SummerStage rolls into Queens for its annual residency with three shows in Springfield Park beginning Friday before moving into Queensbridge Park for three more.
For more than 30 years, the concert series staged by the independent nonprofit City Parks Foundation has rocked Central Park, but for the last 15 they’ve been delivering the same to parks in the outer boroughs.
“What we do is bring world-class entertainment for free to make the arts and culture available in all five boroughs,” City Parks Foundation/SummerStage Executive Artistic Director Erika Elliott said. “We try to have something for everyone by being regional and hyperlocal, to be representative of the community itself.”
Mighty Sparrow/CASYM Steel Orchestra kicks off the festival Friday, July 5, bringing Trinidadian Calypso to Springfield Park less than a mile north of JFK International Airport at 149th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard.
On Saturday, July 6, it’s “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels, the longtime host of Video Juke Box, and friends including Soul Jam, Blue Magic and DJ Hollywood and on Sunday, July 7, Tabou Combo/Lakou Mizik/DJ Sabine in association with Afro-Latino, the self-proclaimed “ambassadors of konpa” bring their style of Haitian dance music. The orchestra is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.
“Springfield Park is a great location and we’re so happy to be back,” Elliott said. “It’s such a great community and people really turn out for that one.”
SummerStage moves to Queensbridge Park along Vernon Boulevard just north of the Queensboro Bridge on Thursday, July 11, with Aterciopelados, one of Colombia’s first rock bands. They will be joined by the bluesy, Bogota-based rock band Diamante Electrico, who hold a pair of Latin Grammys for Best Rock Album and opened for the Rolling Stone’s first-ever show in Columbia.
“Queensbridge Park is a sensational venue with sweeping views of the East River and the Manhattan skyline,” Elliott said.
The festival continues on Saturday, July 13, with a celebration of Argentinian music featuring socially conscious singer Leon Geico, who is known as the “Bob Dylan of Argentina. The festival wraps up Sunday, July 14, with Denis Nicole White, better known as her stage name Avery Sunshine bringing her soulful, jazzy songs of praise and worship.
“There is plenty of open space in both parks,” Elliott said. “And it’s free. All you have to bring is a blanket to spread out or some folding chairs.”