A “Mega-Concert” Is Coming to Central Park in August, And That Feels Weirdly OK

The city is teaming up with Clive Davis to plan the star-studded event

Central Park concert
The crowd cheers during the 2019 Global Citizen Festival: Power The Movement in Central Park in New York on September 28, 2019.
AFP via Getty Images

At the beginning of this year, before the vaccine rollout ramped up, a summertime concert featuring thousands of unmasked attendees seemed downright inconceivable. But as Variety reports, it’s looking like a reality now, as New York City will play host to a “mega-concert” this August — and weirdly, in a sign of how far we’ve come, that feels normal and okay.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is reportedly working with famed producer Clive Davis to organize a large-scale concert in Central Park to celebrate the city reopening. No acts have been confirmed for the show just yet, but it’s tentatively scheduled to take place on Aug. 21. The plan, according to Davis, is for eight “iconic” acts to perform during a three-hour show for approximately 60,000 attendees. The majority of tickets will be free, though there will reportedly be some VIP seating available for purchase.

“This concert is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity,” de Blasio said. “It’s going to be an amazing lineup. The whole week is going to be like nothing you’ve ever seen before in New York City.”

“I can’t think of a better place than the Great Lawn of Central Park to be the place where you say that New York is reopening,” Davis said, noting that the mayor reached out to him roughly three weeks ago to begin booking and planning the event.

According to the mayor’s office, roughly 70 percent of the tickets will be go to people who are vaccinated, and there will be separate vaccinated and unvaccinated sections at the event. That, coupled with the fact that it will take place outdoors, should be enough to alleviate any concerns about COVID-19 safety.

And, if all goes according to plan, we should (hopefully) be back to normal by the end of August anyway. President Biden has promised that “a return to normal is within reach” if 70 percent of adults get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. According to the New York Times, as of June 3, the country is currently on pace to have 68 percent of adults at least partially vaccinated by that date — just a hair below the 70 percent goal. Still, if that pace holds, that number will presumably be significantly over the 70 percent threshold by the time the Central Park concert happens.

Though we’re not out of the woods yet, in many ways it feels as though we’re already returning to normal. The CDC currently recommends that if you’re fully vaccinated, you can “resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic,” and “you can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” That includes attending a crowded outdoor concert maskless in a section full of your fellow vaccinated folks.

It’s been far too long since we’ve been able to enjoy live music, and it seems as though we’ve finally — finally! — reached a point in the pandemic where it’s safe for people to do so. What better way to celebrate things opening back up than by gathering together to take in what promises to be a star-studded show?

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