How to get into shows for free

Strapped for cash? Here are five simple ways to enjoy the biggest summer shows.



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Volunteer at SummerStage
We know the TV on the Radio show is sold out. But if you’re willing to handle a variety of tasks such as donation solicitation, flyer distribution and crowd control a few times this summer, you may just get into a couple of the hard-to-crack benefit concerts (like TVOTR or Explosions in the Sky) for the price of a little sweat. Call Kahlil Goodwyn, 212-360-2789, or e-mail

Picnic at Celebrate Brooklyn
Devoted arts lovers just have to give their time to get access here (sign up at A ten-show commitment is requested, and your mission, if you choose to accept it, might include manning the entrance, entertaining kiddies or working an information booth. In return, you’ll get free drinks and the chance to catch one of the season’s pricey benefit concerts (such as Jackson Browne or Animal Collective). If that’s too much responsibility, or the ticket price for those big nights is too high, just grab a bottle of wine and some Solo cups, arrive a couple hours before showtime (doors open at 5:30pm) and park it on the lawn outside of the Bandshell fence. You can hear every note for nothing. Prospect Park Bandshell, enter at Prospect Park West at 9th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn

Stalk All Points West
APW offered volunteer opportunities last year, and though this year’s details haven’t been finalized yet, the organizers seem hell-bent on giving some tickets away in a few under-the-radar modes. So sign up for the festival’s newsletter ( and follow its Twitter feed ( for various chances to win tix from now till the fest. Speaking of which, you may want to post APW’s widget ( on your Facebook or MySpace page ASAP—if you do, you’re automatically entered to win a pass.

Play the guitar with Rhys Chatham
On August 8, New York composer Rhys Chatham should finally get his U.S. premiere of A Crimson Grail (last year’s scheduled performance was rained out), with a little help from 200 friends. If you can competently play the guitar (or bass), you’ve got the chance to join him in song at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park. All you have to do is apply before June 15 and attend three rehearsals. You can tag along even if you don’t shred ax—the show is free. Apply at:

Head to Siren, Seaport Music or RiverRocks
For the price of a subway ride, you could be seeing Built to Spill on Coney Island (, Polvo at the Seaport ( or Ted Leo at Hudson River Park ( These fests are 100 percent free, 100 percent of the time.

INDEX NYC summer concert guide
Your next three months—planned.

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