Courtesy, Rooftop at Pier 17. Photo: Ryan Muir
As one of the oldest songs in English language history goes, “.” And when summer is a-coming in, it means outdoor concerts are a-going on across the five boroughs. You’ll find a mix of big names, up-and-comers and those who have carved out a solid career and are just happy to be out there showing you a good time. Regular series such as and bring their usual variety of international stars and styles to their stages, and there’s a special emphasis across NYC parks (and elsewhere) this summer on as the genre celebrates 50 years since its birth in the Bronx. Read below for selected highlights, and start planning your next outing.
Note (and bonus): Unless otherwise indicated (by “ticketed”), the outdoor shows listed are all free.
The Klezmatics. Courtesy, City Parks Foundation. Photo: Adrian Buckmaster
June 14, Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, Manhattan
Everybody’s favorite klezmer band, a formed-in-NYC ensemble that has been going strong since 1986, will have the SummerStage crowd dancing and kvelling (it’s a night of Yiddish song) in the park.
June 15, Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center, Manhattan
Disco star Sylvester, one of the first unabashedly out musicians of the 1970s, burst on the scene with “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).” This show, part of Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City program, celebrates a life and career cut far too short.
June 19, Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, Manhattan
Spend this Juneteenth afternoon and evening with big names in hip-hop, including DJ Premier, Grandmaster Flash and Kid Capri. Ticketed
June 22, Wave Hill, The Bronx
This garden space is a lovely spot to enjoy a free concert by a Grammy-winning string quartet.
Thuy. Courtesy, Hudson Yards
June 28, Hudson Yards, Manhattan
This Vietnamese American singer brings her R&B stylings, which should conjure a smooth 1990s vibe, to Hudson Yards as part of a free weekly summer series.
Tony Trischka (left) and Michael Daves. Courtesy, GreenHouse Publicity
June 30, Bryant Park, Manhattan
Jalopy, a small but influential Brooklyn venue promoting folk, bluegrass and country music, is behind this installment of Bryant Park’s free summer concert series. Malian kora player Yacouba Sissoko, steel guitar artist Terrell King and bluegrass leader Michael Daves (along with banjo master Tony Trischka) command the stage.
Marisa Monte. Courtesy, City Parks Foundation. Photo: Leo Aversa
July 2, Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, Manhattan
Monte has been one of Brazil’s leading vocalists for three decades thanks to her potent mix of samba, pop and jazz, and she has worked with downtown scenesters like John Zorn, David Byrne and Arto Lindsay. See the five-time Latin Grammy winner as well as a handful of other Brazilian acts at this SummerStage show.
July 6, 13, 20 and 27, Sultan Room Rooftop, Brooklyn
Steve Marion’s guitar-based instrumentals aren’t always totally delicate, but they are typically loose, groovy and catchy. Ticketed
July 8, Prospect Park Bandshell, Brooklyn
R&B singer Kelela uses neo-synth grooves to intimate, captivating effect. The artist known as Liv.e (pronounced “Liv”) opens at this Celebrate Brooklyn! show.
Jenny Lewis. Photo: Bobbi Rich
July 18, Rooftop at Pier 17, Manhattan
Horsegirl. Courtesy, City Parks Foundation. Photo: Cheryl Dunn
July 20, Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, Manhattan
Kool & the Gang. Courtesy, City Parks Foundation
July 22, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
You know what you’re in for when you see Kool & the Gang: a celebration. Bring your good friends to this SummerStage show.
July 30, Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center, Manhattan
This Summer for the City conversation-performance, rescheduled from last year, pairs Mann with music journalist Powers to discuss, we assume, the singer-songwriter’s career, catalog and how she can make even the darkest subjects eminently tuneful.
July 30, Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens
Each year Mexican—more specifically, Oaxacan—culture is celebrated at this outdoor festival filled with traditional music and dance.
Grandmaster Flash. Courtesy, City Parks Foundation
August 4, Crotona Park, The Bronx
One of rap’s groundbreaking DJs leads this home-borough celebration of hip-hop’s 50th, part of SummerStage.
Courtesy, Forest Hills Stadium
August 5, Forest Hills Stadium, Queens
LL Cool J is the organizer of this show, which he began (well, revived, after winning the ) in 2022 and is making extra big this year in honor of hip-hop’s 50th. Performers include Queen Latifah, De La Soul, Ludacris, Roxanne Shanté and many more luminaries from the past five decades. Ticketed
August 6, Coney Island Amphitheater, Brooklyn
August 9, Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center, Manhattan
Another day, another great hip-hop lineup, where J. Period, a noted Brooklyn DJ, brings together Big Daddy Kane and Rakim. In the hip-hop pantheon, those two live up to the show’s subtitle.
August 9, Little Island, Manhattan
The summer series at this Hudson River Park favorite has musicians, storytellers and, sometimes, funny people, of which Jo Firestone (co-creator of Punderdome) is definitely one. FYI: This is a comedy show, not a music concert.
August 12, Coney Island Amphitheater, Brooklyn
Occasionally, you just need an excuse to bang your head (preferably not on or against something; just in general). This metal show down by the water should do the trick. Ticketed
August 19, Prospect Park Bandshell, Brooklyn
The avant-garde violist and Velvet Underground founder headlines a free Celebrate Brooklyn! concert. The young folk singer Tomberlin opens.
Tanya Tucker. Courtesy, City Parks Foundation. Photo: Derrek Kupish
September 14, Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, Manhattan
Country queen Tucker asks the difficult questions: What’s that flower you’ve got on? Would you lay with me in a field of stone? And have you made any post–Labor Day plans yet? (OK, that last one was us asking.)