Best Outdoor Festivals and Music Shows in Brooklyn

By Meredith Hoffman on July 13, 2012 8:26am 

BROOKLYN — What better way to cope with the heat than to frolic in it?

Brooklyn's options are abundant this summer for outdoor festivals, whether you prefer hip-hop, Olympic sports, or paint parties — and you can make your way to many of the events without even spending a dollar.

"New York's two largest free outdoor music series will be bringing sweet summer sounds to Brooklyn for music lovers to enjoy absolutely for free," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz in an email, speaking of the Seaside Summer Concert Series in Coney Island and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert Series in Crown Heights, both put on by his office.

Whether you're curious about those two musical extravaganzas, or you're looking for another option, DNAinfo.com New York has got you covered in the city's hottest borough.

CELEBRATE BROOKLYN

Prospect Park has free shows throughout the summer, including a concert by the folky Indie act Head and the Heart, a dance performance by the innovative Complexions company, and a screening of "The Muppets" movie (a full schedule is on Celebrate Brooklyn's website). Popular high-energy bands Hot Chip and the Dirty Projectors are playing benefit shows for a park as part of the festival.

WORLD'S LARGEST PAINT PARTY

Coney Island will be overflowing with color and screams when the Dayglow Tour, a paint and music festival, comes to New York on July 15. Tickets range from $90 to $150 for the event.

SEASIDE SUMMER CONCERT SERIES

Also at Coney Island, the annual Seaside Summer Concert Series, in its 34th year, is one of the city's largest free music festivals. It kicks off July 12 with weekly Thursday night concerts at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue. This year brings Squeeze, Gloria Gaynor, and Gladys Knight to the breezy park, and other acts range from oldies to Latin to classic rock. A full lineup can be found on the Brooklyn Concerts website.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. CONCERT SERIES

This free festival at Wingate Field in Crown Heights starts in August and is celebrating its 30th anniversary this summer with acts including Bootsy Collins, The Mighty Sparrow, Public Enemy and Salt-n-Pepa. The Monday night concerts include R&B, soul, Caribbean and gospel performers, with a full lineup also at the Brooklyn Concerts website.

GIGLIO FESTIVAL

The 125-year-old Italian Catholic tradition in Williamsburg includes a street procession of men carrying a four-ton giant tower on their shoulders, carnival rides, and a bounty of delicious street-eats like fried dough. Going on through July 16, see Our Lady of Mount Carmel's schedule online.

BROOKLYN HIP-HOP FESTIVAL

Rap legend Busta Rhymes headlines at Brooklyn Bridge Park's 8th annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival July 9 to 14. Passes to the weeklong festival are $100 or fans can buy tickets to individual days.

OLYMPIC SPORTS FESTIVAL

A mini-Olympics for kids (ages three and older) is coming to Aviator Sports on Flatbush Avenue July 22 with a morning of water activities, sports, arts and crafts, and "opening and closing ceremonies" for the festival. In the afternoon hungry athletic competitors can enjoy barbecue to close the festival grounds.

GRAND STREET WEEKEND WALK

A block party will close off Grand Street in Williamsburg to vehicular traffic between Union Avenue and Manhattan Avenue Saturdays on July 14 and 21 for pedestrians to enjoy DJ's, dancing lessons, and silkscreen printing demonstrations, to name a few activities. The free event also allows restaurants to provide sidewalk seating.

WASH AVE ROCKS STREET FAIR

Prospect Heights is preparing for a Saturday afternoon street party, on Washington Avenue between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place. The fair on August 18 will include a fashion show featuring local businesses, along with other festivities.

ROOFTOP FILMS

Film buffs can check out screenings in courtyards and on roofs around the borough as part of Rooftop Films' summer series, which includes recently shot films like "Brooklyn Castle" about the students of public school I.S. 318, and longtime favorites like Woody Allen's comedy "Manhattan." Live music and after-parties accompany many of the films.

EAST RIVER PARK CONCERT SERIES

Williamsburg's outdoor space at 50 Kent Ave. has a line-up of free and ticketed concerts on the waterfront, hosted by the local non-profit Open Space Alliance. Eager listeners can visit OSA's website for dates and prices.

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