Free Concerts in New York – Summer 2014 – St. Vincent, Temples, Thee Oh Sees, Dr. John, Yellowbirds, Warpaint, Courtney Barnett, Andrew Bird, Amanda Palmer, Mac Demarco, Sharon Jones, Gary Clark Jr, many more

New York endured an unusually frigid and snowy winter in 2014. Nevermind that, now it’s time to embrace the warmth of the sun and take in some tunes in the fresh air. Tons of bands are playing the region this summer: Phish at Randall’s Island (July 11-13th); Neutral Milk Hotel (July 22-23rd) and Nick Cave & the Bad Seed (July 26th), among many others, at Prospect Park; Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails at Jones Beach (July 30th); Modest Mouse at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium (August 9th); Spoon (Sept 10th) and Portugal. The Man/Grouplove/Typhoon (Sept 16th) at Central Park. Then there’s indoor shows – Beck with Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger at Hammerstein, Yes with Syd Arthur at Radio City Music Hall, Guided By Voices at Irving Plaza, Arcade Fire at Barclays, Tobacco and Polyphonic Spree at Brooklyn Bowl, Tom Petty at MSG, Oneida at Glasslands and so many more – but these are all ticketed events. Luckily for those on a budget there’s a slew of free options. In fact, when it comes to first class music without price-tag, no region of the world can compete with the New York metropolitan area. OK, so maybe the free concert series are not what they used to be – McCarren Park Pools 2006 forever ever – but there’s still enough on the schedule this year to suggest it’s time to start marking your calendar and filling in your date book.

Must see shows include Spoon at Le Poisson Rouge on June 9th for a NPR broadcast; Thee Oh Sees at Brooklyn’s Northside Festival on June 14th (the rest of the fest is ticketed, but their set is free); Phish’s full concert for Letterman on June 24th (if you can score the limited free tickets); the always fabulous Yellowbirds (no pun intended) with Warpaint in Prospect Park on June 26th; the legendary Patti Smith at Rockaway Arts Fest on June 29th; Sharon Jones headlining the Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival on July 16th; Temples and Here We Go Magic at Pier 84 on August 7th and St. Vincent at Prospect Park on August 9th. This year’s free concerts at Central Park SummerStage include Andrew Bird on July 8th; Bobono and Cibo Matto on July 13th; Steve Earle, Amanda Palmer and others tribute to Pete Seeger on July 21st; and Dr. John on August 2nd. The Surf Lodge on the Eastern end of Long Island has free shows every Sunday, including Courtney Barnett on June 15th, Real Estate on June 22nd and Gary Clark Jr on July 13th. And finally, there’s two chances to catch Mac Demarco for free within the next few weeks: first with Charles Bradley at House of Vans on June 12th, then at the 4Knots Festival – headlined by Dinosaur Jr. – at South Street Seaport on July 12th.

Whether you are visiting the Big Apple this summer or live in the region, keep these free concerts in mind:

  • Wednesday, June 4 – Janelle Monae – Prospect Park Bandshell
  • Saturday, June 7 – Big Apple Barbecue Block Party ft. Lissie, The Roosevelts, Black Taxi – Madison Square Park
  • Sunday, June 8 – Big Apple Barbecue Block Party ft. JD McPherson, more – Madison Square Park
  • Monday, June 9 – Spoon (NPR taping) – Le Poisson Rouge
  • Thursday, June 12 – Charles Bradley, Mac Demarco – House of Vans (25 Franklin Street, Brooklyn)
  • Thursday, June 12 – Celebrate Ornette: The Music Of Ornette Coleman ft. Denardo Coleman Vibe – Prospect Park Bandshell
  • Saturday June 14 – Thee Oh Sees – McCarren Park (Northside Festival)
  • Sunday, June 15 – Courtney Barnett – Surf Lodge (Montauk, LI)
  • Wednesday, June 18 – Nicole Atkins – Madison Square Park
  • Thursday, June 19 – The Ohio Players – Metrotech Center (Brooklyn)
  • Friday, June 20 – Amos Lee, Lake Street Dive – Prospect Park Bandshell
  • Saturday, June 21 – Dum Dum Girls, Hospitality, TEEN – Prospect Park Bandshell
  • Sunday June 22 – Real Estate – Surf Lodge (Montauk, LI)
  • Tuesday, June 24 – Phish – Live on Letterman (free, but must win tickets)
  • Tuesday, June 24 – John Doe (album release) – Hudson Square Free Music
  • Tuesday, June 24 – Kaki King, Ethel – Winter Garden
  • Thursday, June 26 – Warpaint, Yellowbirds – Prospect Park Bandshell
  • Friday, June 27 – Shovels and Rope, Valerie June, Shakey Graves – Prospect Park Bandshell
  • Sunday, June 29 – Patti Smith – Rockaway Arts Fest
  • Sunday, June 29 – Jon Batiste, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – Summerstage
  • Wednesday, July 2 – Au Revoir Simone – MoMA
  • Thursday, July 3 – The Black Lips, Nightbirds – House of Vans (Brooklyn)
  • Saturday, July 5 – Robert Glasper Experiment Featuring Talib Kweli / Glenn Kotche / Aja Monet – Prospect Park Bandshell
  • Tuesday, July 8 – Andrew Bird – Summerstage
  • Thursday, July 10 – Wild Beasts, Mutual Benefit – Pier 84
  • Friday, July 11 – Titus Andronicus – Brooklyn Night Bazaar
  • Friday, July 11 – Dickey Betts and Great Southern – Tanner Park (Copiague, LI)
  • Friday, July 11 – Gin Blossoms – John J Burns Park (Massapequa, LI)
  • Saturday, July 12 – 4Knots ft. Dinosaur Jr, Mac Demarco, Speedy Ortiz, more – South Street Seaport
  • Saturday, July 12 – The Men – Union Pool (Brooklyn)
  • Saturday, July 12 – San Fermin – Surf Lodge (Montauk, LI)
  • Sunday, July 13 – Bobono, Cibo Matto – Summerstage
  • Sunday, July 13 – Gary Clark Jr – Surf Lodge (Montauk, LI)
  • Monday, July 14 – Bret Michaels – John J Burns Park (Massapequa, LI)
  • Wednesday, July 16 – Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival ft. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Robert Cray, John Hiatt, more – Brookfield Place
  • Sunday, July 20 – Pete Seeger Memorial Concert – Damrosch Bandshell
  • Monday, July 21 – New Songs of Justice: An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger ft. Amanda Palmer, Steve Earle, Sarah Lee Guthrie, Anti-Flag, more – Summerstage
  • Wednesday, July 23 – Jon Cleary – Madison Square Park
  • Thursday, July 24 – Alabama Shakes – Terminal 5
  • Thursday, July 24 – Teenage Fanclub – Pier 84
  • Friday, July 25 – Kings of Leon – GMA Summer Concert: Rumsey Playfield
  • Saturday, July 26 – Vijay Iyer Trio – Hecksher Park (Huntington, LI)
  • Wednesday, July 30 – Sean Lennon’s Ghost of a Saber Tooth Toger, Nymph- 
  • Saturday, August 2 – Dr. John, Hurray For the Riff Raff – Summerstage
  • Thursday, August 7 – Temples/ Here We Go Magic – Pier 84
  • Saturday, August 9 – Temples – Surf Lodge (Montauk, LI)
  • Saturday, August 9 – St. Vincent, San Fermin – Prospect Park Bandshell
  • Saturday, August 9 – Rosanne Cash/The Lone Bellow/Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale – Damrosch Park Bandshell
  • Sunday, August 10 – Charles Bradley, more – Damrosch Park
  • Bandshell
  • Friday, August 15 – Neon Trees – NBC’s Today Show Summer Concerts: Rockefeller Center
  • Saturday, August 16 – Blue Oyster Cult – John J Burns Park (Massapequa, LI)

Venue links for additional information
Prospect Park 
House of Vans 
The Surf Lounge 
Hudson River Park
Madison Square Park 
City Winery 
Brookfield Place
SummerStage: Rumsey Playfield in Central Park
GMA Summer Concert: Rumsey Playfield in Central Park
Northside Festival
4Knots Festival
Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

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