Bronx Underground Festival
Hip-hop, indie rock, skateboarding, dancing and more will happen this summer as part of the Bronx Underground Festival, a series of events taking place in the fest’s namesake borough and beyond. Check out the June 21 outdoor concert at Orchard Beach or the May 29 dance parties where an ’80s outfit will get you reduced admission.
May 27 through Aug. 1, various locations, www.bronxunderground; times vary, $TBA
Bang on a Can Marathon
Tired of the same old same old? Check out 12 hours of non-stop mind bending music from some of the weirdest international musicians including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Bill Frisell, Paul Hillier, Andrew Cyrille and Henry Grimes all behind the Bang on a Can All Stars.
May 31, World Financial Center Winter Garden, 200 Vesey St., 718-852-7755; noon to midnight, FREE
Take a break from staring at sunbathers and softball players on the Great Lawn and get over to SummerStage for see a free show with M.Ward, Mike Watt & Nels Cline, Bela Fleck or Ginuwine. You’ll have to pay to see TV on the Radio, the Indigo Girls or Explosions in the Sky, but they’re worth it, right?
June 5 through Aug. 15, Central Park Summer Stage, enter park at E. 63rd St., 212-360-2756; times vary, FREE
Get a blanket and a Frisbee and head over to Prospect Park for some of the best free shows of the summer. David Byrne opens the season on June 8 to play some stuff he’s done with Brian Eno. Don’t miss Dr. Dog & These United States on June 27, They Might Be Giants on July 11, Buckwheat Zydeco on July 24 and a screening and sing-along of Purple Rain on Aug. 6.
June 8 through Aug. 8, Prospect Park Bandshell, 9th St. & Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, 718-855-7882; times vary, FREE
The 14th Annual multi-dimensional Downtown arts festival includes over 50 music and dance performances in one week. Quit pouting about the defunct JVC Jazz Festival and get over to Vision for some free jazz and a glass of bourbon on the side. Don’t miss the tribute to Philadelphia jazz legend Marshall Allen on June 10.
June 9 through 15, Abrons Arts Center 466 Grand St., 212-254-5420; times vary, $20-$30 per show
Madison Square Music
Starting in June, the crowds in Madison Square Park might not be there for Shake Shack. Well, not just for Shake Shack. The Madison Square Music series opens with a performance from Loudon Wainwright, his sister Sloan Wainwright and daughter Lucy Wainwright Roche, and over the summer other events will include a concert from Missy Raines and The New Hip paired with a barbecue pit as well as Grammy winner Raul Malo.
June 17 through Aug. 5, Madison Square Park, www.madisonsquarepark.org; times vary, FREE
Make Music New York
Celebrate the first day of summer when hundreds of musicians in New York (and more worldwide) all take part in the Make Music Festival. There’s plenty going on, but we’ll be front and center when Governor’s Island shoves a safety pin through its nose as over 70 local punk bands beat each other up in the sun. Take the ferry over and help all the bored girlfriends cheer some bands.
June 21, various locations, www.makemusicny.org; 11 a.m. to 10, FREE
CityParks presents free concerts in every borough throughout the summer. Some highlights include Sugarhill Gang at Queensbridge Park in Queens on July 14, Man Man at East River Park in Manhattan on July 16, KRS-One at Crotona Park in the Bronx on July 22, Frankie Negron at Red Hook Park in Brooklyn on Aug. 4, Raekwon at Mahoney Playground in Staten Island on Aug. 12.
July 2 through Aug. 26, various locations, www.cityparksfoundation.org; times
South Street Seaport Music Festival
Nothing beats getting a 32-ounce beer at Jeremy’s Ale House and walking over to Pier 17 on a warm Friday night for a free show—DJs go on first, bands follow an hour later—with the city at your back. This year’s Seaport schedule features Black Moth Super Rainbow, Blank Dogs, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Obits, Superchunk, Versus, Casiokids and more.
July 3 through Aug. 14, Pier 17, Fulton & South Sts., 212-732-7678 www.seaportmusicfestival.com; 7, FREE
Launched in 2005, this festival features music, film, skateboarding and more. Previously concerts have included Janelle Monae and Little Jackie, and this year’s lineup will feature Earl Grey Hound, a repeat performance from Monae and eight days of inspired film programming.
July 3 through 7, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Ave., at Ashland Pl, Brooklyn, www.afropunk.com; times
Watch the sun go down behind some indie-rock favorites at the annual music series at Hudson River Park’s Pier 54. This year’s headliners include Matt & Kim on July 9, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists on July 23 and Yeasayer on Aug. 13.
July 9 through Aug. 13, Hudson River Park, Pier 54, Perry & West Sts., 212-627-2020; times vary, FREE
New York Philharmonic in the Parks
For a week in July, the New York Philharmonic plays outdoor shows at Central Park’s Great Lawn (July 14 and 17), Prospect Park in Brooklyn (July 15) and Van Cortland Park in the Bronx (July 16). You’ll hear selections from Mozart, Beethoven and Mahler.
July 14 through 17, various locations, 212-875-5656, www.nyphil.org; times vary, FREE
Rock the Bells
Take the day off from watching Half Baked over and over on Comedy Central, get over to Jones Beach to see a reunited House of Pain play with Nas, Damian Marley, the Roots, Common, Big Boi (OutKast), KRS-One, Reflection Eternal (Talib Kweli & DJ Hi-Tek) and the RZA.
July 19, Nikon Theatre at Jones Beach, Long Island, 516-221-1000, www.jonesbeach.com; time TBA, $40.50-$197
All Points West
If you can afford putting up with Coldplay fans and drinking corrals, get out of the city and take the ferry out to Liberty State Park for a three day lineup featuring great bands of the past, present and future. Headliners include the Beastie Boys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, Tool, My Bloody Valentine, Gogol Bordello, Coldplay, Echo & the Bunnymen and MGMT.
July 31 through Aug. 2, Liberty State Park, Jersey City, 201-915-3440,
www.apwfestival.com; noon-11:30, $89 a day, 3-day pass for $199)
Lincoln Center Out of Doors
The annual festival returns with live music, dance, puppet shows, readings and parties that make going uptown more than worthwhile. Highlights include the Aug. 6 “Hip-Hop Generation Next” event with a performance from Sierra Leone’s Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew as well as the Aug. 8 performance from post-punk pioneers Liquid Liquid.
Aug. 5 through 23, Damrosch Park, Amsterdam Avenue at W. 62nd Street, www.lincolncenter.org; times vary, FREE
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
Frank Wess Quintet, Gary Bartz, Papo Vazquez Pirates Troubadors and the Dred Scott Trio will all perform during this two-day festival dedicated to bringing big-name jazz performers into the parks—Harlem’s Marcus Garvey and the East Village’s Tompkins Square—that Parker lived and worked near.
Aug. 29 & 30, Marcus Garvey Park, enter park at E. 120th St. & Madison Ave., and Tompkins Square Park, enter park at E. 10th St. & Avenue A; 3, FREE
Fifteen weeks of free performances on mysterious, but supposedly charming Roosevelt Island will include Alex Battles & The Whiskey Rebellion, Frances, Chicha Libre and Cynthia Hopkins. You can take the F train, but doesn’t the tram seem a little more exciting?
Saturdays through Sept. 5, Riverwalk Commons, 455 Main St., Roosevelt Island; www.rooseveltlive.com; 4, FREE