Free Summer Concerts in NYC

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phpc9vIxHPMThere’s nothing like summer in New York City.  It doesn’t matter how much money you make.  Every summer free music is offered all over the city and it’s at your fingertips, easily accessible all over the city.  NYC attracts the world’s best artists to perform for the masses and the offerings are unreal.

I’ve seen some of my favorite artists perform for free in the city – everyone from Freedy Johnson &  Annie Lenox in Central Park to David Byrne at the Bandshell in Brooklyn.  Even U2 gave a free concert one year in Brooklyn at the Empire Fulton Ferry State Park in 2004.  I’ve been introduced to some of my faves, as well, like Paris Combo and They Might Be Giants.  I’ve even caught up with some of my faves from my youth like Blondie and Joan Jett.

When I first moved to NYC, the venues weren’t nearly as crowded as they are today.  The whole “free” message seems to have caught on with the general public and everyone flocks to these shows.  It’s important to get to your chosen venue early and nab your space.  Take a blanket and picnic, grab some drinks and prepare to spend the afternoon or evening listening to great music with your friends and family.

Here are the primary venues to check out before you hit NYC this summer, as well as some of the performances coming down the pipeline:

Celebrate Brooklyn! 2010 Season at the Prospect Park Bandshell

Friday, July 30th, 7:30pm The Swell Season/The Low Anthem

Saturday, July 31st, 7pm Sonic Youth/Grass Widow/Talk Normal

Saturday, August 7th, 7pm Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

Sunday, August 8th, 4pm  Celebrate Brooklyn’s Annual Ezra Keats Family Concert with Brady Rymer & Elizabeth Gilbert (This is a kiid’s concert!)

Note: Rain or shine.  Admission is on a first come, first serve basis.

Central Park SummerStage

Wednesday, July 21st, 7pm Comedy Central Park Presents the Daily Show and Friends

Friday, July 23rd & Saturday, July 24th, 8pm The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater

Sunday, August 1st, 3pm St.Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, & Basia Bulat

Sunday, August 22nd, 3pm The Specials, Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears and $mall ¢hange

Note: Rain or shine.  Admission is on a first come, first serve basis.

Hudson River Park’s River Rocks

Thursday, July 22nd, Gates 6pm The Antlers & Dinosaur Feathers

Thursday, August 12th, Gates 6pm Deerhunter

Notes: Get updates at @HudsonRiverPark about cancellations or changes.

Lincoln Center Out of Doors

Sunday, August 1st, 6pm David Johansen, Melvin Van Peebles: Hamlet: The Street Chant by Shel Silverstein, Steve Cuiffo as Lenny Bruce, Rod Harrison as Lord Buckley

Friday, August 13th, 7:30pm Kronos Quartet with Special Guest Gamelan Galak Tika

Note: These concerts are being held in the Damrosch Park Bandshell.  Please read the schedule carefully as the concert locations vary.

Madison Square Park Conservancy

Wednesday, July 21st, 6pm SOMI, John Ellis & Double-Wide

Wednesday, July 28th, 6pm The Wailin’ Jennys

Wednesday, August 4th, The James Carter Organ Trio

Seaside Park, Brighton Beach

Thursday, July 22nd The Beach Boys, Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees, The Turtles & Mark Lindsay, former lead singer of Paul Revere & the Raiders

Thursday, August 5th John Legend

Thursday, August 12th Aretha Franklin

Thursday, August 19th The B-52s with Belinda Carlisle from the Go-Go’s

Note: Rent a deck chair for $5 or bring your own.

After a night at one of these shows or the others listed on the sites above, you’ll be sure to remember that you either live or are visiting the greatest city on earth.  Where else would you get this kind of night for FREE?

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