New York is the greatest city in the world for music lovers, and musicians agree; they’ve written many a tune about it. (For proof, just check out our 100 best NYC songs.) Seeing a great show doesn’t have to mean reaching into your wallet, believe it or not. In fact, you can even check out some of the city's best parties without spending a single penny. All it takes is a little planning beforehand—which is where we've got your covered with our top free concerts NYC has to offer. And if you've saved up a little here and there, be sure to check out our full list of concerts in NYC for more opportunities to catch your favorite artists in town!
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Free concerts in NYC this winter
This one's for all the kids who are down to party on a weekday! True School is bringing solid DJ sets to Bossa Nova Civic Club on what might be your typical “school night.” Headlining the night is Brooklyn's OG techno DJ Heather Heart. From producing and editing the monthly zine Under One Sky—devoted to creating a global network for underground rave culture—back in 1991 to co-founding Sonic Groove records and spinning at the legendary Storm Raves of the '90s (alongside Frankie Bones and Adam X), Heart has been an integral part of the New York techno scene. Support comes from Alex Gardel and Ben Jenkins.Read more
With the numerous virtuoustic and lyrical instrumentalists on its scheduled lineup, this free weekly series sponsored by the Gotham Early Music Scene stands out as a highlight of the city's "early music" scene (music of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque and Early Classical periods).Read more
Currently curated by Darrell M. McNeill, this Brooklyn Academy of Music series gathers together an impressively heterogeneous roster of artists at its Lepercq bar and lounge space, ranging from '70s Brazilian psych rock (As Lolas on Jan 29) to rootsy R&B soul jams (Dina Regine on Jan 23). Best of all? It's free.Read more
Fixed party-starting veterans JDH & Dave P, who topped our list of the best parties in NYC, are back at Good Room for a rare all-nighter in the disco ball-lit main room. Support in the Bad Room comes from a pair of top-notch locals whose combined years on the scene dwarf most of us in sheer age: Mudd Club's Justin Strauss and the Hacienda's Billy Caldwell. A super solid evening of veterans. Make sure to R.S.V.P. at fixednyc.com for free entry!Read more
Sonic Groove's Reade Truth celebrates his legendary Path Records at our favorite Bushwick tropical oasis with the label's second installment at Bossa Nova Civic Club. The Jersey City-based imprint has released music from Truth himself, Richard Hinge and Chicago's House Preservation Society contributor Jake Reif—all of whom will be taking on the decks for a night of O.G. electronic music vibes.Read more
Zs saxist Sam Hillmer—who co-founded Trans-Pecos alongside local DIY magnate Todd P—leads the latest (free!) installment of his Practice! series with his ambient sax-drone project Diamondterrifier. Reviving the program after it went kaputz at its previous digs (Public Assembly and the now-defunct Williamsburg venue Zebulon), Hillmer pulls together a range of experimental, outsider sounds on these diverse lineups. This month, look out for subterranean noise artist James Place and ex-Das Racist hypeman DJ Dapwell (Jan 18) among a host of others.Read more
At this free intimate weekly series, BRIC House features a range of Brooklyn's local artists at their studio space with taped performances and interviews. Expect an eclectic mix—on the calendar this season is everything from shred-heavy blues riffage (guitarist Marcus Machado on Jan 21) to soulful R&B rap (Chelsea Reject on Feb 18).Read more
Over the last few years, Greg Tate and his posse have been working their free-form voodoo on classic cuts by Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Melvin Van Peebles and even Steely Dan. Tonight, see the group tackle a program called "DopeSex&Dem Wild Buffalo Love Joints"—a Rick James repertoire—in all its soulful, fiery, body-moving glory.Read more
Jack Dept. NYC
Jack Dept. NYC returns for its monthly acid-house and techno party at our favorite intimate, tropical dance-floor-clad bar, Bossa Nova Civic Club. The series always brings a packed house to the dancefloor, and it's only free before midnight ($10 after)—so we recommend arriving early. Upcoming guests include Thomas Cox and Jwan Allen (Feb 5) and Sassmouth (Mar 4). Support comes from Jack Dept. NYC residents John Barera and Volvox. 1271 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn (718-443-1271). Every first Friday of the month; $10, free before midnight.
Sundays in the Panther Room
There’s no better way to keep the weekend going than Sundays in the Panther Room. The soiree welcomes ace spinners—like Steve Rachmad, Brawther and Anthony Parasole—and is the lowest-key free night at the (usually pricey) Output, with its three-story ceilings, chic couches, roof access and DJs so close, you can touch ’em (although we don’t recommend it). And if you like a fireplace with your beats—of course you do—it has you covered. 74 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn (718-302-5815). Sun at various times; free.