Your Guide to Free Summer Concerts

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Outdoor concerts abound in this city come summer ––we suggest booking the sitter when Beach House takes SummerStage or when Governors Island becomes Punk Island (although kids are fantastic anarchists). Despite all the shows you want to catch, there are plenty of kid-friendly concerts for your young music lovers that will still keep the whole family entertained. What’s even cooler—many are free. Now that’s music to our ears.

Broadway in Bryant Park
If your kids are still too squirmy to sit through a Broadway show (and you’re squeamish about ticket prices) expose them to a sampling of hit musicals at Broadway in Bryant Park. Presented by 106.7 Lite FM, every Thursday from July 12 through August 16, current Broadway shows stage kicky reviews in the park where kids are free to roam and dance in the aisles. Pack a picnic or grab something tasty at Tom Colicchio’s witchcraft outpost for this lunchtime theater event.

Celebrate Brooklyn
June through August the Prospect Park Bandshell is center stage for the continuous party that is Celebrate Brooklyn. It’s now in it’s 34th of year of bringing incredible world, indie, folk and funk music plus dance and movie nights under the stars. Our picks: spend the afternoon honoring Brooklyn-born author Ezra Jack Keats at a family concert by vocal group Honey and the Roots on July 8, and let the kids stay up late for a sing-a-long screening of the original Muppet Movie on July 28.

SummerStage Kids
Usually for more mature (ok, just older) audiences, there is one day where kids rule SummerStage, the ultimate summer series in Central Park. The afternoon long line-up on July 8 features indie family sensation Justin Roberts & The Not Ready for Naptime Players, multicultural dance group Illstyle & Peace Productions and zany performers The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Get ready to rock, tumble and laugh.

City Parks Foundation (CPF)
For local free happenings check out the extensive City Parks Foundation calendar covering free arts events from world music, revamped soul for kids to Vaudeville style duos in over 750 parks across the five boroughs this summer. With nearly 100 family friendly programs, it’s a good excuse to check out a new hood, park or borough.

Madison Square Kids
Staying cool (and occupied) Tuesday and Thursday mornings this summer just got a whole lot easier with the incredible line-up of free concerts in Madison Square Park. From June 12 until August 9 at 10:30 am family-favorite groups like the Deedle Deedle Dees, Recess Monkey and the Dirty Sock Funtime Band will fill the late morning lull. There is a fantastic playground in the park and a little burger place by the name of the Shake Shack too.

Which summer concert act will your family attend?

— Laura House

Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew R. White via Wikimedia Commons & asterix611 via Flickr