The 37th year of the Celebrate Brooklyn festival will begin with Chaka Khan this year, and it’s not likely there would be anyone more appropriate to kick things off than the “Queen of Funk” herself. Every year, more than 250,000 New Yorkers converge on Prospect Park for a series of free concerts–it has become one of New York’s biggest festivals in its long existence, but originally its goals were more modest.
In 1979, when the festival began showcasing artists, its main purpose was to bring people back to Prospect Park, which had fallen into disrepair and become overrun with crime. Now, the area bustles with coffee shops, top restaurants and young families. Whether you think this gentrification is good or bad, you cannot argue that the festival did not bring the spotlight to a beautiful and previously overlooked part of the city.
Chaka Khan rose to prominence as the enigmatic front-woman for funk/soul band Rufus. With deep grooves and Khan’s soaring vocals, the band took off, charting numerous hits and releasing ten albums. Her live shows are as exciting as ever, even after 40 years performing and recording, and you can be sure that a big, boisterous New York crowd will be there to greet her when she steps out onto the stage on June 3rd.
Chaka Khan: Celebrate Brooklyn @ Prospect Park Bandshell 6/3
Gates at 6:30, show at 8:00 (Arrive Early!)