Feature ·

Free shows in NYC: v.2008

Our fourth annual guide to the summer's free shows

Skyrocketing gas prices was one thing, but as soon as we heard that beer prices were on the rise, we came to realize that this whole recession thing really blows. As talking heads throw out terms like “weak economy” and “tightening the belt,” the idea of paying $25 and up for a concert ticket seems a bit ludicrous. But that doesn’t mean a healthy dose of live music is beyond your means this summer. For the fourth year in a row, we’ve gathered the best free shows going on from May through August in New York. So, yes, you can see Vampire Weekend, Sonic Youth, Santogold, and Brother Ali this summer -- without spending a penny. After all, it’s the economy, stupid.

Free concerts:
05.30.08: Wire, Die!Die!Die!; South Street Seaport Pier 17, 7 p.m.

06.07.08: Lucky Dragons, John Wiese, Soiled Mattress and the Spring; East River Amphitheater, 2 p.m.

06.12.08: Isaac Hayes, Prospect Park

06.14.08: Vampire Weekend, Kid Sister, Born Ruffians; Central Park SummerStage, 4-8 p.m.

06.15.08: Victor Manuelle; Central Park SummerStage, 3-7 p.m.


06.17.08: Ting Tings; Apple Store SOHO, 6 p.m.


06.17.08: Nicole Atkins & the Sea; Socrates Sculpture Park, 6:30 p.m.


06.18.08: Annuals; Sound Fix Records, 6 p.m.


06.18.08: Jill Sobule; Rockefeller Park, 7 p.m. 


06.19.08: Medeski Martin and Wood, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog; Prospect Park


06.19.08: Crystal Castles, Woodlands; Studio B, 9 p.m. 


06.19.08: Wildbirds & Peacedrums; Union Square, 6 p.m. 


06.20.08: Prefuse 73; The Whitney Museum 


06.20.08: Deertick; Rooftop Films (free with ticket to film), 8 p.m.


06.20.08: White Hinterland, Cale Parks (of Aloha), Herman Dune; Sound Fix Records, 8 p.m.


06.20.08: Boyz II Men (Good Morning America); Bryant Park, 7 a.m.


06.20.08: Rihanna (Today Show); Rockefeller Center, 7 a.m.


06.21.08: Stars Like Fleas; Sound Fix Records, 8 p.m.


06.21.08: Sharon Van Etten; Rooftop Films (free with ticket to film), 8 p.m.


06.21.08: Fiasco, Extra Life, Monotract, Cursillistas, Autodrone, Noveller, Boyskout, The Brilliant Sweaters, Senryu, Bridges and Powerlines, The Swimmers, Blood Sugars, Phil and the Osophers, Bell (After the Jump Festival); Galapagos, 12 p.m. 


06.21.08: Ponytail, Power Douglas, Chairlift, Snake & Jet's Amazing Bullit Band, The Austerity Program, Dinowalrus, Alex & The Horribles, Captain Ahab & The Sea Crackens (After the Jump Festival); Music Hall of Williamsburg, 12:30 p.m.


06.21.08: Pela, The Forms, The Shackeltons, Bryan Scary & The Shredding Tears, The Antlers, Wakey Wakey, Lissy Trullie, papercranes (After the Jump Festival); North Six Street Stage, 12:00 p.m.


06.22.08: Yael Naim, David Donatien, Piers Faccini, Herman Dune; Central Park SummerStage, 7-10 p.m.


06.24.08: Ulrich Schnauss; World Financial Center Winter Garden, 9 p.m.


06.24.08: Gilberto Gil; Prospect Park


06.25.08: Semi Precious Weapons, Bryan Scary & The Shredding Tears, The Last Vegas; Southpaw


06.25.08: Talib Kweli; Apple Store (SOHO), 6 p.m.

06.26.08: Carolina Chocolate Drops, Dixie Hummingbirds; Prospect Park


06.26.08: Care Bears on Fire, The A-OK Collective, Apollo Heights, Slim Dixon; Solar One, 6 p.m.


06.27.08: Coldplay; Rockefeller Park, 7 a.m.


06.27.08: Cold War Kids, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, Sam Champion; Prospect Park

06.27.08: A Place to Bury Strangers, King Khan & the Shrines, Black Acid; South Street Seaport Pier 17, 7 p.m.


06.27.08: Times New Viking; The Whitney Museum


06.27.08: Jeffrey Lewis; Sound Fix Records, 8 p.m.


06.28.08: Lyricist Lounge: Crooklyn Dodgers Reunion; Prospect Park


06.28.08: Artranker Convoy; Rooftop Films - Old American Can Factory (free with ticket to film), 8 p.m.

06.28.08: Titus Andronicus, Obits, Emperor X, Blood City; East River Amphitheater, 2 p.m.

06.28.08: Vieuz Farka Toure, Fallou Dieng, Kaleta & Zozo Afrobeat, Dj Sirak; Central Park SummerStage


06.28.08: So Percussion, Dirty Projectors, Blitz The Ambassador, Burskina Electric, Shilpa Ray (of Beat the Devil), Selan, No Surrender, Ecstatic Sunshine; Solar One, 12 p.m.


06.29.08:  Hold Steady, Loved Ones, J Roddy and the Business (JellyNYC); McCarren Park Pool


06.29.08: Mosh Ben Ari, Rupa and the April Fishes, Y-Love, Diwon; Central Park SummerStage, 3-7 p.m.


07.01.08: Kode9, Juakali, and Dub War with Forward Motion Theater; The Winter Garden World Financial Center, 9 p.m.


07.04.08: Sonic Youth; Battery Park, 7 p.m.


07.04.08: Titus Andronicus; Rooftop Films - Solar One (free with ticket to film), 8 p.m.

07.05.08: Rachid Taha, Dengue Fever, Apollo Heights; Central Park SummerStage, 3-7 p.m.


07.06.08: Ronnie Spector, the Rabbit Factory Soul Revue (JellyNYC); McCarren Park Pool


07.06.08: Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Afrika Bambaataa, Love Trio with U-Roy; Central Park SummerStage, 3-7 p.m.


07.09.08: The Avett Brothers; Rockefeller Park, 7 p.m.


07.10.08: St. Vincent; Castle Clinton, 7 p.m.

07.11.08: No Age with Telepathe and Abe Vigoda; South Street Seaport Pier 17, 7 p.m.

07.11.08: Brazilian Girls; Prospect Park

07.12.08: Beth Orton, Matt Munisteri; Prospect Park

07.12.08: Julieta Venegas, Plastilina Mosh, DJ Bitman; Central Park SummerStage, 3-7 p.m.


07.13.08: The Breeders, Matt+Kim, The Whip (JellyNYC); McCarren Park Pool 


07.15.08: Fennesz, Sakamoto; World Financial Center (Winter Garden), 9 p.m.


07.17.08: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists; Castle Clinton, 7 p.m.


07.17.08: The Fiery Furnaces; East River Ampitheater


07.17.08: Jerry Douglas Band, The Holmes Brothers; Prospect Park


07.17.08: Mary Weiss of the Shangri-Las; South Street Seaport, 7 p.m.


07.18.08: Deerhoof, Metropolis Ensemble; Prospect Park

07.18.08: Video Music Box 25th Anniversary Concert; Central Park SummerStage, 7-10 p.m.

07.19.08: Siren Music Festival featuring Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Broken Social Scene, The Helio Sequence, Beach House, Times New Viking, Jaguar Love, The Dodos, Annuals, Film School, Parts & Labor, Dragons of Zynth, These are Powers; Coney Island


07.20.08: Liars, Fuck Buttons and Team Robespierre (JellyNYC); McCarren Park Pool

07.20.08: Santogold, Diplo, Plastic Little, A-Trak, Kid Cudi; Central Park SummerStage, 3-7 p.m.


07.20.08: Golem, The Sway Machinery, Michael Showalter, DeLeon, Soulico; Prospect Park

07.24.08: Akron Family; Castle Clinton, 7 p.m.


07.24.08: KRS-One; East River Park


07.25.08: Atlas Sound, El Guincho; South Street Seaport Pier 17, 7 p.m.


07.25.08: Feist (Good Morning America); Bryant Park, 7 a.m.


07.25.08: Phillip Glass, Marta Topferova; Prospect Park


07.26.08: Ghostland Observatory, The Jealous Girlfriends, Bear Hands; Prospect Park 


07.27.08: MGMT, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Ting Tings (JellyNYC); McCarren Park Pool


07.27.08: Taj Majal, Skatalites, Los Pinguos; Central Park SummerStage, 3-7 p.m.


07.29.08: Max Richter; Le Poisson Rouge 


07.31.08: The Long Winters; Castle Clinton, 7 p.m.


07.31.08: Flogging Molly, O'Death; Pier 54 - Hudson River Park


07.31.08: Jukebox the Ghost; Union Square Park 


08.01.08: Brother Ali; South Street Seaport Pier 17, 7 p.m.

08.01.08: The Knights, Christina Courtin; Prospect Park

08.02.08: The Sippy Cups, Ariana Bass Bass Bass; Prospect Park

08.02.08: Roy Hargrove Big Band and Special Guests; Central Park SummerStage, 7-10 p.m.


08.03.08:  Black Lips, Deerhunter, King Kahn & His Shrines and Tall Firs (JellyNYC); McCarren Park Pool 


08.03.08: Daby Toure; Prospect Park

08.03.08: Janelle Monáe, Little Jackie, Jose James, Gilles Peterson; Central Park SummerStage, 3-7 p.m.

08.07.08: Terence Blanchard; Castle Clinton, 7 p.m.


08.14.08: Los Lonely Boys, Los Lobos; Central Park SummerStage, 7-10 p.m.


08.14.08: Blonde Redhead; Pier 54 - Hudson River Park


08.15.08: Bajofondo, Osunlade & the Yoruba Soul Orchestra; Central Park SummerStage, 7-10 p.m.

08.15.08: Dirty Projectors, White Williams; South Street Seaport Pier 17, 7 p.m.


08.15.08:  800 Years of Minimalism: The Spiritual Transcendent, Rhys Chatham: A Crimson Grail, for 200 Electric Guitars (Outdoor Version) (World Premiere); Damrosch Bandshell


08.16.08: Battles, Black Dice, Gang Gang Dance; Central Park SummerStage, 3-7 p.m.

08.17.08: Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Menahan Street Band, Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens; Central Park SummerStage, 3-7 p.m.


08.17.08:  Aesop Rock, Panther and one more TBA (JellyNYC); McCarren Park Pool  

Relevant Links:
East River Amphitheater: http://ermp.org/eastriver/about-the-theater

Jelly NYC: http://www.jellynyc.com/tools/event-calendar/

Prospect Park: http://www.briconline.org/celebrate/2008season.asp
River to River Series: http://www.rivertorivernyc.com/events/index.php
Siren Festival: http://www.villagevoice.com/siren

Sound Fix Records: http://www.soundfixrecords.com/pages/shows-and-events

South Street Seaport: http://www.seaportmusicfestival.com
SummerStage: http://www.summerstage.org
Various links: http://gonyc.about.com/cs/music/a/summermusic.htm

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