Get some bands for your buck at Brooklyn’s free summer concerts

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn free concert
There’s plenty of free music to be found in Brooklyn this summer!
File photo courtesy of Ellen Qbertplaya/BRIC

Tis the season for fun in the sun! Summer is here and to celebrate, Brooklyn venues are welcoming families, friends, tourists and locals for free music events. From concerts in the park to music festivals, there is something for everyone to enjoy without breaking the bank.

Here is a list of free music events in the borough:

Red Hook Fest

On May 30, Hook Arts Media will kick off the 31st annual Red Hook Fest on the Red Hook Waterfront. A beloved community festival, Red Hook Fest will feature stunning dance and music performances as well as a resource fair for locals! The celebrations begin with a free cookout and dance party with a live DJ, and continues with main stage performances on June 1 at Valentino Pier. This years featured performers include renowned dance company Ephrat Asherie Dance, Jarana Beat, and Johnnie Mercer’s TheRedProjectNYC. RSVP is encouraged, but not required!

photo of dancers at red hook fest
Red Hook Fest, Red Hook’s largest cultural event, is coming back this summer with music, dancing, and more. File photo courtesy of Todd Seelie

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!

You can’t talk about music events in the borough without mentioning New York’s longest-running free summer concert series! During this month-long series, BRIC brings out various artists to the Lena Horne Bandshell in Prospect Park. Bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets to Brooklyn’s backyard and settle in for an outdoor performance, beginning June 8. Whether you prefer indie artists or the smooth vocals of RNB artists, BRIC has something for everyone. Check out some of the featured artists and show dates online

BRIC celebrate brooklyn!
BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! is one of the most beloved free musical events in the borough. File photo courtesy of BRIC

Coney Island fiesta

Head down to Coney Island on June 15 to enjoy some of the rhythms of Puerto Rico. Andy Montañez, known as the Godfather of salsa and Charlie Cruz, a salsa musician, will take over the stage of the Coney Island Amphitheater. People of Earth, a band known to play a mix of music from Cuba, Puerto Rico and Brazil will join in on the fun. Brooklynites can head out to this lively show full of diversity and culture. Find more details on the venue’s website

Outdoor Opera at Brooklyn Bridge Park

An evening at the opera can be expensive, but if you’re looking for an affordable option, the Metropolitan Opera has got you covered. On June 20, three young artists are coming to the Brooklyn Bridge Park for a high-class evening featuring arias, duets, and ensembles. Prepare to hear the artistry of Leah Hawkins, Mario Chang and Michael Sumuel with Dimitri Dover, the Met’s assistant conductor, as an accompanist. The event will be completely free and tons of fun. 

Live at the Archway

Live at the Archway, Dumbo’s iconic music and arts series, returns to the Manhattan Bridge Archway on June 20. Every Thursday night through Aug. 15, free concerts and visual art exhibitions will take place at the Archway — starting with a performance by Peruvian cumbria band La Banda Chuska and Fogo Azul. Later in the summer, enjoy performances by Paisley Fields, the Gentleman Brawlers, and Tracy Bonham. 

Each session is accompanied by a new collaborative art exhibition from various artists — and beer, wine, and other concessions will be available for purchase! 

live at the archway free dumbo music
Live at the Archway will offer free music and art every week starting June 20. File photo courtesy of Noemie Trusty/Dumbo BID

Sounds at Sunset at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Is there a better way to start a summer weekend than with live music and a beautiful view? Starting on June 21, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy is hosting outdoor concerts every Friday evening. The series begins with a “Steely Dan Happy Hour,” paying tribute to the beloved rock band — and a real highlight of the summer is the 10th annual Brooklyn Americana Music concert, featuring internationally-known singer-songwriters with fiddles, banjos and guitars. The full schedule is available online

brooklyn bridge park americana concert
Brooklyn Americana Music will return to Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer. Photo courtesy of Alexa Hoyer/Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

Hip-Hop Celebration 

Come celebrate J Dilla’s 50th birthday in Bed-Stuy with Fusicology and Future x Sounds. The event will feature performances from influential acts representing J Dilla’s legacy and his hometown of Detroit. Slum Village, Dilla’s first group, will also be performing, along with Breakbeat Lou, a pioneering DJ responsible for essential compilations in hip-hop. This celebration will highlight how J Dilla’s music continues to shape the hip-hop scene. Party with the emcees on July 12 at the Herbert Von King Park in Bed-Stuy. 

Young World Festival

Local emcee MIKE has been bringing a vibrant hip-hop community together for years with their annual Young World Festival. This year’s event returns July 13 with a special performance by Earl Sweatshirt, a beloved rapper and producer. Other musicians and DJs are on the line-up including Milwaukee’s Myaap, DMV’s Sideshow, Atlanteans Stahhr and Stacy Epps. Make plans to head to Herbert Von King Park for some free hip-hop.

Live music at Shenanigans

The beats and brews flow free at Kensington Pub, Shenanigans. Hear live music played by local musicians every Friday at their neighborhood watering hole. Bands can range in style so you never know what kind of talent you may run into. Swing by the dive located at 802 Caton Ave., between E. 8th Street and Coney Island Avenue. 

brooklyn bridge park concert
There’s plenty of opportunities to enjoy free music and great weather in Brooklyn this summer. Photo courtesy of John Eng/Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

Whether you’re a resident or just visiting the neighborhood, scheduling a visit to one of these live music events is a great way to immerse yourself in the vibrant music scene in Brooklyn — all while having an affordable and enjoyable summer night out.