One of the best things about New York City’s summer festival season is you don’t have to drop a ton of bank to see an amazing outdoor concert. The annual SummerStage festival brings a ton of musical acts — not to mention the Metropolitan Opera, Broadway shows, comedy, dance parties, group meditations and more — to city parks, all for free.
Though the bulk of the action is at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, SummerStage spreads its 100+ shows all over the city across 16 parks in all five boroughs. This year’s shows begin on June 3 with R&B singer and recent Gorillaz collaborator Mavis Staples in Central Park, continuing through September.
Just some of the SummerStage highlights include George Clinton & the Parliament Funkadelic (June 11), the Korean music festival Gayoje (June 16), deep house disco with Paul Moses and Poolside (July 2), Yo La Tengo (July 17) and They Might Be Giants (Aug. 12).
Some of the biggest acts on the schedule are benefit shows, which are ticketed and help fund all the other free programming. These kick off May 17 with Gov’t Mule, followed by Elvis Costello & The Imposters (June 15), indie queen Regina Spektor (July 27) and more. Tickets are on sale now.
If you want to kick your concert experience up a notch, consider becoming a member. Even the first tier of membership ($150 totally tax-deductible bucks) gets you and a guest express entry, pre-sale access to benefit shows and bleacher seating.