Music To Your Ears

A selection of concerts around the city this summer

Dancers at the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island. (Paul Stein)
Dancers at the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island. (Paul Stein)

Well, it took long enough, but the warm days have finally arrived. For some, that spells languorous subway rides and hot and sticky walks to work. For others, it means a chance to capitalize on the city’s outdoor resources, and how better than by taking advantage of the plethora of musical performances put on in our city throughout the summer?

Here’s a selection of festivals and concerts taking place in or around the New York area over the next few months. From the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island to Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake at Yankee Stadium to Lincoln Center Out of Doors, there’s sure to be something to pry you out of your air-conditioned apartment and into the streets, ready to embrace summer.

Central Park Summerstage. (Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Pepsi)
Central Park Summerstage. (Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Pepsi)

City Parks Foundation’s Summerstage
At select locations throughout the city
Through August 29

Summerstage is one of New York’s most valuable cultural resources, regardless of the season. And if you haven’t taken the chance to experience it, this summer is a good time to start — with more than 100 performances scattered in 17 parks throughout all of the city’s five boroughs. Notable concerts include folk icon Joan Baez with the Indigo Girls, Femi Kuti with his Afrobeat band The Positive Force, and the vocalist Bobby McFerrin. (

Celebrate Brooklyn!
Prospect Park Bandshell
Through August 10

Brooklyn’s preeminent music festival celebrates its 35th season this summer, featuring the likes of Belle and Sebastian, The Roots and the Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra. This outdoor concert series, centered around the Prospect Park Bandshell, is free, with the exception of benefit shows. (

R&B Festival at MetroTech
MetroTech Commons
June 6-August 8

Presented by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the R&B Festival at MetroTech is a lunch-time concert series, with each soulful performance taking place at noon. Performers include Bobby Rush, the Stooges Brass Band, Sheila E and Shuggie Otis, whose new album, Wings of Love, was recently released to critical acclaim. (

Governors Ball Music Festival
Randall’s Island
June 7-9

Come one, come all to the Governors Ball. This three-day festival takes place on four stages on Randall’s Island — accessible by car, bus, ferry and other modes of transportation — in early June, and the line-up casts a wide net, containing a delightfully varied list of musical acts: Kanye West, Kings of Leon, Guns N’ Roses and Grizzly Bear, to name four. (

Paul McCartney. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Paul McCartney. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Paul McCartney
Barclays Center
June 8 and June 10

As part of his Out There! Tour, which kicked off on May 4, Paul McCartney takes to the Barclays Center, host to a slew of high profile shows since its inception less than a year ago, including the Rolling Stones, Jay-Z and Barbra Streisand. Mr. McCartney’s songbook is so good and vast (as we’re sure you know) that he could play any number of hits — “Band on the Run,” “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Hey Jude” — and the show would be a smash, but he will also draw from new material. This is Mr. McCartney’s first gig at the Brooklyn venue. (

River to River
At select locations in Lower Manhattan
June 15-July 14

The River to River Festival, now in its 12th year, is dedicated to capitalizing on the rich cultural and infrastructural resources of Lower Manhattan. And so you’ll find a series curated by the experimental artist Laurie Anderson; a jazz saxophone summit at Brookfield Place Plaza; and Come out & Play, an evening of street games at the South Street Seaport. (

Jazz Age Lawn Party
Governor’s Island
June 15-16 and August 17-18

If you missed out on the maelstrom of Great Gatsby-themed revelry that swept our fair city this May, have no fear. The Jazz Age Lawn Party, in its eighth year, will help you bring out your inner flapper. Hosted by the horn player Michael Arenella — a throwback if ever there was one — and his charming Dreamland Orchestra, festival-goers can look forward to such old-fashioned festivities as a 1920s motorcar exhibition, a Charleston dance-off and a pie-eating contest. (

Justin Timberlake, left, with Jay-Z. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Justin Timberlake, left, with Jay-Z. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake
Yankee Stadium
July 19-20

In “Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z’s paean to the Big Apple, our city’s de facto cultural ambassador famously rapped that he “made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can.” And so it’s fitting that this highly anticipated two-night run with Justin Timberlake, our reigning Prince of Pop, will take place at the Bronx Bombers’ home turf as part of the duo’s Legends of the Summer Stadium Tour. (

Lincoln Center Out of Doors
Lincoln Center
July 24-August 11

Lincoln Center is as lovely outside as it is indoors. This summer, take advantage of the institution’s free three-week festival, which scatters a number of music and dance performances throughout its many splendid plazas. Notable acts include the Kronos Quartet (in a variety of collaborations), Nick Lowe and Allen Toussaint. (

Black Sabbath
PNC Bank Arts Center
August 4

Black Sabbath, the ur-heavy metal band fronted by the legendary Ozzy Osbourne, is putting out a new album on June 11, fittingly titled 13; the single, “God Is Dead?,” was released about two months ago, and it’s a solid and serious piece of music — a taste, perhaps, of what’s to come. Find out in person this August when Black Sabbath takes to the road to promote the new CD. (

Ballet V6.0
The Joyce Theater
August 6-17

Ballet V6.0, a festival curated by the Joyce Theater, exists to present the work of small ballet companies — the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, BalletCollective and Jessica Lang Dance, among others — throughout the United States. This August, the companies will come together for two weeks of experimental dance, with BalletX, a Philadelphia-based company, kicking off the series. (

Electric Zoo
Randall’s Island
August 30-September 1

There’s nothing like a good dose of dubstep to get your energy going at summer’s end. Electric Zoo, New York’s electronic music festival, celebrates its 5th year with a slew of solid acts — Above & Beyond, Knife Party and Bassnectar, to name a few — on several stages throughout Randall’s Island. (

Revelers at Electric Zoo, on Randall's Island. (Courtney Rae)
Revelers at Electric Zoo, on Randall’s Island. (Courtney Rae)

Music To Your Ears