1997 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.
[ Music and Opera |
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Have a listing of a free festival you want to put up?
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Updated September 15, 1997. added
axis co. new york independent film series (film).
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Music and Opera
- The Music Festival of India presented by the World Music Institute
and Asia Society celebrates india's 50th anniversary. Two free concerts are
schelduled with music and dance. Vilayat and Shujaat khan on sitar, kathak
dancers Saswati Sen and Tejendra Majumdar, and many others on tabla, sarod
and flute. see them free, or else pay to see them in carnegie hall later
- Friday, September 5, 7pm at the Bandshell in Central Park (72nd street,
south of the fountain and lake).
- Thursday, September 11, 12-2pm at the World Trade Center plaza.
- Charlie Parker Jazz Festival celebrates Bird with a great
lineup of musicians. The Benny Carter Quartet, Nancy Marano, Phil Woods,
Walter Bishop, and others will be there. 3pm Sunday, August 24 at
Tompkins Square Park (NE corner).
- Panasonic Village
Jazz Festival has a few free events including a concert by Kenny
Garrett and Quartet, and Dianne Reeves and group, 4:30pm Monday, August 25
at Washington Square Park.
- The Metropolitan Opera's
"Met in the Parks" series presents three operas this summer. A double bill
of Mascagni and Leoncavallo one night alternating with Bizet at another. All
performances at 8pm. Denyce Graves will sing the title role of Carmen, and
it will be great. Bring a blanket (or a lawn chair) to place on the grass.
Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggiero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci
- Wednesday, June 18 at North Meadow (102nd st), Central Park.
- Friday, June 20 at Pelham Bay Park (parkview,westchester aves.), Bronx.
- Wednesday, June 25 at Cunningham Park (193rd st. entrance), Queens.
- Saturday, June 28 at Miller Field, Gateway NRA, Staten Island.
- Tuesday, July 1 at Brookdale Park, Monclair, NJ.
- Saturday, July 5 at Cooper River Park, Pennsauken, NJ.
Georges Bizet's Carmen
- Thursday, June 19 at Van Cortlandt Park (252nd street entrance), Bronx.
- Saturday, June 21 at Waterloo Village, Stanhope, NJ.
- Tuesday, June 24 at North Meadow, Central Park, Manhattan
- Friday, June 27 at Marine Park (fillmore ave. entrance), Brooklyn.
- Monday, June 30 at Brookdale Park, Montclair, NJ.
- Thursday, July 3 at Buccleuch Park, New Brunswick, NJ.
- New York Philharmonic
"Concerts in the Parks" are always complete with fireworks.
This year offers program A of Glinka, Bach, jazz selections from the Cyrus
Chesnut Trio, and Tchaikovsky, and program B of popular works from Dvorak,
Copland, Bernstein, and Gershwin. Manhattan performance of program A is
schelduled for Tuesday, July 22 at 8pm, and for program B at 8pm, Monday,
July 28. All performances in manhattan are at North Meadow as the Great
Lawn is been reseeded and revitalized, and is to reopened in September.
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 "Women in Jazz" series, part of the Texaco NY Jazz
Festival, plays the Centerstage at the World Trade Center. All shows
at noon everyday from June 21-29. The performers in order of performance per
day, will be Judi Silvano, Peggy Stern, Zusaan Kali Fasteau World Jazz Trio,
Kitty Brazelton's Dadadah, Jane Ira Bloom Trio, Elizabeth Panzer's Talking
Harp, Jessica Jones Quartet, Marie Mcauliffe Ark Sextet, Jamie Baum Quintet.
- The JVC Jazz
Festival has a few free nights at Bryant Park.
Thursday, June 26 from 5-10pm, Friday, June 27, 5-10pm, and Saturday,
June 28, 3-8pm. The performers will be the Danish Big Band and Eliane Elias,
Don Byron, Vri Crane, Drew Gress, David Gilmore, Bob DiBelli, Charlie Lewis,
James Zollar, Billy Hart, Thomas Chapin Trio, Ed Palermo. see their
additional details and scheldule.
- 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.
- The New York Grand Opera is
in its fourth 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.
- July 2. I Masnadieri
- July 9. Jerusalem
- July 23. Il Corsaro
- July 30. La Battaglia di Legnano
Museum of Modern Art's Summergarden
this year explores music by 20th cen composers who immigrated to the United
States. Entitled "The New Americans: A Century
of Musical Innovation", the series runs from July 4-August 30, 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 kicks off its inaugual year with six concerts downtown at
the Battery Park landmark. Every Thursday at 6:30pm from
June 19-July 14 (except the July 4 concert which is at 4pm). I think
tickets are supposed to be given out an hour or so earlier before the
concert begins, but I haven't been here to know for certain.
- June 19. John Zorn's Masada (part of texaco ny jazz festival).
- June 26. Eddie Palmieri (part of texaco ny jazz festival).
- July 4 at 4pm. Gershwins' America with Frank Sinatra, Jr. and his Orchestra
- July 10. Spyro Gyra
- July 17. Joe Ely
- July 14. John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers
- The Washington Square Music Festival features a program of
chamber music by bach, brahms, mozart, st-saens, and others. Every Tuesday
at 8pm from June 17-July 15. see the
for additional details and program.
- Il Piccolo Teatro dell'Opera will do Carmen at the Prospect Park
Bandshell as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn! festival -- see "music and dance"
listing below. Sunday, July 27 at 7:30pm.
- Garth Brooks performs at Central Park, North Meadow, Thursday,
August 7 at 8pm.
- Brooklyn Academy of Music's
"Free Concerts in Brooklyn Parks" July 8-August 19. All performances
see their calendar for
- July 8 The Spinners, Fort Greene Park.
- July 9 The Salsa Legends, Sternberg/Lindsay Park.
- July 10 The Impressions, Herbert Von King Park.
- July 15 Sandra St. Victor, Fort Greene Park.
- July 16 Johnny Almendra's Jovenes del Barrio, Sternberg/Lindsay Park.
- July 17 The Marvelettes & The Chiffons, Herbert Von King Park.
- July 22, Toots and the Maytals, Fort Greene Park.
- July 23 The Persuasions, Sternberg/Lindsay Park.
- July 24 The Chi-Lites, Herbert Von King Park.
- July 29 Bobby "Blue" Band, Fort Greene Park.
- July 30 Manny Oquendo y Libre, Sternberg/Lindsay Park.
- July 31 Son Seals, Herbert Von King Park.
- August 5 Gene "The Duke of Earl" Chandler, Linden Park.
- August 12 Sam Moore, Linden Park.
- August 19 Arrow, Linden Park.
- Brooklyn Academy of Music's
"Music at Metrotech".
Thursdays at noon, June 12-August 14. see their
calendar for details
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 7-31).
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
Last year's festival theme was "Brave New Worlds", with music and
dance from North America, the Caribbean, and the cultures of India, Brazil,
China, Spain, and Korea. There were two nights of the Dallas Black Dance
Theatre, a brash and young dance company with a plenty of energy and attitude.
Sonny Rollins and other jazz greats performed for the crowd one night, while
Chico Hamilton, and other jazz greats performed another.
Since it was the 100th b'day of Leon Theremin, there was one work which
featured six thereminists going at it at once.
This year events include a lot of Caribbean music, and dance.
Jazz fans should appreciate Diane Schuur and Buddy Colette on stage.
Electronic and experimental music from the Deep Listening Band to Joshua
Fried can be heard. Your favorite subway musicians surface for a day.
Among the dance companies performing are the Paul Taylor Dance Company,
Douglas Dunn & Dancers, and Ballethnic of Atlanta.
- The 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 brings lots of
Caribbean and African sounds. Dr. Art Davis and Horace Tapscott Duo will
perform, the Alloy Orchestra is back again to set the silent classic Dracula
to music, and lots other dance, jazz, and opera performances. Performances
occur during the weekends at 7:30pm. see their
website for details and
- Downtown Dance Festival at battery park.
- The Public Theater's
"Shakespeare in the Park" festival ends its Shakespeare cycle this
year with an opulent production of "Henry VIII" starring Ruben
Santiago-Hudson, Jayne Atkinson, and Josef Sommer, Tues-Sun, June 13-July 9,
at 8pm. It will then do the classic "On the Town" (music by Leonard
Bernstein, book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, concept by
Jerome Robbins) which is directed by george c. wolfe, choreography by
eliot feld Tues-Sun, July 31-August 31, at 8pm.
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.
- Expanded 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.
- Hamlet, June 4-July 5.
- The Tempest, July 11-August 2.
- Macbeth, August 8-30.
As part of the Hudson River Park Conservancy summer festival,
see below for locations Expanded Arts presents:
- The Wizard of Oz, 3pm Saturdays in June.
- A Midsummer Night's Dream, 3pm Saturdays in July.
- Peter Pan, 3pm Sundays in August.
- Alice in Wonderland, 4pm Saturdays in September.
- The Gorilla Repertory
Theatre Company does Alison McGonigal's adaptation of Lewis
Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" downtown at the newly remodeled Federal Plaza
at Worth and Lafayette Streets (behind the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building).
As part of the fun, everyone follows Alice around on her grand adventure, but
beware of the guy with the really big grin, he's the cheshire cat.
Alice In Wonderland:
- Thu-Sun at 8pm, June 12-July 6, Federal Plaza.
- Aug 16, 17, 23, 24 at the Henry Street Settlement Playhouse (466 grand
street) at 3pm.
A Midsummer Night's Dream:
- Thu and Sat at 8pm, July 24-Sept 21, Washington Sq. Park (sw corner)
- Aug 18 and 20 at 8pm, East River Park.
The Taming of the Shrew:
- Fri and Sun at 8pm, July 24-September 21, Washington Sq. Park.
- Aug 13 and 19 at 8pm, East River Park.
Henry IV, Parts I and II:
- Thu-Sun at 8pm, August 14-24, East River Park.
- The Shakespeare Project this summer presents Shakespeare's
"Coriolanus" at 6pm in various places around town.
- June 19,20 at Rufus King Park, Jamaica, Queens.
- June 21,22 at St. Albans Park, Queens.
- June 26-29 at Ft. Greene, Bklyn (Myrtle and DeKalb Ave, Cumberland st.)
- July 3,4 at Van Cortlandt House, 246th St. Bronx.
- July 5,6 at Pelham Bay Park off Wilkinson Ave and Bruckner, Bronx.
- July 9, 11-13 at Battery Park.
- July 17-20 at St. Nicholas Park.
- July 24-27 at the Dairy in Central Park (65th st).
- July 31-Aug 3 at Grant's Tomb (122nd and Riverside).
- Aug 7-10 at Tompkins Square Park, 7th st, and Ave. A.
- Theater for the New City opens "Pirates", a swashbuckling new
musical directed and authored by Crystal Field (music by christopher
cherney) of modern day business barons and ancient sea pirates who pool
their resources together in order to better exploit the masses. At various
locations in the five boroughs Saturdays and Sundays
at 2pm, Aug 2-Sep 14. see the
listing for details and locations.
- Aug 2, 2pm. E.10th St and 1st Ave.
- Aug 3, 2pm. Peace Place Park, E.124th St, bet. 2nd and 3rd Ave.
- Aug 9, 2pm. St. Mark's Church, E.10th St and 2nd Ave.
- Aug10, 2pm. Wise Towers, W. 90th St. bet. Columbus and Amsterdam.
- Aug15, 8pm. Dino's Wonderwheel Park, Coney Island.
- Aug16, 2pm. St.AlbansPark, Sayers Blvd bet. 173rd St+Merrick,Queens.
- Aug17, 2pm. Sobel Court and Bowen St, Staten Island.
- Aug23, 2pm. Concert Grove near Wollman Rink, Prospect Park.
- Sep 6, 2pm. Central Park Bandshell, 72nd St.
- Sep 7, 2pm. Sara Delano Roosevelt Park at 2nd Ave and Houston st.
- Sep13, 2pm. Tompkins Square Park, E. 7th St and Ave. A.
- Sep14, 2pm. Washington Square Park.
- The Kings County Shakespeare Co. in Prospect Park this year
performs Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, and the Compleat Works of
Shakespeare (abridged) August 12-31. All performances are at the
Picnic House in Prospect Park. see the
listing for details and locations.
- 8pm on August 14, 15, 17, 20, 21, 23, 26, 28, 29, 31.
The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)
- 8pm on August 13, 16, 19, 22, 24, 27, 30.
- 2pm on August 31.
The Comedy of Errors
- 8pm on August 12.
- 2pm on August 16, 17, 23, 24, 30.
- S.O.S. In the Park or "Some Other Shakespeare in the Park"
offers Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" at Madison Square Park (25th st
and Broadway) every Fri-Sun, 6pm, August 1-24.
- Rakka-Thamm!!! does an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Antigone" set
to the rhythmic beating of drums, chanting, and bodies writhing in dance.
Set within the unbelievably crowded, and busy Washington Square Park, the
production perfectly complements the distractions to be found there.
Thu-Sun at 8pm, June 5-July 20, Washington Sq. Park, sw corner.
- Theatreworks presents Rudyard Kipling's "Jungle Book" at
the New Victory Theater, 209 West 42nd st. shows on Mon-Fri 11am and 2pm,
and Sat at 11am. tickets are given out at 10am. ends august.
- The First New York International Fringe Festival appears
August 13-24. Various theatrical and multi-media events are staged at
the CSV Cultural Center (lower east side), and at various downtown
locations. Their goal, as a juried festival, is to annually select the
best in new theatre. A few events are free, I'm not sure which.
- The RAT
Fest(ation) 97 stages its festival concurrent with fringe fest
August 13-24. There will be theatrical performances and events staged
at the Ohio Theatre in SoHo, and at various downtown locations.
Performances and events are free (i think). additional info not avail yet,
but check back later.
- Broadway on Broadway is an event where cast members and musicians
perform scenes from their broadway shows. September 7 at noon at Times Square.
- 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
- F. W. Murnau's "Dracula" set to junk metal percussion by the Alloy
Orchestra and Shinmyung Pae Korean percussion ensemble,
Friday, August 8, 7:30pm.
- "Mandela Son of Africa, Father of a Nation", Saturday, August 9, 7:30pm.
- Polo Jeans Co. Outdoor Cinema present advance screenings of
several movies Wednesdays at the South Street Seaport. No tickets
necessary for general admission, but free tickets are needed for reserved
seating. These are available at the polo jeans department at Bloomingdales,
59th st. one week prior each screening. All movies are rated R.
- Advanced screenings of movies are occasionally listed in the village
voice paper edition. It is the most reliable source for free movie passes.
If there's a line outside their office at 5th st and 4th ave at a certain
time on wednesdays, then its probably people lined up to receive a free
pass. Offerings of free screenings, are also listed on occasion in the
other free weekies and from other sources. If you have information on
reliable sources for free movie tickets, please tell me about it. I'm
especially interested in knowing which radio stations, and at what time,
offer movie tickets -- email me on this.
One last note -- a "PSA" one would say -- be vigilant for people cutting
into the line. There are people who show up at the last moment to sneak
into the front. Don't give them any opportunity to do so, inform your
neighbors in front and behind you, and point them out to the person handing
out the tickets. It might be you left on line that won't get a ticket, a
tough lesson to learn.
- The Bryant Park Summer Film Festival 97
Mondays, June 16-August 25 at bryant park.
see the village
voice listing for details and scheldule.
- Hudson River Park Conservancy's "River Flicks"
Thursdays, July 24-August 14 at pier 62, chelsea piers (23rd st.)
see the village
voice listing for details and scheldule.
- Projected Images' "Movies Under the Stars"
Thursdays, June 5-August 28. this is in hoboken, nj.
see the village
voice listing for details and scheldule.
- Garden of Light located at E. 10th st and Ave. B. has screenings
of movies, video, and things during the summer. no other info avail yet.
Spoken Word, Other Arts, and Various Other Events
- Downtown Arts
Festival at various locations downtown September 11-21.
among the various performances and events that can be seen with the
purchase of the ten dollar artcard -- which i suspect may not even be
necessary, who knows.. -- there are events and performances that are
free. pick up a program at one of a number of locations downtown.
- The Hudson River Park Conservancy holds a summer festival
during the months of June through August. Events include poetry, music,
dancing, film, sports, swimming, regatta, and various daily events for kids.
Locations are piers 25 and 26 at north moore st., pier 45 at
christopher st., pier 54 at 13th st., pier 62 at 23rd st., and pier 84
at 44th st. Pick up a flyer for details, locations, and scheldule. watch
out for sunburn.
- NY Gilbert & Sullivan Players, 3pm Sundays in June.
- DiCapo Opera Co. sing excerpts from various operas, 3pm Sundays
in July. pier 25 (7/13/97), pier 54 (7/20/97), pier 62 (7/27/97).
- Wizard of Oz, 3pm Saturdays in June.
- Midsummer Night's Dream, 3pm Saturdays in July. fun hawaiian adaptation.
pier 84 (7/5/97), pier 54 (7/12/97), pier 62 (7/19/97), pier 25 (7/25/97).
- Peter Pan, 3pm Sundays in August.
pier 62 (8/3/97), pier 62 (8/10/97), pier 54 (8/17/97), pier 25 (8/24/97).
- Alice in Wonderland, 4pm Saturdays in September. locations unknown..
- Poetry festival 6.30pm, August 20-22.
- Events at the library are always free.
Pick up a calendar at a branch.
- The Summertime Storytelling Festival is held at the Hans Christian
Andersen statue at Central Park (facing the conservatory waters, 72nd st.
and 5th ave), Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11am, July 5-September 27. Stories
that kids, and parents alike will enjoy. see the
- 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. see their
for details, and the scheldule.
- The 5th 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 september 15, 1997
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