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New York City: Outdoor Venues & 2016 Concert Schedule

November 2, 2015 - by Linda Sheridan
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The snow is quickly melting away, as thoughts turn to summer plans-nothing beats an iced cold one while watching your favorite artist jam outdoors. New York City is well into planning its 2016 summer outdoor concert schedule. We have many of them included here, and will continue to update as more are added. Mumford & Sons, Dave Matthews Band, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Heart, Joan Jett, Josh Groban, and Black Sabbath are just some of the artists hitting the road. 

 Summer Outdoor Concerts NYC 2016

Click here to read about city's best (indoor) concert venues. 

Central Park

Central Park SummerStage, which turns 31 this year, is one of New York City's popular outdoor concert series. Their rich history of performers over the years includes Simon & Garfunkel, Sonic Youth, and Patti Smith, to name just a few. This year's lineup will include a triple bill of Barenaked Ladies w/eighties greats Howard Jones and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (O.M.D.) on 6/13. (Tickets go on sale 2/5). Stay tuned for additional summer lineup info.

Randall’s Island

Randall's Island/ Governor's Ball

With a capacity to hold between 35-40,000 people, Randall’s Island has been a popular venue since the 1930s. Located in the East River, Randall’s Island is separated from Manhattan by the river’s main channel. Between the Island and the Bronx flows the Bronx Kill, while the famous rapids of Hell’s Gate separate the Park from Astoria, Queens. Acts that have performed there include Dave Matthews Band, Cirque du Soleil, Lollapalooza (festival), the Tibetan Freedom Concert, and many others. In 2016, the summer's highly anticipated three-day Governor’s Ball (6/3-5) lineup includes  Kanye West, The Strokes, The Black Keys, The Killers, Gary Clark Jr, Beck, Robyn, Eagles of Death Metal, Death Cab for Cutie, Haim, Elle King and many others.  Randall’s Island is easily accessible by the RFK Bridge. New York Water Taxi provides swift ferry service.

Prospect Park Bandshell

Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park

The Prospect Park Bandshell was designed by architect Aymar Embury II (1880-1966), who also designed Prospect Park Zoo. The Bandshell was renovated in 1983 in response to the success of the four-year-old Celebrate Brooklyn! Performing Arts Festival. In 1998, the bandshell again received major improvements with $3 million in funding from former Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden. The three-story Bandshell features food and beer/wine concessions, public restrooms, and first-come, first-served seating in the 2000-seat plaza or 5000-capacity lawn. Last year, the great Willie Nelson performed. So far Australian psychedlic rock band Tame Impala will be performing benefit concerts 6/14-6/15. Stay tuned for additional 2016 info. Prospect Park is relatively easy to reach by subway, best bet, F or G Train to 15th Street-Prospect Park or 7th Avenue station. Prospect Park West at 9th Street, Brooklyn, 718-965-8999 (Prospect Park Events line);

Forest Hills Tennis Stadium

Forest Hills Stadium

Just 15 minutes from Penn Station via the LIRR, Forest Hills Tennis Stadium enjoyed a revival in 2014 with a blockbuster concert given by Mumford and Sons. The stadium is owned by the adjoining Forest Hills West Side Tennis Club, which in 2012 celebrated its 100th anniversary. Last year, The Who performed under blues skies for their 50th anniversary, along with top-notch artists including Alabama Shakes, D'Angelo, Modest Mouse, Van Morrison and Santana.  The 2016 summer's lineup looks bright, with the return of Mumford & Sons on 6/16 (tickets on sale Feb. 5), Disclosure (6/10) country legend Dolly Parton (6/25), Paul Simon (6/30, 7/1), New York Pops with Matthew Morrison (7/7), Bob Dylan (7/8), Flight of the Conchords (7/20), comedian Louis C.K. (7/22) Chris Stapleton (7/23), Flume (8/27), Van Morrison (10/9) and more. Stayed tuned for additional summer season lineup info.

Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

Jones Beach

If a concert under the stars near the beach is your thing, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, aka Jones Beach, is a great outdoor amphitheater, located at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh, New York. (Get the LIRR to Wantagh or Freeport station,  it's 10 min. away from stations by bus or cab.) Originally opened in 1952 as The Jones Beach Marine Theater, the original 8,500-seat theater underwent a renovation in 1992 and now can accommodate 15,000 seats. Just remember, if you want to drink, bring your ID! Last year's lineup included shows with Van Halen, Def Leppard and others. The 2016 lineup so far includes Dave Matthews Band (6/21),  Sting & Peter Gabriel: Rock, Paper Scissors Tour (6/24), Journey/Doobie Brothers/Dave Mason (6/27), Weezer/Panic at the Disco/Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (6/30) Josh Groban & Sarah McLachlan (7/22), Laid Back Festival-Gregg Allman (7/23), Darius Rucker (7/24),  triple bill-Heart, Cheap Trick, & Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (7/28), Black Sabbath/Rival Sons (8/17).  1000 Ocean Parkway, 516-221-1000,

The Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk 

Willie Nelson

Brand spanking new, this Brooklyn venue will be be celebrating its Grand Opening Weekend during Independence Day, with some big shows lined up, including Sting & Peter Gabriel (7/3) and the Beach Boys (7/4). Other shows include crooner Maxwell (7/9), Hollywood Vampires w/Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, & Joe Perry (7/10) Jane's Addiction with Dinosaur Jr. (7/15), Boston (8/10), Rick Springfield w/Night Ranger & The Romantics (8/18), country legend Willie Nelson & Family with special guest Aaron Lewis, and Don Henley (9/21). 3052 W 21st St, Brooklyn, NY 

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