Perhaps the best thing about summer arts is that they often take place outdoors. The only thing that could be better than watching wildly talented musicians perform outside is if the concert were, say, completely free of charge. Now, if only there were a free outdoor concert series that felt like it was designed specifically for you. Well, there is, and we found it.
WXPN’s Free at Noon
We all need a little midday pick-me-up, especially by the time Friday rolls around. Better – and cheaper – than 20 ounces of coffee are WXPN’s Free at Noon concerts each Friday. Most of the shows are held at World Café Live, so if you work in the city it’s easy to pop into the Walnut Street venue and get a free earful that’s sure to fit into your hectic schedule.
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Check out: Southside Johnny and the Poor Fools this Friday. They’ll put their own Southern-fried blues spin on several classic folk songs.
Concerts are on Fridays at noon, typically at World Café Live (3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400, www.xpn.org).
Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party
If you recently graduated from college, this is your free concert series. The concerts are definitely geared toward a younger crowd, but some of the bands are good enough to risk venturing into a sea of early twentysomethings. You won’t be the only aging hipster at the party.
Check out: Cold War Kids on July 13. You remember these guys and their thunderous bass lines, warbling vocals and the type of chorus that demands you raise your arms and jump.
Concerts are monthly from 3:45-7 p.m. at the Piazza at Schmidt’s (1050 N. Hancock St., 215-467-4603, www.radio1045.com).
The stage at this concert series is nestled among the trees at the beautiful Pastorius Park in Chestnut Hill. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to feel like they’ve stumbled across some sort of mystical, musical forest. No, the small woodland creatures probably will not be singing along, but this setup still feels magical.
Check out: The Philadelphia foursome Cheers Elephant on July 17. Their throwback pop is irresistibly catchy and filled with hand claps, swelling choruses and guitar hooks that won’t let you go.
Concerts are on Wednesdays until July 31 at 7:30 p.m. (Roanoke Street and West Abington Avenue, www.chestnuthill.org).
This is a free concert series for, well, everyone really. There’s a jazz concert lined up, a WHYY event with film screenings, children’s activities and even a gospel concert. It’s certainly family friendly and intended to be a great get-together.
Check out: Mad Decent Block Party on July 27. Maybe this specifically isn’t really intended for the little ones, but it is a local favorite. Artist Diplo is the creator this annual concert is known for its mix of hip-hop and electronica.
Concerts are Fridays and occasional Saturdays at Penn’s Landing (101 Columbus Blvd., 215-922-2386, www.visitphilly.com).
If You Go
Make sure to check the venue’s website before heading out to your concert, as times and dates can sometimes change. And don’t forget to pack sunblock if you’re going to be outdoors.