The best outdoor concerts in NYC this summer

We’ve put together a definitive list of this summer’s not-to-be-missed outdoor concerts—just don’t forget the sunscreen
Governors Ball 2014
Photograph: Michael J. Chen
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One of the great pleasures of summer is the opportunity to see live outdoor concerts on a sunny June afternoon or a balmy August evening. Dig into our list of this year's summer concerts in NYC, including plentiful offerings from summer music festivals at our favorite NYC parks.

RECOMMENDED: See our guide to concerts in NYC

Outdoor concerts in NYC this summer

Primus
Photograph: Tod Brilliant
Music, Rock and indie

Primus + Mastodon

Back in the late ’80s, it was easy to write off Primus as just another self-indulgent thrash-funk novelty act, but no one could deny the band’s sheer musicianship. The weirdo-crew visits for a sure-to-be-bonkers Coney Island show behind its latest album, The Desaturating Seven.

Donny McCaslin
Photograph: Courtesy Jimmy King
Music, Jazz

Bowie Symphonic

The Thin White Duke is always in season. Ensemble LPR hits Central Park for a reimagining of Bowie’s catalog with an appearance by the Donny McCaslin Group, which served as the backing band on his swan song, Blackstar.

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Belle and Sebastian
Photograph: Reuben Cox
Music, Rock and indie

Belle and Sebastian + Perfume Genius + Frankie Cosmos

Awash in boy-girl harmonies and wry, sentimental lyricism, Scottish act Belle and Sebastian has been the reigning champion of twee-pop ever since the release of its sophomore album, If You're Feeling Sinister. Recently, frontman Stuart Murdoch changed the formula with 2015's Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, a buoyant comeback record with synth-driven beats and dance floor aspirations. Expect both modes here as the band headlines one of the summer's most promising gigs, with emotive, dazzling balladeer Perfume Genius and local indie-pop heroes Frankie Cosmos opening.

Protomartyr
Photograph: Courtesy Daniel Topete
Music, Rock and indie

Protomartyr + Deerhoof

For this Northside Festival showcase, taking place on the roof of Brooklyn venue Elsewhere, the world’s premier art-pop band, Deerhoof, presents its jagged, whimsical aesthetic alongside Detroit’s icy postpunkers Protomartyr.

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Dead & Company
Photograph: Courtesy Danny Clinch
Music, Rock and indie

Dead & Company

More than fifty years after forming the Grateful Dead, longtime members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir are still out there truckin'. As Dead & Company, the crew teams up with Allman Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge and ax slinger John Mayer to bring its exploratory jams and time-tested Americana to the masses. Expect a healthy parking lot scene and jovial party atmosphere at these outdoor shows.

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters
Photograph: Oli Powell
Music, Rock and indie

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters + Sheryl Crow

We last heard from Led Zeppelin when the band put out a snazzy, full-catalog reissue a couple years back, but don't get your hopes up for much else in the way of reunion shows or releases. You can, however, find leonine lead man Robert Plant on the road performing solo or alongside his current cross-cultural concern, the Sensational Space Shifters, following 2017's sensuous new solo album, Carry Fire.

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Joey Bada$$
Photograph: Courtesy Gari Askew II
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Joey Bada$$

The endlessly talented Brooklyn rapper headlines this annual tribute concert for his late comrade, Capital Steez, alongside an array of local hip-hop crews, including Flatbush Zombies, the Underachievers and Joey’s own Pro Era.

Joe Russo's Almost Dead
Photograph: Larry Marano/REX/Shutterstock
Music, Rock and indie

Joe Russo's Almost Dead

Benevento/Russo drummer Joe Russo convenes an all-star assemblage of jam-scene regulars—keyboardist Marco Benevento, bassist Dave Dreiwitz, guitarist-vocalist Tom Hamilton and guitarist Scott Metzger—for what's sure to be a long, strange trip through the Grateful Dead oeuvre.

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Grizzly Bear
Photograph: Courtesy Tom Hines
Music, Rock and indie

Grizzly Bear + Spoon

Indie-rock faves Grizzly Bear hit town behind last year’s Painted Ruins, which—in keeping with the band’s previous albums—is a rich listen with ample space for psychedelic wanderings, oddball melodies and rhythmic left-turns. Austin indie-rockers Spoon co-headline, making this a knockout summer pairing.

Arctic Monkeys
Photograph: Sebastian Kim
Music, Rock and indie

Arctic Monkeys

Ferociously talented British quartet headlines with its blend of full-tilt, sinewy rock, which is constantly undergoing sharp-witted evolution. Here the band plays behind its new, sixth LP, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.

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