Free four-week arts festival with 160 performances headed to offshore park Little Island

July 28, 2021

Pigpen Theatre Co. performs in “The Amph”; Photo courtesy of Little Island

A month-long arts festival featuring more than 160 events and 460 artists will take place in New York City’s newest public park next month. Called NYC FREE, the celebration will bring a variety of music, dance, and comedy performances to Little Island, the offshore park in Hudson River Park that opened this spring, over four weeks starting in August. The festival is the culmination of the state’s “NY PopsUp” initiative, which launched earlier this year to revive New York’s art and culture scene.

NYC Free kicks off on Wednesday, August 11 and runs through Sunday, September 5. A majority of shows will be included with free entrance to the park, but all events happening in the 687-seat Amph will be ticketed. Free online tickets can be reserved at

The festival begins with a performance of John Cage’s 4’33” at 11 a.m. performed by students of the Third Street Music School Settlement with pianist Adam Tendler. The performance recognizes the New Yorkers lost to the pandemic, including the 5,000 children who lost a parent or guardian, according to a press release.

Other highlights of the event include dance performances organized by Misty Copeland, Robert Garland, Georgina Pazcoguin, Grammy Award-nominated trumpeter Alphonso Horne, work featuring dancers from the American Ballet Theater and the New York City Ballet, and stand-up shows from comedians like Michelle Buteau, Ziwe, Matt Rogers, and Bowen Yang.

Mikki Shepard, a producer for the Apollo Theater and BAM, is producing NYC FREE along with Shoham Arad, Trina DasGupta, Georgiana Pickett, Eleanor Wallace, Hanako Yamaguchi, and a group of established artists.

“Artists, forever questioning how to work and engage with the public, continue to demonstrate the courage to take risks and adapt!,” said Mikki Shepard, Producer, NYC FREE. “My experience has shown me that through listening to artists and investing in their creative process and curatorial practices we can reflect on the past, stand up for what we believe in, offer hope, and reimagine a future that is safe and joyful for all New Yorkers.”

All tickets will be mobile-only and are available for reservation here. You will not be able to make a reservation for the performances on-site at the park. The ticket also serves as the timed entry reservation to the park.


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