Hard to believe it's already June, and while this year's Gov Ball has already come and gone, the music is just starting to move to the great outdoors. Below is a preview of some of our favorites - check out our Summertime list on the right for updates throughout the summer.
Celebrate Brooklyn: (June 5-August 11) NYC's best outdoor music venue celebrates it's 40th year with another stellar lineup that kicks off with Chicago rapper (and Microsoft shill) Common on 6/5. Other free shows include Aimee Mann (6/21), Branford Marsalis (6/29), Kronos Quartet (7/14), and a stellar closing weekend with Godspeed YOU! Black Emperor (8/10) and The Breeders with Speedy Ortiz (8/11). Benefit shows this year include a killer double bill with Grizzly Bear and Spoon (6/20), The Decemberists with M. Ward (6/13), and Courtney Barnett with Julien Baker and Vagabon (7/25).
Northside Festival (June 7-10): Northside is now a decade old, and the clubs will be jammed across Williamsburg and Bushwick with the latest in cutting edge music, alongside stalwarts such as Caspian, Deerhoof, and Liz Phair. Sunday afternoon brings a Block Party to Bedford Ave, with bands and vendors running all the way to Metropolitan Ave.
NY Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks (June 12-17): What were you doing when you were 11 years old? Well, if you're Jordan Millar and Camryn Cowan, you're having your music played by the New York Philharmonic at this year's parks concerts, courtesy of the Phil's Very Young Composers program. (They also play music by Bernstein, Saint-Saens, and Rimsky-Korsakov.) The Phil visits all five boroughs next week with conductor James Gaffigan; details here.
SummerStage (June 2-September 27): This sprawling series returns with a wide spectrum of music performed in parks across all five boroughs, most of it free. Highlights include a Canada Day celebration headlined by Broken Social Scene (7/1), Afrobeat scion Femi Kuti and Positive Force (7/29), a New Orleans fest with Trombone Shorty, Galactic, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and (8/8), and Angelique Kidjo covering The Talking Heads (9/27).
Make Music New York (June 21): Celebrate the longest day of the year with this citywide musical happening, with performances on street corners, plazas and parks from sun-up to sundown.
Warm Up at MoMA PS1 (June 30-September 1): NYC's best tea dance enters its third decade at MoMA PS1, with an architectural installation featuring large-scale, interactive mirrors - and hopefully some misters. Tickets include museum admission. (LI City residents get in for free.)
Tanglewood (July 6-August 26): Among all of the organizations around the world celebrating Leonard Bernstein's centenary this year, none holds a greater claim to his legacy than Tanglewood, where Lenny began his career as a member of the inaugural class of the Berkshire Music Center (later the Tanglewood Music Center), and returned each summer for more than 5o years, right up through his very last concert in 1990. Among the many performances dedicated to Lenny's music this summer, the absolute highlight will be a star-studded concert on what would have been his 100th birthday (August 25), featuring the BSO and TMC Orchestra playing alongside members of the New York, Vienna, and Israel Philharmonics, as well as the two student orchestras Lenny founded: the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, and Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra. Among the dozen or so musicians participating will be several alumni of Bernstein's 70th Birthday Concert held at Tanglewood in 1988, including Midori, Yo-Yo Ma, Michael Tilson Thomas, and John Williams.
Panorama (July 27-29): Panorama returns to Randall's Island for a third year, with headliners The Weeknd, Janet Jackson and The Killers performing alongside an eclectic lineup including The XX, David Byrne, Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes, and St. Vincent. Ticket info here.
Bard Summerscape (June 30-August 20): As is often the case, Bard is the place to go deep and narrow into some of music's more obscure offerings. Highlights this summer include a new ballet of T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, with music written by Kaija Saariaho (7/6-7/8), a festival devoted to the music of Rimsky-Korsakov (8/10-8/19), and a new production of Leonard Bernstein's long-lost version of Peter Pan (6/28-7/22).
Mostly Mozart (July 25-August 20): With last year's shuttering of the Lincoln Center Festival, Mostly Mozart has expanded to five weeks, and is now NYC's sole summer outlet for classical music. Along with plenty of Mozart (Piano concertos 17 and 25, the Prague and Jupiter symphonies, the Requiem), Mostly Mozart pays tribute to Bernstein with documentary screenings, orchestral performances, and a new production of MASS. And, John Luther Adams has written a new work for 800 singers, In the Name of the Earth, to be performed outdoors in Central Park on 8/11. Simon Halsey, who also led David Lang's the public domain in 2016, conducts.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors (July 24-August 12): For nearly half-a-century, Lincoln Center has been putting on a great lineup of shows in their very own bandshell, Damrosch Park. This year's series kicks off Shaolin-style with Wu-Tang Clan's RZA (7/24), then continues with Raphael Saadiq (7/25), Carly Rae Jepsen (8/1), the Sun Ra Arkestra (8/8), and a healthy dose of music from Iran, Africa, Mexico, and around the world. Best part: it's all free.
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival (August 24-26): The city's best summer jazz is presented over three days in Marcus Garvey and Tompkins Square Parks, with performances by Gary Bartz, Monty Alexander, The Bad Plus, Catherine Russell and more. Free.
Afropunk Festival (August 25-26) Now in its second decade, Afropunk has become a worldwide phenomenon, with outposts in London, Paris, Atlanta and Johannesburg. But, Brooklyn is Afropunk's home, and this year's lineup might be its best yet, with performances by Eykah Badu, Janelle Monae, Tyler the Creator, and more.
Octfest (Sept 8-9) NYC's newest outdoor fest, a collaboration between Pitchfork and the beer culture website October, expands to a two-day lineup for its second edition, which this year features The Flaming Lips, Vince Staples, Yo La Tengo, Nile Rodgers, and No Age. And, if that's not enough, each ticket includes fifteen 3 oz. samples of craft beer. Sounds like an Oktoberfest for the ages!