Summer is just around the corner, and therefore festival season is upon us! Couldn’t make it to Coachella? Don’t worry! Besides having some amazing indoor concert venues, NYC utilizes it’s Parks in the summertime to bring New Yorkers the best music outdoors!
Good news for all you Yorkville Bedly renters, too! Most of the larger outdoor music festivals in NYC have taken up residence on Randall’s Island. Walk along the East River to gain access to the bridge at 102 and FDR, which takes you onto the island and directly to the festival. Oh yeah, and don’t forget your sunscreen.
Be sure to check out all the rules for each festival, as well. You don’t want to get to the front of the security line, only to have your new metal water bottle taken away or aerosol sunscreen trashed. So go ahead and add these festivals (or at least one!) to your NYC summer bucket list.
Governors Ball June 1-3, Randall’s Island
The New York Times called Governors Ball (or Gov Ball for all you cool kids) “A festival with a New York Heart”. So yes, I would make this a must-see event during your time in NYC. Gov Ball was founded eight years ago under the pretense that New York City needed a contemporary music festival. It was originally held on Governors Island, however, for its second year moved to Randall’s Island. The festival boasts four stages and over 60 artists of all genres, typically taking place the first weekend in June.
The festival also hosts tons of tasty food trucks, silent discos, interactive photo booths, mini golf, and art from various NYC street artists.
Lineup Includes: Jack White, Eminem, Khalid, N.E.R.D., Third Eye Blind, Post Malone, Halsey, Travis Scott, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Galantis, 2 Chainz, Jay Electronica, James Blake, and more.
Snag tickets here.
Summer Stage Summer-long, 18 different locations
Located in every borough, Summer Stage is open seasonally and hosts a variety of different events. The best part? It’s New York’s largest free outdoor performing arts festival, bringing music from around the world to each borough and transforming local neighborhood parks into concert venues (full disclosure: some of the larger acts are paid events). Past concerts have included Afrobeat, Latin trap, soul, reggae, contemporary dance, EDM, and so much more. Keep in mind that most evening concerts start at 6 pm and end at 10 pm, giving you plenty of time to show up fashionably late to your friend’s birthday party.
Lineup Includes: The Metropolitan Opera Recital Series, Yiddish Under the Stars, Talib Kewli, Dispatch, Ginuwine, Galactic, Jason Mraz, and O.A.R.
Panorama Music Festival July 27-29, Randall’s Island
A massive outdoor music festival like Governors Ball, Panorama has multiple stages that house different types of performances. You can guarantee to burn some calories dancing inside the dance tent to DJ’s, or hit up the main stage for the headliners. There are tons of food trucks, and also different locations for your adult drinks.
Panorama features a one-of-a-kind interactive experience inside The Lab. According to the website, the Lab was “…created exclusively by New York City-based artists. THE LAB, curated by META, places experiential digital art at the heart of the festival, with six interactive installations and a massive 360-degree virtual-reality theater…a playground of music and technology that can only be experienced at Panorama.” Add this to the list of weird things you can only do in NYC.
Lineup Includes: Migos, Janet Jackson, The Weekend, The Killers, Odesza, Fleet Foxes, Dua Lipa, The Black Madonna, and PVRIS.
Snag tickets here.
BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Summer-long, Prospect Park Bandshell, Brooklyn
Like Summer Stage, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! is a free, outdoor performing arts festival and was launched as an initiative to bring people back to the park after years of neglect. Each season includes dance professionals, vocal artists, and musicians from around the world. Genres like classical, jazz, hip-hop, varied world-music, alt-rock, and pop.
Lineup Includes: Common, Los Lobos, Vance Joy, Brandi Carlile, and Jason Mraz.
Lincoln Center Out Of Doors July 24-August 12, Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, Manhattan
Lincoln Center Out of Doors boasts “three weeks of free world-class music, dance, film, and more”. The festival hosts everything from orchestras to dance companies to DJ’s. Seating for the concerts fills up fast, so make sure and arrive early (gates open one hour prior to performance) to snag a seat, if standing and dancing isn’t your thing.
They’ve got the food and drink covered, too! Select from a few varieties of food trucks, and pick up a frozen rosé (Frosé!) or summer cocktail from the Fun Bar.
Lineup Includes: RZA: Live from the 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Faramarz Aslani, OkayAfrica’s Mzansi Heat & Naija Beats, Peter Wolf, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and West Side Story Reimagined.
Afropunk August 25-26, Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn
Afropunk has a unique history to it, as it was originally inspired by a documentary titled Afro-punk, which spotlighted black punks in America. In order to appeal to a wider audience, Afropunk introduced performances by soul artists like Lauryn Hill and Lenny Kravitz. Today, many different performers take the stage in a variety of genres that typically reflect African-American culture. It now takes place in Atlanta, Paris, London, and Johannesburg, South Africa.
The festival is also known for The Spinthrift Market, an African art inspired hand-made market. Think anything from jewelry to clothing to natural beauty products. Bites&Beats Food Festival pops up, too, offering an array of food vendors and trucks to satisfy your festival cravings.
Lineup Includes: Erykah Badu, Tyler, The Creator, Miguel, Jaden Smith, Janelle Monae, IBEYI, and more.
Snag tickets here.
Electric Zoo Music Festival August 31-September 2, Randall’s Island
Electric Zoo is THE electronic music festival to go to on the east coast. Held every year over Labor Day, the festival brings in all genres of electronic music, including house, dubstep, techno, and more. Top international DJ’s are flown in to provide the ultimate electronic music experience.
Lineup Includes: Mar+in Garrix, Alesso, Marshmello, Tiësto, Alan Walker, Graves, Slander, Krane, and Zeds Dead.
Snag tickets here.
Bedly’s always looking out for you. Since they save you money on general moving costs, you can spend that time and money on incredible city summer experiences! And of course, sunscreen.