NYC’s 10 Best Summer Concert Series’ | NYC Summer Music Festivals

Most would agree that music festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella are an amazing time had by all. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford $600 tickets and trips across the country. That’s why we put together a list of the best summer concert series’ in NYC, so you New Yorkers out there can have a good time (and still make it to work on Monday). Most of these NYC summer music festivals are free, so that’s pretty cool, too. Summer on, New York. Summer on.

celebrate brooklyn 1. Celebrate Brooklyn

WHERE: Prospect Park Bandshell, Brooklyn

WHEN: June 4- August 9

WHO: Lake Street Dive, The National, Neutral Milk Hotel, Janelle Monae, Patti Smith, Dum Dum Girls, Talib Kweli, Nickel Creek, St. Vincent

WHY: The 36th season of Celebrate Brooklyn! at the Prospect Park Bandshell will have a star-studded line-up including the R&B-soul-pop phenom Janelle Monae, reunited bluegrass superstars Nickel Creek, a tribute to jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman, the otherworldly St. Vincent, as well as salsa, movies, dance, hip-hop, reggae, jazz, rock, folk and much, much more.

northside2. Northside Festival

WHERE: McCarren Park, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

WHEN: June 12-19

WHO: Animal Collective, Beirut, Beach Fossils, Chvrches, Dan Croll, Mac DeMarco, Sharon Van Etten, Talb Kweli, Thee Oh Sees, Titus Andronicus, The War On Drugs and more.

WHY: The Northside Festival is New York City’s largest and most accessible discovery festival. Every year, hundreds of bands, entrepreneurs, filmmakers, innovators, and over 80,000 fans converge on Brooklyn over eight days to witness an incredible showcase of what’s next in music, film, entrepreneurship and art.

summerstage 3. Summerstage Festival

WHERE: Central Park, Manhattan

WHEN: June 28- August 16

WHO: Blood Orange, Passenger, Andrew Bird, Bonobo, Gary Clark Jr, Gavin DeGraw and more.

WHY: SummerStage’s American and World music program has earned an international reputation for its consistent excellence and a diversity of styles and influences found at no other performing arts festival or venue. Over the years, SummerStage has hosted music legends as well as emerging artists whose SummerStage performance provided significant exposure.

mlk jr concert series4. Martin Luther King Jr Concert Series

WHERE: Wingate Field, Brooklyn

WHEN: July 15 to August 19

WHO: TBA

WHY: The Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series offers the best in R&B and gospel music, and best of all it’s free. Last year’s series included Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Gladys Knight, and Toni Braxton, to name a few.

bushwick block party

5. Bushwick Collective Block Party

WHERE: Troutman St between St. Nicholas and Wyckoff Aves, Bushwick, Brooklyn

WHEN: June 1

WHO: Fletcher C Johnson, Tournament, Pampers, Naam and more.

WHY: For the eighth time this year, Bushwick will tranform into one big fun artsy block party thanks to Bushwick Open Studios. And when I say block party, I mean an actual block party. They’ll bring awesome bands, street artists, food trucks and hopefully lots of sunshine as well.

mad decent6. Mad Decent Block Party

WHERE: MCU Park, Coney Island, Brooklyn

WHEN: August 9

WHO: Dillon Francis, Diplo, Flosstradamus, Grandtheft, Walshy Fire, and more to be announced

WHY: The Mad Decent Block Party emerged in 2008 as an annual block party started by Diplo and thrown for the local Philadelphia community. Focused around pushing new and local acts, Mad Decent Block Parties quickly grew from a small annual event to a cross-continental tour drawing hundreds of thousands of fans.

house of vans7. House of Vans

WHERE:  25 Franklin Street, Brooklyn

WHEN: June 12-August 14

WHO: Charles Bradley, Mac Demarco, STRFKR, Poolside and many more to be announced.

WHY: Free beer—yes, free beer—will be provided, and all shows are totally gratis (we don’t need to remind you to get there early, right?).

afropunk8. Afropunk Fest

WHERE: Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn

WHEN: August 23-24

WHO: TBA

WHY: Described by the New York Times as “the most multicultural festival in the US,” the festival stage is always studded with music’s most distinct acts. Rivaling those of the past, last years line-up featured New Orleans bounce artist Big Freedia, NYC’s downtown darling Mykki Blanco and festival veteran Saul Williams. This isn’t to mention hip-hop heavyweights Danny Brown, Jean Grae and Chuck D—just a few more who held it down.

americanafest nyc9. Americanafest NYC

WHEN: Aug. 6-10

WHERE: Damrosch Park Bandshell, Manhattan

WHO: Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Robert Ellis, Tift Merritt, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale and more.

WHY: The Americana Music Association has partnered with Lincoln Center Out of Doors to launch Americanafest NYC, a series of free concerts with some of Americana music’s biggest stars. In addition to performances, several stars, as well as up-and-coming artists, will participate in symposiums and film screenings.

lowdown hudson blues festival10. Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival

WHERE: Brookfield Place Plaza, Waterfront Plaza, Mannhattan

WHEN: July 16-17

WHO: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, The Robert Cray Band, John Hiatt and more.

WHY: Taking place at the Brookfield Place Waterfront Plaza alongside the Hudson River, the two-day Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival is New York City’s only free summer blues festival.

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