Get out your calendars: Your guide to the best summer concerts of 2015 has arrived. Here, our picks for the best warm-weather gigs, including summer concert series, free shows, jazz concerts, festivals and more. Plus, check out our full summer concert calendars, the best outdoor venues and slide shows of music events and festivals.
RECOMMENDED: Your guide to summer in Los Angeles
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Free summer concert series in LA
Chinatown Summer Nights
This all-ages monthly Saturday event in Chinatown is definitely among the most lively of the bunch of summer concerts in LA. Show off your moves on the dance floor to DJ sets and live bands, browse local art at the LA Craft Experience market, sample some food-truck grub or authentic Chinese cuisine from surrounding restaurants and party ‘til midnight in the heart of this historic neighborhood.
Skirball Cultural Center Sunset Concerts
The Skirball puts on its eighteenth series of free summer concerts, highlighting indie, folk and world music from LA and beyond. Guests can arrive early and visit the museum's galleries, dine under the stars and grab a seat for the show in the beautiful central courtyard. Attendees are encouraged to sing along, dance in the aisles and gather at the foot of the stage to celebrate with the performers.
2014 marks the 30th anniversary of this free summer concert series, which in recent years has wowed with local, up-and-coming talent that concert-goers are already bragging they saw "back when." Each Thursday from July through September, Santa Monica Pier hosts live music that's 100% free. Pack a picnic (and arrive early to get a spot on the sand near the speakers) to enjoy as the local talent plays sunset sets with crashing waves in the distance—it's a quintessential LA music experience. It's one of our favorite live music events in the city, and one of the best parts about LA summers.
Saturdays Off the 405
Enjoy free outdoor music and evening views of the city on select Saturdays at the Getty throughout summer. Performances by your soon-to-be favorite bands (the past few years saw shows by Cold Cave, Dum Dum Girls, Lord Huron, Avi Buffalo and Best Coast, just to name a few) are sandwiched between DJ sets to open and close the night. Tip: Avoid the traffic and the crowds and arrive early. You'll get to visit the exhibits, watch the sunset and snag a seat at the restaurant before the dinner rush.
This epic (and free) outdoor concert series features live performances by artists from around the world at the gorgeous water-encompassed California Plaza stage in DTLA. Don’t miss a diverse and highly intriguing mix of musical performances, live scores, films, poetry and theater.
Jazz at LACMA
One of LA's best free live music offerings, Jazz at LACMA has featured such legends as Wayne Shorter, John Clayton, Kenny Burrell, Les McCann, Billy Childs, Arturo Sandoval, Cannonball-Coltrane Project and Ernie Watts. Celebrating over twenty years at the museum, the program continues to be one of the museum’s most recognizable (and beloved) programs. It's a celebration of LA’s finest jazz musicians, and more than 42,000 visitors attend the program annually from April through November, making it a true LA rite of passage.
Wine & Jazz at Hollywood & Highland
Before you hop on the Hollywood Bowl shuttle, stop for a drink and a few tunes at Hollywood & Highland's annual Jazz & Wine series. Each week, KJazz 88.1 FM curates a free jazz performance in the Hollywood mall's outdoor courtyard. In addition, you can sample wine by Stella Rosa and an appetizer box for $10 (proceeds benefit Project Angel Food).