It's up in the mid-80's today in NYC, which has got me thinking about my favorite time of year: summer, when all sorts of amazing music heads outdoors. In addition to some of our old faves - Celebrate Brooklyn, Summerstage, Warm Up - there are some exciting new additions this summer, such as Industry City's new Summer Series. Sadly, there are also several casualties this year, including Williamsburg's Northside Festival and Panorama. R.I.P.
Below are some highlights; check out our Summertime list on the right for updates throughout the summer.
Celebrate Brooklyn: (June 4-August 10) My personal favorite of all the free NYC music festivals - and not just because it's walking distance from my apartment - Celebrate Brooklyn returns to the Prospect Park bandshell for it's 41st season with an eclectic lineup including R&B, Latin, indie, and roots music, most of it free. Highlights include a blockbuster opening night with Patti LaBelle (6/4), a double bill with Liz Phair and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (6/29), bluegrass supergroup I'm With Her (Aiofe O'Donovan, Sarah Jarosz, and Sara Watkins, 7/18) and Canadian stalwarts Broken Social Scene (7/25). Benefit shows include The National with Courtney Barnett (6/12&13), Father John Misty with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (6/19) and Mac DeMarco (8/6).
SummerStage (June 1-September 24): SummerStage gets a facelift this summer with a (long overdue) $5.5 million renovation to Rumsey Playfield, including a new stage, sound system, lighting and raised bleacher seating. Lineup includes Durand Jones and the Invitations (who we caught twice at SXSW in March, 6/1) Parquet Courts (6/8), Big Freedia (6/13) and Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane and Matt Garrison with Brandee Younger (6/15).
Rite of Music Summer Festival (June 1 - Sept. 7) Governor's Ball has long since outgrown it's original home on Governor's Island, but you can still take the ferry to see live music once a month this summer with this free new music festival, now in it's 9th year. Performers include Ensemble Connect (6/1), Sandbox Percussion (7/6), Go: Organic Orchestra and Brooklyn Raga Massive (8/10), and Sirius Quartet (9/7); performances take place at 1 and 3pm.
Met Opera Summer Recital Series (June 10-19): It's not the same as when they used to do full operas in the parks, but if you want the Met experience on the cheap, go check out one of these free recitals, which take place in all five boroughs. Among the top flight singers are Ying Fang, Nathan Gunn, Leah Hawkins, and Joseph Lim.
NY Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks (June 11-16): Music Director Jaap van Zweden is sticking around this summer to lead the parks concerts in all five boroughs, with a program including Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 and Copland's "Hoe-Down" from Rodeo. Followed by fireworks, of course.
Warm Up at MoMA PS1 (July 6–August 31): Now in it's 22nd year, Warm Up will fill up the courtyard of PS1 every Saturday this summer, featuring more than 75 artists including Fuego, Sho Madjozi, The Marías, Kelly Lee Owens, Smino, Eris Drew, Martinez Brothers, Michael Brun, FLOORPLAN, and Mall Grab, as well as an opening day headlining set by collaborators Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, the first U.S. performance by Nigerian artist Santi, and a rare U.S. appearance by BBC DJ Annie Mac. Tickets include museum admission. (As always, LI City residents get in for free.)
Industry City Summer Series (June 5-Sept 28): This new series, curated by the good folks at The Bell House, features an indie and international-centric lineup including Bombino (6/13) Blonde Redhead (6/14), Jeff the Brotherhood + Speedy Ortiz (6/20), Screaming Females (6/28) and more.
Forest Hills Stadium (5/25-9/14): It's been around for a few years now, but this amphitheater - formerly home of the US Open - has become one of the better venues for outdoor music in the city. This summer's lineup includes Death Cab for Cutie + Jenny Lewis (6/15), The Lumineers with The Revivalists and Sharon van Etten (6/22), Elvis Costello and Blondie (7/24) My Morning Jacket with Warpaint (8/10), and Morrissey with Interpol (9/7).
Make Music New York (June 21): Once again, NYC celebrates the summer solstice with this citywide musical happening, with performances on street corners, plazas and parks from sun-up to sundown.
Mostly Mozart (July 10-August 10): Mostly Mozart gets moved up a couple of weeks this year, but the schedule is no less packed with opera, ballet, orchestral and chamber music by Mozart and (many) others, performed by the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and more.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors (July 24-August 11): Free live music returns to Damrosch Park this summer, with a flavorful blend of soul, folk, jazz, indie rock and more. Highlights include Jeff Tweedy (7/26), Patty Griffin (8/10) and an NPR-produced lineup of women performers including Rhiannon Giddens, Lizz Wright and Terri Lyne Carrington (7/31).
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival (August 23-25): The city's only free summer jazz festival (this one will cost you) returns for it's 27th year, featuring three free days of music in Marcus Garvey and Tompkins Square Parks. Headliners include Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ravi Coltrane, George Coleman, Fred Hersch, and Carl Allen's Art Blakey Tribute.
Afropunk Festival (Aug 24-25) Now an international phenomenon, Afropunk returns to Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park for it's 14th year, featuring an Afrocentric lineup of artists including Jill Scott, Leon Bridges, Toro y Moi, FKA Twigs, Santigold, Kamasi Washington, Gary Clark, Jr. and more. You can either buy your way in or Earn a Ticket as a volunteer through AP Army; details here.
Of course, there will be lots of amazing music outside the city, including our old favorites Tanglewood, Caramoor, Newport, Mass MoCA, and more. But, with so much going on right here, it almost seems a shame to leave. Almost.