New York announces PopsUp festival “to revitalise the spirit and emotional well-being of New Yorkers”

More than 300 free live shows are set to take place across the state

The State of New York has announced NY PopsUp, a festival of more than 300 free live shows to help “revitalise the spirit and emotional well-being of New Yorkers”.

Set to begin on February 20 and run until Labor Day (September 6), NY PopsUp has been green-lit this week by Governor of New York Andrew M. Cuomo.

Described as “an expansive festival consisting of hundreds of pop-up performances that will regularly permeate the daily lives of New Yorkers”, it’s hoped that the “energy of live performance” brought about by NY PopsUp will help revitalise people and the live entertainment industry across the state of New York during the coronavirus pandemic.


More than 300 free live shows, which will take place in parks, museums and car parks as well as on subway platforms and in stations, are being curated for NY PopsUp, with the likes of Dev Hynes, Patti Smith, Q-Tip, Chris Rock and Hugh Jackman all set to be involved.

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Patti Smith (Picture: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

Billed as a “pilot program”, it’s hoped that NY PopsUp will provide a model for hosting safe live events following the coronavirus-enforced shutdown. Reopening multidisciplinary indoor flexible venues (“flex venues”) throughout the state of New York to participate in the festival – with social distancing and appropriate safety measures in place – later this year is another aim of NY PopsUp.

Many of the festival’s events will not be announced in advance to prevent large crowds from attending.

“We’re trying to thread the needle,” Governor Cuomo told the New York Times. “We want the performances. We don’t want mass gatherings, we don’t want large crowds.”


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