There’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:
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!)
Friday, July 23rd & Saturday, July 24th, 8pm The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
Sunday, August 1st, 3pm St.Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, & Basia Bulat
Thursday, July 22nd, Gates 6pm The Antlers & Dinosaur Feathers
Thursday, August 12th, Gates 6pm Deerhunter
Notes: Get updates at @HudsonRiverPark about cancellations or changes.
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
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?