If you were part of the massive crowd that congregated in the East Village on Sunday, topping the madness of Kanye West’s attempted Webster Hall performance is tough, but one perk of living in a crowded mecca like New York is that there are constant opportunities to mastermind a Hangover-style evening for you and the crew.
Even if you’re strapped for cash, you can still be front and center at some of the best performances of the summer. Thanks to a number of corporate and city-funded initiatives, warm weather in NYC means free events almost every night. For the most part, all it takes is an RSVP, a metro pass and the patience to navigate big crowds and long lines.
Here are a few we’re looking forward to…
The Surf Lodge
A Montauk staple since 1967, The Surf Lodge has established itself as a summer nightlife institution where frosty beverages and intimate concerts featuring rising and established talent reign supreme. Last year the sleepy surf town saw the likes of Lolawolf, Tove Lo and Chromeo bless the Lodge stage, and this year’s lineup is pretty beast, too. City dwellers can visit for a day or plan to stay and enjoy the Bohemian digs and in-house restaurant…
June 11 – The Strumbellas
June 12 – Whilk and Misky
June 18 – Lewis Del Mar
June 19 – Oh Wonder
June 25 – Porches
June 26 – Mayer Hawthorne
July 1 – Milky Chance
July 3– St. Lucia
July 4 – Boy & Bear
July 4 – Lion Babe
July 8 – Lucius
July 9 – Sunflower Bean
July 10 – G. Love
July 16 – Saint Motel
July 17 – Hurray For The Riff Raff
July 17 – Brett Dennen
July 23 – Dreamers
July 24 – Bombino
July 30 – Brazilian Girls
July 31 – Donavon Frankenreiter
August 6 – Nothing But Thieves
August 7 – Bebel Gilberto
August 13 – The London Souls
August 14 – Hiatus Kaiyote
August 27 – Gallant
August 28 – Wild Belle
September 2 – Beach Slang
September 3 – Gary Clark Jr.
183 Edgemere Street
Samsung @ 837
Only a few months ago Samsung’s 837 space launched as a store that offered more – specifically enriching events that exist at the intersection of culture and technology. Last Thursday, things kicked off with a free concert featuring a performance from Diplo and a guest appearance from Gwen Stefani. Now through the remainder of summer, 837 will host live performances every Thursday, so make sure to check the schedule frequently for updates. Some of the names currently on the roster include Phantogram, Saint Lucia, Tegan & Sara and more.
In addition to free music, 837 offers workshops for home and technology, and food and fitness initiatives including group runs, post workout cool-downs, meditation sessions and more.
We’ve already seen numerous articles about whether the “influencer” bubble is about to burst, but now you can hear from the influencers and the agencies that deal with them firsthand. Wednesday, June 8, conversational restaurant review hub, The Infatuation, sits down with Patrick Janelle (@AGuyNamedPatrick), Karen Robinovitz, Co-Founder/CCO of Digital Brand Architects, and Rob Fishman, Co-Founder of Niche and Daniel Saynt, Founder & CEO of Socialyte – The Influencer Agency.
Lunch will be provided by Stand Coffee and Ramen Burger, though it’s not guaranteed as seating and food is on a first-to-come basis. RSVP through the link above.
Mondays – Wanderlust Meditation
End the toughest day of the week with a weekly meditation series on 837’s new terrace space. You’ll enjoy views of the Highline while re-centering with different local and international instructors.
Tuesdays – Cool Down at 837
If you’re attending Meatpacking’s free “Sweat Sessions” head over to 837 for a post workout cool down; they’ll provide small bites and healthy beverages. RSVP through the link above.
Thursdays – The Talkhouse Podcast
Every Thursday sit in on a rare conversation in which today’s most-recognized creators discuss each other’s work. The selected duos are comprised of people working in music and film, and are specifically chosen to encourage inter-generational and inter-disciplinary conversation. According to Samsung, the idea is “to promote dialogues between creators who may have never interacted otherwise.”
Thursdays – Free Concert Series
Celebrate Thirsty Thursday with sunshine, free music and an enthusiastic crowd. Now that Diplo has started things off, it can only get bigger, more epic, and hopefully more drunk.
Saturdays – 837 Run Club
Every weekend NYC runners gather in front of the 837 space to participate in a scenic jog along 5k or 5-mile routes. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry, all paces are welcome and encouraged to join. Additionally, twenty runners will get the opportunity to test out the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch. Sign up through the link above.
Sundays – Wanderlust Yoga
90 minutes of wondering why you aren’t more flexible await during Samsung’s Wanderlust-curated yoga sessions. Like the meditation series, this will take place in the open-air of 837’s newly-unveiled terrace.
837 Washington Street
New York, NY
Soul Summit Music
Sundays between 3pm and 8pm, Fort Greene Park is awash with music, dance, and the scent of smoky summer foods. It’s all because of Soul Summit Music, a collective of DJs who are always happy to spin for free. Music isn’t the only big attraction either; dance, fashion, film and photography are also deeply ingrained into the DNA of the 15-year-old festival.
Forte Greene Park
The independent non-profit City Parks Foundation is the mastermind behind SummerStage, the largest free concert and performance series in NYC. Started with the goal of channeling the city’s diversity on a large scale, the offerings range from classic hip-hop and jazz to opera, dance and film. Events take place at various locations so make sure to look through the calendar to find something in your area. We’ve also listed a few of the upcoming performances we’ve got on our radar.
June 15 – Just Blaze & Friends at Coffey Park, Brooklyn
June 18 – Kamasi Washington with Natasha Diggs of Soul in the Horn at Central Park
June 19 – Rich Medina with RAAA, Urban Word NYC & HI-ARTS at Coffey Park, Brooklyn
June 21 – Public Enemy with DJ Tedsmooth at Betsey Head Park, Brooklyn
June 23 – Duck Down Music BBQ at Betsey Head Park, Brooklyn
June 26 – Comedy Central Presents: The Daily Show Trevor Noah Stand-Up at Central Park
July 2 – Freedom Party NYC 13th Anniversary at Central Park
July 6 – Fat Joe with Tony Touch at Crotona Park, Bronx
July 10 – Rubble Kings Screening with DJ Kool Herc & Little Shalimer at Crotona Park, Bronx
July 31 – Rock Steady Crew 39th Anniversary with Doug E. Fresh & More at Central Park
August 9 – Neon Indian at East River Park
Aug 15 –Mbongwana Star with Batida, Young Paris & Electrafique (ft. DJ Underdog) at Central Park
August 17 – Saul Williams with Kimberly Nichole at Marcus Garvey Park
August 28 – GoldLink & Friends at Central Park
BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival
BRIC, Brooklyn’s foremost organizer of free programming, takes over Prospect Park’s bandshell every summer for a series of arts, performance and music-based events that are both educational and free. Let’s face it, nothing beats sitting on the grass with a cool breeze on your face while you listen to some live music.
June 18 – Violent Femmes with Kristen Hersh
July 7 – Red Baraat’s Brooklyn Mela
July 23 – Femi Kuti with Bombino
July 29 – Angelique Kidjo’s Tribute to Celia Cruz
July 30 – Digable Planet with Camp Lo
August 4 – Run Lola Run with Special Live Score
August 5 – Morgan Heritage with British Dependency
August 13 – Andra Day with Son Little
Prospect Park Bandshell
ABC Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
In addition to SummerStage, Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield also hosts GMA’s ongoing concert series, which returns for an eighth year this season. Every Friday through September from 7am to 9am, a special musical guest will bless the stage. All of the performances will of course take place live during the filming of Good Morning America. It will be chaos so if you’re really committed, try to get there early.
June 10 – Iggy Azalea
July 1 – Blink 182
July 22 – Sia
NBC Today Show Concert Series at Rockefeller
NBC’s answer to ABC’s summer concert series takes place at 49th Street Rockefeller Plaza, and also features a number of today’s most popular top 40 acts. Performances take place every Friday (with a few exceptions) through September during the filming of the Today Show. 6am arrival is suggested for hardcore fans who want the best view.
June 23 – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
September 2 – Alicia Keys
49th and Rockefeller Plaza
BAM R&B Festival
BAM’s lunchtime concert series is in its second decade, and it’s pretty ideal for broke people who still want to romance bae. Hit the MetroTech commons every Thursday with a blanket, some grub and that special someone to enjoy soul, jazz, world music and R&B free of charge.
June 16 – Mali Music
June 30 – George Gray Groove Coalition
July 7 – The Fatback Band
July 14 – King Sunny Ade
Heineken Green Room Event Series
This year-round event series brings some of the best and brightest to intimate spaces for a night of free drinks and dancing. To get the heads up for events you’ll need to become a Heineken Green Room Insider. Once you do, you’ll start receiving emails about where the next events will take place.
Heineken’s last Green Room event featured DJ duo Jasmine Solano and Melo-X, better known as Electric Punanny. The next event will feature rising talent Ro James and take place at Bedford Hall in Williamsburg, Wednesday, June 15.
“Only in Queens” Summer Festival
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz alongside several partners will present the “Only in Queens” summer festival Sunday, June 26 from 1pm to 8pm. Live music and food and merchandise vendors will all be on-site, along with family-friendly activities to balance out the more adult happenings. So far, the slated performances are Mack Wilds, Kid ‘n Play and Queens native DJ Camilo. Come through to NYC’s most diverse borough and have a good time.
Coney Island Reggae On The Boardwalk
Founded in 2010, Reggae On The Boardwalk depends completely on donations so if you’re feeling generous definitely try to spare a few bucks towards the four events organizers throw each summer. This Sunday, June 12, marks the opening party for the season; if the beach was already in your plans it doesn’t get much better than this.
Things start at 2pm and end at 10pm.
Coney Island Boardwalk
House of Vans Summer Concert Series
House of Vans Brooklyn and FYF have teamed up for another summer showcase series, complete with food and free drinks. Last year they brought through everyone from Danny Brown to Pusha T, The Black Lips and Bouncing Souls. This year’s lineup is looking equally as promising with both national and regionally acclaimed acts making an appearance. RSVP for this ASAP because it reaches capacity quickly.
June 9 – DIIV with BadBadNotGood, Sunflower, Bean & The Paranoyds
June 14 – Shannon & The Clams with Bleached & Brainfreeze
June 16 – Rae Sremmurd with Denzel Curry & Kamaiyah
July 6 – House Party 6: Quicksand
25 Franklin Street
Movies With A View
Join hundreds of other film buffs under the stars for Brooklyn Bridge Park’s free Thursday screenings. Aside from a movie, the Harbor View Lawn locale offers the scenic backdrop of the East River and light-filled Lower Manhattan. This year’s theme is “This American Life,” which coincidentally includes a showing of Purple Rain, which was selected before the passing of Prince.
Before every film there will be live music from Brooklyn-based DJs, and BAMcinematik will also present a short.
July 7 – Singing in the Rain
July 14 – Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
July 21 – Purple Rain
July 28 – It Happened One Night
August 4 – American Graffiti
August 11 – Selma
August 18 – A League of Their Own
August 25 – TBA (this film will be chosen by popular vote)
Harbor View Lawn
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Bryant Park Summer Film Series
Those further uptown can also enjoy free outdoor films every Monday through HBO’s summer film festival in Bryant Park. During its 10-week-run the family-friendly festival tends to get super crowded; like battling for blanket space on the lawn crowded, so early arrival is highly, highly suggested.
June 20 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
June 27 – East of Eden
July 4 – Top Gun
July 11 – The Palm Beach Story
July 18 – The Omen
July 25 – Three Days of Condor
August 1 – Harvey
August 8 – High Plains Drifter
August 15 – The Big Chill
August 22 – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Bryant Park Lawn