Cardi B, The Weeknd, others to headline Global Citizen Festival in Central Park

The free-ticketed event’s 2018 lineup includes a special performance by John Legend.

Cardi B is set to return to the stage during Global Citizen Festival. Photo Credit: Getty Images / David Becker

Global Citizen Festival, the annual concert for a cause at Central Park, is back next month with a stacked lineup of performers you’ll have the chance to see for free.

Each year, advocacy organization Global Citizen organizes the one-night concert event to raise awareness for various political and social issues. This year’s focus remains on maintaining the $60 billion foreign affairs budget that backs food assistance programs across the globe, as well as raising funds for mothers and children who die from preventable pregnancy-related diseases.


Since entry is free, Global Citizen Festival relies on fan participation to drum up the political conversation: ticket seekers are asked to “earn” their way in by calling local officials and tweeting about causes through the GCF app.

Got all that? Now for the good stuff. Here’s who’s performing at the Sept. 29 event on the Great Lawn at Central Park this year.

Janet Jackson

Didn’t catch Janet Jackson at Panorama? The “Rhythm Nation” singer returns to the stage nearly a month after her State of the World tour comes to a close this August. There’s a chance she’ll channel her tour energy again when she hits Central Park; her opening number featured “The Skin Game (Part 1),” and focused on racism, police brutality and white supremacists in America.

Janet Jackson will perform at Global Citizen Festival after her State of the World tour comes to a close. Photo Credit: Getty Images for Essence / Bennett Raglin

Cardi B

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With the Bronx-born rapper set as a headliner, the Manhattan festival just might be her return to the stage. Cardi B backed out of her scheduled tour with Bruno Mars (set to hit NYC in October), saying she just wasn’t ready “mentally and physically” to leave her newborn daughter Kulture.

Cardi B is set to return to the stage during Global Citizen Festival. Photo Credit: Getty Images / David Becker

The Weeknd


It’s a pretty huge year festival-wise for The Weeknd. As if headlining Lollapalooza, Milwaukee Summerfest and Coachella weren’t enough, the “Starboy” is adding GCF to his 2018 roster.

The Weeknd will perform at the Global Citizen Festival this fall. Photo Credit: Getty Images for Coachella / Kevin Winter

Janelle Monae

The Grammy-nominated singer is also racking up her 2018 headliner credits. She’ll hit Central Park fresh off her Afropunk performance, set for later this month, and Bustle’s Rule Breakers show in Prospect Park on Sept. 22.

Janelle Monae, who's set to headline Afropunk, is adding another fest to her 2018 roster. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevin Winter

Shawn Mendes

Mendes fans, rejoice. The singer wasn’t supposed to stop by NYC until his Barclays Center concert in August 2019. Those who thought they’d have to wait a year to see him might want to enter the ticket lottery as soon as possible.

Shawn Mendes fans don't have to wait until 2019 to see him perform in New York City. Photo Credit: Getty Images for SiriusXM / Neilson Barnard

John Legend

Not quite a headliner, but GCF promises a special guest performance by the “All of Me” singer.

John Legend has been announced as a special guest performer for the Global Citizen Festival. Photo Credit: Getty Images for Airbnb / Jerod Harris