1998 NYC Summer Music Festivals -- Free
Summer's here, and with summer comes lots of music, dance, and theatre
to top off your evenings. Listed below are a few of the free
events which are taking place right now this summer. Most listings are
cross-linked to those websites that contain the relevant info about these
events -- at least to those websites that can be found, and are accessible
-- and also to Metrobeat NY, as it
provides a wealth of info on other events.
A list of last year's free events are archived here
I'm extremely sorry if you were expecting this year's list, as it came
[ Music and Opera |
Music and Dance |
Other Arts ]
Have a listing of a free festival you want to put up?
email me, or sign the
Updated August 11, 1998.
Music and Opera
- Fete de la Musique is an all day summer solstice celebration
at the World Trade Center, June 21.
- 9.00am, Silver Cloud -- Native American morning invocation.
- 10.00, Avalon String Band.
- 11.00, Buskers -- international street performers.
- 12.30, Play It by Ear -- improvisational opera.
- 1.45, Tabou Combo.
- 3.15, Hunter Jazz Ensemble.
- 4.15, Autour de Lucie -- French pop.
- 5.30, Bernard Massuir -- from Belgium.
- 6.30, Philip Glass with guest Foday Musa Suso play music from "The Screens".
- 8.00pm, Silver Cloud -- Native American travelling song.
- Charlie Parker Jazz Festival celebrates Bird with a great
lineup of musicians. at Tompkins Square Park (date???).
- Panasonic Village
Jazz Festival has a few free events including a concert
by Randy Weston's African Rhythms, and Branford Marsalis Quartet,
Monday, August 24, 4.30-7pm at Washington Square Park.
- The Metropolitan Opera's
"Met in the Parks" series presents two operas this summer. All performances
- June 16 at the Great Lawn in Central Park.
- June 19 at
- June 24
- June 27
- June 30
- July 3
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
- June 17 at the Great Lawn in Central Park.
- June 20
- June 23
- June 26
- June 29
- July 2
- New York Philharmonic
"Concerts in the Parks" are always complete with fireworks.
This year offers program A of, and program B of
Manhattan performance of program A is
schelduled for , and for program B at .
See their website for
additional details and locations outside of the city. expect big crowds.
- The Texaco New York
Jazz Festival (Knitting Factory "What is Jazz?")
has many free nights of jazz located all around the city.
see metrobeatny for a list of events.
- The JVC Jazz
Festival has a few free nights at Bryant Park.
- The Summerstage at
Central Park offers rock, jazz, world music, and poetry on alternating days.
Located at Rumsey Playfield, 72nd street in the park behind the bandshell.
see metrobeatny for a scheldule of events. note, some events are not free.
New York Grand Opera is
in its fifth year of the "Viva, Verdi!" festival. Music Director
Vincent La Selva will do all Verdi works
chronologically until the year 2001, the 100th anniversary of Verdi's death.
Verdi's Requiem will be performed on Jan 27, 2001 marking the end of the
festival. All operas are fully staged with costumes, chorus, and ballet,
but don't expect big production values, just good music.
All shows on Wednesday at
7:30pm, at the Summerstage. Gates open at 6:30, so come early for a chance
(actually, its a horserace no thanks to the summerstage folks) to sit on a
chair front row, off-center, or bring something to place on the dirt --
there is no grass at the playfield.
Museum of Modern Art's Summergarden
this year celebrates NYC's centennial with music by 20th cen composers
who made New York their home. Entitled "New York Composers: A Century
of New Music", the series runs from July 3-August 29, every
Friday and Saturday. All performances are at 8:30pm at the sculpture
garden (54th street and 5th ave.). See their
for additional info, and the program.
Music at Castle Clinton
- The Washington Square Music Festival every Tuesday at 8pm.
- June 23. In "A Salute to Baroque Concerti", soloists from BAM,
the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the Opera Orchestra of NY perform
works by Vivaldi, Bach, and George Philipp Telemann.
- June 30. The Festival Orchestra perform works by Beethoven.
- July 7. The Festival Chamber Ensemble perform works by Schubert.
- July 14. The Festival Orchestra and the Amor Artis Chorus perform
Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, and Mozart's Symphonie Concertante.
- July 21. Felix and the Cats with Felix Endico on piano, and Sol Yaged
on clarinet play swing band jazz.
see the festival's
calendar for additional details.
- Brooklyn Academy of Music's
"Rhythm & Blues Festival" play June 11-August 19.
At Metrotech Center, Thursdays 12pm-2pm
Fort Green Park, Tuesdays at 7pm. (july 7-28)
- cuba gooding and the main ingredient
- the contours
- the delfonics
- the chi-lites
Sternberg/Lindsay Park, Wednesdays at 7pm. (july 8-29)
- the salsa legends
- jimmy bosch
- yomo toro
- The persuasions
Von Kong/Tompkins Park, Thursdays at 7pm. (july 9-30)
- cuba gooding and the main ingredient
- the contours
- the delfonics
- the chi-lites
Linden Park, Tuesdays at 7pm. (august 4-18)
- clarence "Gatemouth" Brown
- the dramatics
- speedo and the cadillacs
Sunset Park, Wednesdays at 7pm. (august 5-19)
see their calendar for
- orquestra broadway
- jose alberto -- "el canario"
- ralph irizarry and timbalaye
Music and Dance
- The Lincoln Center
"Out-of-Doors" festival occurs during the month of August to end
the summer off with explosive celebration (Aug 7-30).
Diverse music in the afternoons at Fountain Plaza and North Plaza, and
the main act at the Damrosch Park Bandshell just a few yards away at
8:15pm. This is a great festival featuring many great performances all
for the price of free admission. Kids, and parents alike, should also
have lots of fun, as there activities geared especially for kids. Musical
cyclopses, should there be any among us, can usually find something of
interest among the diverse selection of music and dance available. The
bandshell seats at least 2000, and seating near the front is usually
available up until maybe 45min from showtime, when the show at the nearby
Fountain Plaza ends. see their
calendar for details, and
This year marks New York City's centennial, when brooklyn, manhattan, and
the other boroughs had decided to incorporate themselves into the city in
1898. Hence this year's theme, "Beyond the Horizon: New York". Not only
does it mark this occasion, but more importantly it highlights new york as
one of the great cultural crossroads of the world where people have this
city focused in their horizon.
Celebrate Brooklyn! festival is located at the Prospect Park
Bandshell (prospect park west and 7th st.), a nice and cozy place to be in
the evening. This year's events plan to be spectacular. Performers
include Beausoleil, Eric Bogosian, The Alloy Orchestra, Tharp!, Bang
on a Can All-Stars, and so on. All performances occur around 7:30pm
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, June 25-August 22.
see their website for
details and the scheldule.
Celebrate Brooklyn Downtown festival at Borough Hall every
Wednesdays June 24-August 19, at noon.
- Downtown Dance Festival at Battery Park.
August 30-Sept 3, 1998.
Sunday August 30, 2-5 p.m., a Family Day Performance.
Monday August 31, Noon- 1:30 p.m.
- A tribute to Jenny Lind by Battery (dance company) Dancer Kathi McGowan.
- Kathy Kroll Dance and Paper Theatre's Indigo Safari.
- Young Dancemakers Company.
- Dancing Crane Folk Ballet with The Kartuli Ensemble.
Tuesday Sept. 1, Noon-1:30 p.m.
- A tribute to Jenny Lind by Battery Dancer Kathi McGowan.
- Traditional Folk Dances.
- Music & Puppetry Dancing Crane Folk Ballet with The Kartuli Ensemble.
Wednesday Sept. 2, Noon- 3 p.m.
- A tribute to Jenny Lind by Battery Dancer Kathi McGowan.
- Beth Leonard & Linda Seifert present "Dark Secret", a surreal dance-play.
- Chris Ramos of Soundance present "Lost".
- Teri Lee and Oliver Steele of Steeledance present "There are No Black
Roses", the coming together of two lost souls.
- Barry Blumenfeld and Cintia Chamecki tap their way in
Thursday Sept. 3, Noon-1:30 p.m.
- A Tribute to Jenny Lind by Battery Dancer Kathi McGowan.
- Lumiere Ballet in "Hansel & Gretel".
- Bharatanatyam -- Classical Indian Dance and Music Vyjayantimala Bali
- A tribute to Jenny Lind by Battery Dancer Kathi McGowan
- Feets of Rhythm - Haitian/African Contemporary Dance Co.
- The Public Theater's
"Shakespeare in the Park" festival this year include
"The Skin of Our Teeth" by Thornton Wilder to be staged in June,
and "Cymbeline" by Shakespeare, to be staged August 4-30 by Andrei Serban.
All performances are at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park off
West 81st Street near the Shakespeare Gardens, and/or Belvedere Castle.
Free tickets given out at 1-3pm at the Delacorte, as well as downtown at
the Joseph Papp Public Theatre (425 Lafayette St).
All the advance tickets -- two per person -- are usually gone by 1:30 or
something (advanced ticket seekers usually start waiting in line as early
as 10-11am). No tickets you say? You can always get in by waiting on the
standby line starting at around 6:30pm at the Delacorte Theater (you
stand/sit in line until 7:45pm when they start handing out the remaining
tickets of the patrons and sponsors of the theater who didn't want them
that day -- its rare to not get into the theater via standby unless its
opening night, or the last few nights of a production. Tickets are also
distributed the same day in select locations in all five boroughs at the
same time, see their
website for details.
Arts' "Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot" festival is located at
the Municiple Parking lot at Broome and Ludlow Streets, right across the
street from the storefront theatre (85 Ludlow st). Performances every
Wednesday-Saturday at 8pm. Optional free tickets/reservations (if you
want to sit in a chair) can be obtained from their theater studios 10am-11pm, or by phone.
- Julius Caesar
- Henry V
- The Gorilla Repertory
- The Shakespeare Project this summer presents Shakespeare's
"The Winter's Tale" at 6pm in various places around town.
- June 18-21 at St. Albans Park (Merrick Blvd & 120th Ave, Queens)
- June 25-28 at Sakura Park (W. 122nd St & Riverside Park)
- July 2-5 at Ft. Greene Park (Myrtle Ave, Cumberland St+DeKalb Ave, Bklyn)
- July 9-12 at Van Cortlandt House (W. 246th St and Broadway, Bronx)
- July 16-19 at Sunset Park (5th ave, Brooklyn)
- July 23-26 at Central Park (The Dairy, 65th St near 5th ave.)
- July 30-August 2 at St. Nicholas Park (135th St. & St. Nicholas Ave.)
- August 6-9 at Battery Park City (North Cove, Manhattan)
- Theater for the New City opens "Taxi Taxi! The Equality of Life",
a new musical directed and authored by Crystal Field of an angel sent to
earth in answer of a child's prayer to see why New yorkers are so distressed.
They soon find out in a magical taxi ride through the city.
At various locations in the five boroughs Saturdays and Sundays
at 2pm, Aug 8-Sep 20. see the
listing for details and locations.
- Sat Aug 8, 2:00 pm, Manhattan E. 10th St. and 1st Ave.
- Sun Aug 9, 2:00 pm , Peace Place Park, 124th St. (2nd & 3rd.)
- Sat Aug 15, 2:00 pm, St. Mark's Park, E. 10th St. & 2nd Ave.
- Sun Aug 16, 2:00 pm, Brooklyn, Herbert Von King Park (Bed-Stuy)
- Fri Aug 21, 8:00 pm, Brooklyn, Dino's Wonderwheel Park, Coney Island
- Sat Aug 22, 2:00 pm, Bronx St. Mary's Park, 147th St. & St. Ann's Ave.
- Sun Aug 23, 2:00pm, Queens St. Albans Park, Sayers Bl. betw. 173rd St. & Merrick
- Sat Aug 29, 2:00 pm, Staten Island Sobel Court & Bowen Street
- Sun Aug 30, 2:00 pm, Brooklyn Prospect Park, Concert Grove near Wollman Rink
- Sat Sept 12, 2:00 pm, Manhattan Wise Towers, 89th St. & Amsterdam Ave.
- Sun Sept 13, 2:00 pm, Manhattan Central Park Bandshell
- Sat Sept 19, 2:00 pm, Manhattan Tompkins Square Park, E. 7th St. & Ave. A
- Sun Sept 20, 2:00 pm, Manhattan Washington Square Park
- The Kings County Shakespeare Co. in Prospect Park this year
performs "Love's Labour's Lost", "Pericles", and "The Beaux' Stratagem"
August 12-30. All performances are at the
Picnic House in Prospect Park. see the
listing for details.
Love's Labour's Lost by Shakespeare, directed by Liz Shipman.
- 8pm on August 13 (preview), 14, 18, 20, 22, 23, 26, 28, 30 (2pm).
Pericles by Shakespeare directed by Jonathan Bank.
- 8pm on August 12 (preview), 15 (preview), 16, 19, 21, 25, 27, 29 (2pm), 30.
The Beaux' Stratagem by George Farquhar, directed by Mary Ethel Schmidt.
- 2pm on August 11 (8pm, preview), 16, 22, 23, 29 (8pm).
- Engarde Arts
- S.O.S. In the Park or "Some Other Shakespeare in the Park"
- Axis Co. New York Independent Film Series screens short works
by up-and-coming as well as established filmmakers at their theatre at
136 Duane St. (bet. church and w. broadway). The series runs the
first and third Monday of every month at 8pm. Their theatre, a temporary
home, is tiny with seating capacity limited to no more than 70.
Brooklyn! has two film events at the Prospect Park Bandshell
in addition to the many great performances happening there.
- Joan Crawford & Lon Chaney in the 1927 silent classic "The Unknown"
set to original music performed by Philip Johnston's Transparent Quartet.
Thursday, August 6, 8pm.
- Buster Keaton in the 1928 silent classic "Steamboat Bill, Jr." set
to original music performed by the Alloy Orchestra. Thursday, August 13,
- The Bryant Park Summer Film Festival 97
- Hudson River Park Conservancy's "River Flicks"
- Projected Images' "Movies Under the Stars"
- Garden of Light located at E. 10th st and Ave. B.
Spoken Word, Other Arts, and Various Other Events
- The World Financial
Center's Arts & Events Program features music, dance, and various
art performances held inside at the glass and steel Winter Garden (west
street, bet. liberty and vesey), as well as outside on the plaza.
August 2-September 1. see their
for details, and the scheldule.
- The Summertime Storytelling Festival is held at the Hans Christian
Andersen statue at Central Park (facing the conservatory waters, 72nd st.
and 5th ave), Saturdays at 11am, July-September 26. Stories
that kids, and parents alike will enjoy. see the
- Downtown Arts
- The Hudson River Park Conservancy
- Events at the library are always free.
Pick up a calendar at a branch.
- The 6th annual John Cage Reading is a birthday celebration
with poetry, music, and art. 7.30pm at St. Mark's Church (10th and 2nd ave).
updated August 11, 1998
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