Free things to do in NYC: Live music

Find free concerts of every musical genre in NYC.

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Forró in the Dark + Debo Band

  • Free

Forró in the Dark delivers a gloriously bastardized take on Brazilian forró music (David Byrne is a big fan) as part of the Mad. Sq. Music series. Also on board is Debo Band, an Afro-groove outfit that draws on sources ranging from Duke Ellington to Okinawan folk.

  1. Madison Square Park 23rd St to 26th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves, 10010
  2. Wed Jul 30
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Amel Larrieux + Avery*Sunshine + The Jones Family Singers

  • Free

Former Groove Theory vocalist Amel Larrieux is one of alterna-R&B’s bright lights, primarily because her delivery comes with jazz seasoning. She also has a sizable globalist streak. Tonight she joins singer-pianist Avery*Sunshine and the gospel-funk Jones Family Singers.

  1. Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center W 62nd St, between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves
  2. Wed Jul 30
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Lisette Melendez + Coro + George Lamond

  • Free

Harlem's own Lisette Melendez, who scored a couple of crucial freestyle hits in the early ’90s—"A Day in My Life (Without You)" is still perfect dance-party fodder—gigs in scenic Clove Lakes Park.

  1. Clove Lakes Park 1150 Clove Road, at Fairway Ln
  2. Wed Jul 30
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Snarky Puppy

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Hard-touring New York–via-Texas fusion outfit Snarky Puppy recently picked up a Grammy for "Something," a sumptuous tune featuring soul heiress Lalah Hathaway. Bassist-bandleader Michael League & Co. bring their lush jazz-gone-funk-gone-rock to town in support of this year's We Like It Here, recorded live over a four-day stint in the Netherlands.

  1. BAM at MetroTech Commons Flatbush Ave, at Myrtle St
  2. Thu Jul 31
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Bettye LaVette

  • Critics choice
  • Free

More than 50 years into a career that has taken her from the R&B charts to Motown and Broadway, raspy-voiced soul singer Bettye LaVette is making the most of her long-delayed close-up. Here, as part of the River& Blues series, she gigs at the southern tip of Manhattan.

  1. Robert F. Wagner Park Battery Pl, between West St and 1st Pl
  2. Thu Jul 31
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Joe Bataan

  • Critics choice
  • Free

"Afro-Filipino / Average sort of guy / That's what I am," crooned Joe Bataan on 1968's "Ordinary Guy," which served as a handy introduction to both his mixed ethnic background and his self-dubbed "salsoul" musical blend. The Spanish Harlem veteran plays two free outdoor gigs this week: July 31 in Staten Island with Boogaloo Assassins and DJ Turmix, and Aug 6 on the LES as part of the Mobile Mondays series.

  1. East River Park FDR Dr, between Montgomery and E 12th Sts
  2. Thu Jul 31 - Wed Aug 6
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José González + yMusic

  • Free

Swedish guitarist José González, accompanied by contemporary-classical ensemble yMusic, performs new chamber-orchestra versions of his work, arranged by yMusic's Rob Moose.

  1. Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center W 62nd St, between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves
  2. Thu Jul 31
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Sunset on the Hudson

  • Free

Little ones can join in on a riverside drumming circle led by masters of the art. Kids will learn traditional drumming patterns and African, Latin and Caribbean rhythms. Instruments provided.

  1. Hudson River Park at Pier 45 West St at W 10th St
  2. Fri Aug 1
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Snowmine + The Casket Girls

  • Free

Brooklyn quintet Snowmine showcases its shimmering, swirling psychedelic pop, as heard on recent sophomore effort Dialects. Hazy Georgia shoegaze types the Casket Girls open.

  1. South Street Seaport 19 Fulton St, at Front St
  2. Fri Aug 1
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Jimmy Bosch y Su Estrellas + Pedrito Martinez Group with Ariacne Trujillo

  • Free

Trombonist and bandleader Jimmy Bosch (known as “El Trombón Criollo”) heads a top-flight salsa ensemble. Afro-Cuban singer and percussionist Pedrito Martinez, formerly of Yerba Buena, brings his good-time grooves, bolstered by vocalist Ariacne Trujillo.

  1. Celebrate Brooklyn! (at the Prospect Park Bandshell) Prospect Park West, at 9th St
  2. Fri Aug 1
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