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Celebrate Brooklyn! Outdoor Music Concerts This Summer in NYC

June 18, 2018 - by Merrill Lee Girardeau
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Summer fun doesn’t get much better than outdoor concerts. This year, Celebrate Brooklyn! returns for its 39th year to the Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn for high-caliber musical acts, from Aimee Mann to Jason Mraz to Kronos String Quartet. This concert series kicked off June 14 with Vance Joy and ends August 14 with The Decemberists. But here’s the best news of all: most of these concerts are free! 

Indie-rock and alt gods will come out to play throughout June, July, and August. Australian folk star Vance Joy played June 14 (“We’re Going Home”). Grizzly Bear & Spoon, two popular indie-rock acts, are both double-headlining June 20. Aimee Mann, named one of the 10 best living songwriters by NPR, plays a free show with punk band Superchunk on Thursday, June 21. Vibey, whisper-soft R&B comes from Rhye July 7, while punk legends The Breeders will shred the stage on August 11. The Decemberists (“Don’t Carry It All”) shut it all down with toe-tapping folk on August 14, with opening act M.Ward.

 The Breeders

The Breeders perform as part of BRIC's Celebrate Brooklyn series in Prospect Park Aug. 11.

Keep in mind that some of the more popular acts, including Vance Joy, Spoon and Grizzly Bear, and The Decemberists, are part of the Benefit Concerts series and, as such, will be charging for tickets. The Spoon and Grizzly Bear tickets start at $46, and The Decemberists at $45.

True to the Brooklyn spirit, the genres are all over the map at Celebrate Brooklyn! The popular instrumental cover band Kronos String Quartet will join forces with a Malian band called Trio Da Kali on July 14 at a free show. Throughout the summer, hear jazz from Grammy-award-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis, country from Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, a ballet honoring Leonard Cohen, and Indian raga by sitarist Anoushka Shankar.

RR Now photo by Todd Cooper

R+R=Now. Photo by Todd Cooper.

July 13, the Latin Alternative Music Conference brings three Latina musicians to the stage, opened by French-Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux and headlined by Spanish MC Mala Rodriguez. R+R=NOW is a supergroup that melds jazz, rap, R&B, EDM, and hip hop. Their free concert will be held on June 22. Spoken-word artist Noname, also featured at Coachella this year, will perform August 3.


Celebrate Brooklyn! will also deliver one-of-a-kind multimedia performances as films are scored with live instrumental music. The new documentary Brimstone & Glory, recorded at the National Pyrotechnic Festival in Mexico, will be screened at the bandshell (the same creators were behind the 2012 film Beasts of the Southern Wild). Live scoring of the film will be provided by two musical acts: Wordless Music Orchestra and Sonido Gallo Negro. July 18, the screen will light up with Hayao Miyazaki’s 1984 masterpiece Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, live-scored by guitarist Kaki King and Treya Lam. Both of these shows will be free of charge.

All shows are general admission. Benefit Concerts are standing room only, while free concerts will have limited seating and a sloping lawn behind the seats for you, your lawn chairs, and your picnic blanket!

You are welcome to bring your own food as well. No alcohol, cans, glass bottles, or coolers will be allowed, however. See a complete list of what you can and can’t bring here

There will also be food, drink, and merchandise available to purchase near the Bandshell.

All Celebrate Brooklyn! concerts will be held at the Prospect Park Bandshell. Enter from Prospect Park West at the 9th or 14th Street entrances. Call 718-683-5600 or visit for a full line-up, tickets, and more.

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