Celebrate Brooklyn! returns with headliner Ari Lennox

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Ari Lennox will headline the first performance of the in-person 2021 Celebrate Brooklyn! season.
Zara Israel, Jeff Smith

Here’s something to celebrate!

The borough’s beloved Celebrate Brooklyn! concert series is back. The free summer music festival will return to Prospect Park on July 31, when it will mark its 43rd season — and a return to in-person performances after going virtual last year.

“We are thrilled beyond belief to be back in the Prospect Park bandshell, our home for the past 42 years,” said Lia Camille Crockett, director of performing arts at BRIC, the arts organization behind the series. “During these past 18 months, we have been tested in ways we could have never imagined, and BRIC is so proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

Celebrate Brooklyn! will run from July 31 through Sept. 18th, starting with a headlining performance from R&B singer Ari Lennox, with support from Brooklyn-based rapper and poet Kammau. 

Lennox, the first female artist to be signed by rapper J Cole’s record label Dreamville Records, released her first full length album “Pho” last year while unable to tour due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

David Andrako

Organizers are staying mum on the remainder of the lineup, but earlier this month announced the first of its ticketed benefit concerts, which will feature English rock band Glass Animals on Aug. 31.

Last summer, BRIC was among the many Brooklyn cultural institutions to change gears after the pandemic halted most public events. In place of the annual outdoor extravaganza, the group sponsored a two-day virtual festival featuring Common, Questlove, Yemi Alade, and Lila Downs. 

“BRIC was proud to bring hundreds of thousands of people the opportunity to connect with artists from across the world safely from their homes during a pandemic,” said the organization’s president, Kristina Newman-Scott. “But there’s nothing like the energy of Brooklyn when it’s filled with friends and family, all gathered for good times and great music.” 

As of now, the festival intends to operate at reduced capacity with social distancing implemented, and a requirement that all attendees RSVP for free shows, but organizers said those terms may change in accordance with public health guidelines. 

“We are elated to be coming back to celebrate our borough, our community, the power of music and summer in New York City,” said Newman-Scott. “This is going to be a season like no other.”