The best summer concerts: August

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  • Photograph: Randee St Nicholas

    Britney Spears

  • Photograph: courtesy the artist

    Groupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayoquico

  • Photograph: D.L. Anderson

    Bon Iver

  • Photograph: courtesy the artist

    Kings of Leon

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Laurie Anderson

Photograph: Randee St Nicholas

Britney Spears

1 Lykke Li
The charming, shadowy Swedish popster plays cuts from her latest, sometimes-spooky record, Wounded Rhymes. Central Park SummerStage. 6:30pm; $30--$35.

2 Sufjan Stevens
The whispery-voiced troubadour delivered a game-changing, electronic, mind-bending pop album last year; better still, the live show featured robotic dance routines, a balloon flurry and costumes from outer space. Now imagine that setup on a beautiful summer evening in the park. Celebrate Brooklyn (at the Prospect Park Bandshell). 7pm; $35. 

2, 5 Britney Spears + Nicki Minaj
More than a decade into her drama-strewn career, Britney continues to make great pop records (including her most recent, Femme Fatale) and put on thrillingly odd live shows. This time around, her manager says, she's going for a "postapocalyptic vibe." Wig-wearing wonder Nicki Minaj brings her loony hip-hop in support. Aug 2: Nassau Coliseum. Aug 5: Izod Center. 7.30pm; $23.25--$103.25.

4 Malkit Singh + Dengue Fever Win guaranteed admission and reserved seats
Bhangra megastar Singh pairs with Cambodian-rock torchbearers Dengue Fever for a set of worldly pop shot through with irresistible kitsch. Lincoln Center Out of Doors (at Damrosch Park Bandshell). 7:30pm; free.

6 Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayorquio Win guaranteed admission and reserved seats
Founded in the Bronx in the 1970s, Grupo Folklorico recorded a pair of classic salsa albums before splitting up. At Lincoln Center, the reunited Afro-Cuban--Puerto Rican heavies share a bill with Francois Ladrezo, a Guadeloupean artist currently making waves. Lincoln Center Out of Doors; Damrosch Park (at Lincoln Center). 7:30pm; free. 

6 Shelabration! A Tribute to the Works of Shel Silverstein Win guaranteed admission and reserved seats
For generations of Americans, Shel Silverstein will forever be remembered as a hippie-dippy children's-book scribe. Of course, he was also a prolific songwriter, responsible for Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue," among other works—making the late bald Renaissance man the ideal subject for one of producer Hal Willner's reliably star-studded summertime tribute concerts. Central Park SummerStage. 7pm; free.

8, 9 Bon Iver
Did Bon Iver songman Justin Vernon ever dream through clouds of smoke that one day he'd be duetting with Kanye West? Unlikely, but that just makes his past year playing shows with Yeezy even more ridiculously cool. Cooler still is the fact that Vernon has also found time to make a new, self-titled album, which he'll be playing from at this nighttime show in beautiful Prospect Park. Aug 8: Celebrate Brooklyn (at the Prospect Park Bandshell). 7:30pm; advance $37.50, at the door $40. Aug 9: United Palace Theatre. 8pm; $45.

10, 17 Kings of Leon + Band of Horses Win tickets
Yeah, so their last album kinda sucked, but the Kings still put on an awesome live show—and truth be told, we're running low on bona fide rock & roll stars these days. Break out the white jeans and cowboy boots and let's do this! Aug 10: Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. 7pm; $30.50. Aug 17: PNC Bank Arts Center. 7pm; $20--$205.

10 Laurie Anderson and Friends
Lincoln Center Out of Doors; Damrosch Park (at Lincoln Center). 7:30pm; free.

11 Deer Tick
Hudson River Park, Pier 54. 7pm; free.

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