New York City Planning ‘Mega-Concert’ to Celebrate ‘Homecoming Week’

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The audience for 1981’s Simon & Garfunkel Central Park reunion concert numbered a half-million fans

With the dangers of the Covid-19 pandemic now dissipating steadily, New York City hopes to lure visitors back to its heart with a Central Park “Mega-Concert,” according to an article published June 7, 2021 in the New York Times.

The bash, tentatively set for the park’s Great Lawn on Aug. 21, will be part of a series of “Homecoming Week” events, and is being coordinated via the office of the city’s mayor, Bill DeBlasio, who has called upon the 89-year-old music mogul Clive Davis to book the performers.

“This concert is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity,” De Blasio told the newspaper. “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.”

Related: A 1982 anti-nukes concert in Central Park starred Linda Ronstadt, Bruce Springsteen and others

Clive Davis and Janis Joplin

No participating artists have yet been announced.

The article quoted Davis as saying, “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.”

Like most American cities, New York has taken a massive financial–and emotional–hit since the start of the pandemic, with lockdowns causing the city’s streets to be virtually devoid of tourists and even local residents. The event is being called “The Official NYC Homecoming Concert in Central Park.”

Said the Times article, “Live Nation, the global concert giant, is involved with the production, and the majority of tickets will be free, although there will be some V.I.P. seating.”

The mayor’s office, it continued, “said there would be vaccinated and unvaccinated sections at the concert, and that about 70 percent of tickets would go to people who are vaccinated.” The article did not specify how the city would check the vaccination status of concert-goers.

Diana Ross performing in NYC’s Central Park, July 1983 (Photo: Fathom Events)

Despite the absence of announced artists at this point, the Times pointed out that Davis has a stellar record in the music business, having signed such major artists as Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston during his long, storied career. Davis has served as president of the Columbia and Arista record labels, and is also known for his annual post-Grammy parties, which attract dozens of major stars.

Concerts have been held in Central Park since its opening in the 1800s, with some, including Elton John, Carole King, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Simon and Garfunkel’s 1981 reunion show, attracting hundreds of thousands of attendees.

The Times article concludes with a quote from Davis: “There’s a mental attitude that I think we are all looking forward to. That the future is bright and healthy for this country, for the world and for New York City.”

Watch Simon and Garfunkel perform “The Sound of Silence” at their 1981 Central Park show

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