‘Music is powerful’: Leela James, Morgan Heritage, and more to play at free Wingate Park concert

crowd at concert
File photo courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso announced the official artist lineup for the popular annual summer concert at Wingate Park.

R&B singer Leela James, funk and jazz group Lakecia Benjamin & Soul Squad, three-time Grammy award winning reggae band Morgan Heritage, Ralph McDaniels’ Video Music Box and youth music mentor program Brooklyn United Marching Band will perform a variety of musical genres and celebrate hip-hop’s 50th anniversary on Aug. 8.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and the concert is free and unticketed, with entrances to the venue located at Brooklyn Avenue and Winthrop Street. 

The ADA-accessible entrance is also located at the Brooklyn Avenue entrance and will open to people with disabilities at 4:45 p.m. with reserved ADA seating available.

“Wingate is what it looks like to celebrate summer the Brooklyn way: with good tunes, great vibes, and all the love for the people who call this beautiful borough home,” Reynoso said in a statement. “Last year, over 5,000 people joined us to safely enjoy this summer staple, and this year, with this lineup, we’re gearing up to top it. I’m counting down the days until all of Brooklyn and beyond can come together to celebrate summer in New York and the music that defines us.”

The Wingate Park Concert Series was first hosted in the late 1970s by then-Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz ,and in the years since has seen a plethora of talent grace the stage with legendary artists like Aretha Franklin, Wyclef Jean and Big Daddy Kane. 

The concerts were scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but have now returned to the celebratory splendor of years past.

Performing artists expressed their excitement for the event, saying the concert has served to connect Brooklynites with music and with each other.

“The Wingate Concert is bringing soul to the people, and that’s the whole reason I make the music I do,” said Leela James, in a statement. “Music is powerful – it can capture joy, grief, love, blessings, and all of the feelings that live inside of us. I am so thankful for this opportunity to connect with Brooklyn and can’t wait to appear on Borough President Reynoso’s stage next month.”

Ralph McDaniels, Founder and Curator of the Video Music Box also acknowledged the significance of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop and how it felt to represent the musical genre at Wingate.

“Hip Hop is more than a genre – it’s a way of preserving the stories of those who have come before us and paved the way toward new futures,” said McDaniels.“I can’t wait to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop this year at Wingate, and I look forward to sharing with thousands of Brooklynites the music that has transformed generations. Thank you to Brooklyn Borough President Reynoso for bringing community together around the music we share.”

This year’s concert at Wingate Park was made possible through the fundraising efforts of the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office and Brooklyn for All Inc. as well as through generous donations from partners like Uber, iHeartRadio, National Grid and Con Edison.

“National Grid has proudly partnered with the Brooklyn Borough President’s office to support the Wingate Park Concerts for over 25 years,” said Renee McClure, Director of Community & Customer Engagement, National Grid New York. “Through our Project C community engagement, we share in the commitment to provide sustainable, family-friendly programs for the people and communities we serve across Brooklyn. The concerts bring together communities to celebrate and enjoy a variety of music genres.”

To find out more about this year’s Wingate Park Concert or to learn more about other events hosted by the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President visit www.brooklynbp.nyc.gov.