The weather may not exactly be beach- worthy yet, but it’s never too early to start dreaming about summer. And if you happen to be staying in New York this season, you’re in luck; besides scoring an awesome summer job, intensive, or any other excuse to avoid returning home, you’ve also got access to some of the best concerts and live music festivals in the country.
Governor’s Ball: June 2-4
Launched in 2011, the NYC-native Governor’s Ball Music Festival (Gov Ball) will kick off the summer concert season at Randall’s Island Park. Gov Ball is always a hodge-podge of music genres, including rap, pop, rock, alternative, house, and more. This year’s headliners include Chance the Rapper, Lorde, Beach House, Flume, Phoenix, Childish Gambino, Wiz Khalifa, Cage the Elephant, Tool, and Logic. In total, over sixty acts will be playing sets all day and into the night across Gov Ball’s four stages, so there’s really something for everyone there. Aside from the music, the festival features some of the best local street art, outdoor games, and food truck fare. Tickets are available for single days or the entire weekend on their website.
Panorama: July 28-July 30
Goldenvoice, the same company that runs Coachella, launched this new music festival last summer to a bit of controversy. The producers of Gov Ball got a little too paranoid that the fledgling Panorama festival would steal their ticket sales, and successfully petitioned Mayor Bill de Blasio to have Panorama moved to later in the summer. Regardless of how far apart they are, I doubt any of us as college students have enough money or time to attend both festivals to begin with and I’ve seen debates fall on either side as to which one is more worth your money. Also held on Randall’s Island, Panorama doesn’t boast quite as many acts as the more established Gov Ball, but headliners include big names like Frank Ocean, Solange, Tame Impala, Alt-J, Nine Inch Nails, and A Tribe Called Quest. The event also includes an art component, known as “The Lab,” which features interactive exhibitions from exclusively NYC-based artists and a 360° dome theatre.
Electric Zoo: September 1-3
If you want to end your perfect city summer on a high note, a festival with over eighty acts from across the world is the way to go. Marking its 9th season, Electric Zoo (Ezoo) on Randall’s Island brings together DJ’s across the entire spectrum of electronic music, from dubstep to dance-pop to tropical house and everything in between. This year’s theme for the festival is “The 6th Boro,” paying homage to the brand’s home turf and it will be interesting to see how they incorporate this idea into the highly- elaborate designs of Ezoo’s four stages and other art installations. Standouts in the lineup thus far include DJ Snake, Above & Beyond, and Deadmau5, with many more to be announced soon.
Other Concert Venues
If you can’t seem to justify spending upwards of $100 on a one-day festival pass, there are still tons of opportunities to see great live music this summer. Acts from all of these festivals typically play after- hours on the same weekend at venues like Webster Hall, Irving Plaza, Output, Marquee, and Brooklyn Bowl. Tickets sell out quickly, but they’re much cheaper and are less crowded. Also, you don’t want to miss out on Central Park SummerStage. A mix of free and ticketed events, SummerStage concerts have been a New York City staple for decades. The full lineup has yet to be announced, but so far this season will include performances by Regina Spektor, Young the Giant, and All Time Low.
While you’re struggling to find a place to live or a job this summer, take a break to plan what’s truly important in life (having fun, obviously) and check out any of these events online before tickets are gone. With every kind of music you could dream of playing in beautiful venues across the city, the concert scene here is second to none, especially during summer nights.