • There is also bleacher seating, some of which is available to the public. Some bleacher seating is reserved for SummerStage members.
  • If you're attending a show during the daytime, keep in mind that there is little shade, so bringing sunblock and a hat is highly recommended. Also, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Entrance to the Central Park SummerStage area begins one hour before showtime.
  • If you want to get into events more easily, consider purchasing a SummerStage Membership. Members get express entrance to shows, seats on the bleachers, and more.
  • If you're not into battling crowds and are content to just hear the music, there is plenty of space on the grass outside of the Central Park SummerStage area. From there, you can easily hear the concert while lounging on the grass.
  • Concessions including beer, wine, soda, and water are available inside Central Park SummerStage. There are also food vendors if you don't plan to bring a picnic.
  • All events are rain or shine.
  • For special news, updates, and even "skip-the-line" passes follow SummerStage on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

What to Bring to Central Park SummerStage

Consider bringing the following items to make your time at SummerStage more comfortable. 

  • Water
  • Blanket
  • Picnic Dinner
  • Sunscreen and hat for daytime shows

What Not to Bring to Central Park SummerStage

Make note of these items that aren't allowed inside the venue. 

  • Glass bottles
  • Cans
  • Coolers
  • Alcohol
  • Video cameras and SLR cameras with lenses 100 mm and bigger 
  • Chairs
  • Weapons
  • Skateboards, scooters, bikes, rollerblades
  • Drones
  • Pets
  • Bags and containers larger than 16 inches tall by 16 inches wide by 8 inches deep