Free things to do in NYC: Live music

Find free concerts of every musical genre in NYC.

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Jon Cleary

  • Free

A latter-day disciple of the New Orleans piano-blues pantheon, transplanted Englishman Jon Cleary transports Bourbon Street to the Flatiron for an evening of hard-driving swamp boogie.

  1. Madison Square Park 23rd St to 26th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves, 10010
  2. Wed Jul 23
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Larry Harlow's Hommy: A Latin Opera + Michael Stuart y Su Tremendo

  • Free

Keyboardist Larry Harlow played a big part in helping the world get acquainted with salsa; he's been a cornerstone of the Fania All-Stars since the group's inception. Tonight he conducts Hommy: A Latin Opera, a Spanish-language salsa opera (inspired by the Who’s Tommy) that he penned and debuted in 1973. Michael Stuart y Su Tremendo opens.

  1. Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center W 62nd St, between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves
  2. Wed Jul 23
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Witch + Ruby the Hatchet

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  • Free

J Mascis will forever be best known for his parched, soaring guitar work in Dinosaur Jr., but as you can hear in the stoner-metal quintet Witch (returning to active duty in the wake of a 2011 Mascis solo album), the man is quite a drummer as well. The band doesn't seek new ground, but its rollicking hard-rock mysticism comes off as satisfyingly righteous.Here it plays a free-with-R.S.V.P. show.

  1. Music Hall of Williamsburg 66 North 6th St, between Kent and Wythe Aves
  2. Wed Jul 23
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Broadway in Bryant Park 2014

  • Free

The July 24 edition includes scheduled performances by the casts of Phantom of the Opera, Piece of My Heart, Cinderella, Avenue Q and Bullets Over Broadway.

  1. Sixth Ave, between 40th and 42nd Sts
  2. Thu Jul 24
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Teenage Fanclub + Honeyblood + Saint Rich

  • Free

The charmed Glasgow quartet Teenage Fanclub for years has played smart pop songs with an unabashed Big Star jones; the band's 1991 album Bandwagonesque famously won Spin's ’91 critic's poll—just above Nevermind. Here, the ’Club gigs in advance of Merge reissues of its 2005 and 2010 LPs, Man-Made and Shadows, respectively. Jangly lo-fi duo Honeyblood and Jersey's Southern-fried indie rockers Saint Rich open.

  1. Hudson River Park at Pier 84 W 44th St, at the Hudson River
  2. Thu Jul 24
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Nickel Creek + The Secret Sisters

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice
  • Free

Chris Thile and the Watkins siblings revive their rootsy yet stylistically unfettered bluegrass trio in support of A Dotted Line, their first LP since 2005’s Grammy-winning Why Should the Fire Die? Beehived country duo the Secret Sisters opens the show.

  1. Celebrate Brooklyn! (at the Prospect Park Bandshell) Prospect Park West, at 9th St
  2. Thu Jul 24
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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 Jul 25
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Torres + High Highs

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Mackenzie Scott, a young Nashville songsmith who records as Torres, turns up at the Seaport, electric guitar and haunting voice in tow. You can expect to hear from her 2013 self-titled debut, an exorcism of a record that sounds alternately tough and desperate. Sun-dappled indie-rock act High Highs open.

  1. South Street Seaport 19 Fulton St, at Front St
  2. Fri Jul 25
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Lincoln Center Out of Doors Family Day

  • Free

This family day sets the tone with Tangle, in which children help create an art installation by unraveling balls of elastic around 25 poles of varying height. The fun continues with a dance party, featuring performances by the Chinese American Arts Council Acrobatic Group and the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Ages 4 to 10.

  1. Hearst Plaza (at Lincoln Center) W 65th St, at Columbus Ave
  2. Sat Jul 26
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Deep Roots of Rock and Roll

  • Free

Brooklyn blueswoman/folkie Toshi Reagon leads the Black Rock Coalition Orchestra in revisiting the music of rock & roll's originators.

  1. Hearst Plaza (at Lincoln Center) W 65th St, at Columbus Ave
  2. Sat Jul 26
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