While many New Yorker’s escape the city for cooler climates at the onset of summer, for music lovers, the “city that never sleeps” is only just heating up.
Of course, The Big Apple hosts music festivals year round, but summer is the time to truly immerse yourself in any and all styles of music, from hip-hop to electronic, rock to salsa.
Many festival organizers also make good use of the greenery New York has to offer, hosting events in the city’s many public parks and gardens. My suggestion? Randall’s Island Park is a serious hotspot for tunes all summer long, so don’t stray too far from this oasis in the middle of Manhattan.
So, which festivals in New York made the cut?
1) Electric Zoo
When: August 30 – September 1, 2019
Where: Randall’s Island Park
New York’s Premiere Electronic Music Festival
“Established in 2009 by Made Event, the internationally renowned Electric Zoo Festival is one of New York City’s largest music festivals and features the top names in electronic music, bringing a wide variety of acts from around the world and across the spectrum of electronic music’s various sub-genres. International editions of Electric Zoo have taken place in Mexico City, Tokyo, Shanghai, and São Paulo.
Electric Zoo celebrates the joy of electronic music every year by putting on one of the biggest, most immersive festival experiences in the world.”
2) Governors Ball Music Festival
When: May 31 – June 2, 2019
Where: Randall’s Island Park
“We started all this 8 years ago because we were music lovers who lived in a city that needed – that deserved – a contemporary music festival. Music is always our primary focus, and with 60+ artists of all genres across 4 stages, there is something for everyone.”
3) Panorama Music Festival
When: Retuning in July 2020…?
Where: Randall’s Island Park
“A celebration of the city’s unique creative community, the critically-acclaimed festival pairs a diverse lineup of top-notch talent with immersive art and innovative technology for an unparalleled live music event.”
4) The Greatest Day Ever Music Festival
When: July 13 & 14, 2019
Where: The New York Expo Center
“THE GREATEST DAY EVER! FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY ADIDAS ORIGINALS IS BACK THIS SUMMER FOR THE SIXTH YEAR WITH INCREDIBLE MUSIC ARTISTS, CARNIVAL RIDES AND SO MUCH MORE!
WHERE CARNIVAL MEETS CROSS-GENRE MUSIC FESTIVAL, THE GREATEST DAY EVER! PROVIDES SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE IN AN INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENT WHERE THE ONLY DRESS CODE IS TO WEAR A SMILE AND HAVE THE GREATEST DAY POSSIBLE.”
5) Afropunk Festival
When: August 24 & 25, 2019
AFROPUNK is an influential community of young, gifted people of all backgrounds who speak through music, art, film, comedy, fashion and more. AFROPUNK is a voice for the unwritten, unwelcome and unheard.
Afro: as in, born of African spirit and heritage; see also black (not always), see also rhythm and color, see also other, see also underdog.
Punk: as in, rebel, opposing the simple route, imbued with a DIY ethic, looking forward with simplicity, rawness and open curiosity; see also other, see also underdog.
AFROPUNK is defining culture by the collective creative actions of the individual and the group. It is a safe place, a blank space to freak out in, to construct a new reality, to live your life as you see fit, while making sense of the world around you.
6) BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!
Where: Prospect Park, Brooklyn
ONE OF NEW YORK CITY’S LONGEST RUNNING, FREE, OUTDOOR PERFORMING ARTS FESTIVALS.
“Launched in 1979 as a catalyst for a Brooklyn performing arts scene and to bring people back into Prospect Park after years of neglect, the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival was an early anchor in the park’s revitalization and has become one of the city’s foremost summer cultural attractions.
All BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival performances are free! The festival attracts upwards of 250,000 attendees from across New York City to the Prospect Park Bandshell each summer.”
“There’s only one free summer-long outdoor concert and performance series in New York City that has been presenting talent from around the world and around the block for nearly 40 years: the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival.”
7) Mountain Jam
When: June 13-16, 2019
Where: NEW LOCATION 2019 = Bethel Woods, NY
“Mountain Jam is a four-day, multi-stage event, featuring over 40 bands on 3 stages. This year, the festival will take place at the site of the original 1969 Woodstock Festival – Bethel Woods. Rolling Stone Magazine, along with many other noteworthy national publications, consistently rates Mountain Jam as one to the top music festivals in the country. In 2011, Pollstar recognized Mountain Jam with a nomination for Music Festival of the Year. We’re looking forward to celebrating the 15th year of Mountain Jam with all of you this summer!
Bethel Woods is a beautiful, award-winning cultural and civic center situated on 800 acres surrounding the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival. Located 90 miles from New York City in Bethel, NY, the lush 800-acre campus includes a Pavilion Stage amphitheater with seating for 6,000, plus lawn seating for another 10,000. The award-winning Museum at Bethel Woods will be open exclusively for festival goers at no additional cost.”
8) Blue Note Jazz Festival
Where: Various venues across NYC
“The Blue Note Jazz Festival in New York City is the city’s premier jazz celebration and focuses on bringing the big-name artist to intimate crowds and up-and-coming acts to the masses. The month-long event takes over 15 venues across the city and boasts 150 globe-trotting, world-class performers.”
9) The Meadows Music & Arts Festival
When: Future Dates TBA
“The Meadows Music & Arts Festival is New York City’s newest rock, pop and urban music festival. The Citi Field stadium is reimagined into a dancefloor fit for thousands, with the very biggest artists in the world taking charge from four stages.”
10) Full Moon Music Festival
When: Future Dates TBA…?
Where: Governors Island
“Taking place beneath August’s blue moon, backlit by panoramic views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline, Full Moon will transform Governors Island into an oasis of live music, art installations, and international culinary delights.”
11) Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival
When: July 8-13, 2019
12) New York International Salsa Congress
When: August 29 – September 2, 2019
Where: New York Marriott Marquis
“The New York International Salsa Congress brings the world together on the dance floor every year on Labor Day weekend. Featuring live bands concerts, dance showcases, instructional workshops, and non-stop social dancing all in the center of the world’s greatest city, come see why the NYISC brings thousands of attendees from New York and over 40 countries worldwide for an annual celebration of Latin dance, music and culture.
Taking place once again in the heart of Times Square at the extraordinary Marriott Marquis, you will feel that you are dancing in the center of the world. Enjoy workshops and performances from today’s most talented dancers, live music from world-famous bands, and social dancing all night long. All this in the mecca of culture and entertainment, home to countless attractions, parks, museums and shows.
Join us again for another memorable edition of New York City’s premier latin dance and music event!”
When: June – October 2019
Where: Various locations across NYC
“SummerStage is New York’s largest free outdoor performing arts festival. SummerStage annually presents approximately 100 performances in 15-18 parks throughout the five boroughs. With performances ranging from American pop, Latin, world music, dance and theater, SummerStage fills a vital niche in New York City’s summer arts festival landscape. Since its inception 34 years ago, more than six million people from New York City and around the world have enjoyed SummerStage.
For the 2019 season, we’re thrilled to unveil our newly renovated flagship venue in Central Park. Our iconic venue transformed with a new stage, new sound system, increased lighting, upgraded backstage areas, raised seating, and an improved concert-going experience for all guests. What hasn’t changed is SummerStage’s mission to present iconic and emerging artists from widely diverse genres that reflect the population of our international city.”
14) Gather Outdoors Festival
When: May 25 & 26, 2019
Where: Monticello, NY
THE EARTH HAS MUSIC FOR THOSE WHO LISTEN
“For the love of dance music, we come together in nature. Gather will take place in upstate New York in the Catskills on Memorial Day weekend 2019.
Featuring three stages, GATHER will showcase sounds from some of the industry’s most innovative selectors. Situated in the idyllic serenity of the catskill mountains, the festival will offer a refreshing break from the big city. GATHER with us.”
Birds-eye view at Gather Outdoors 🦅🌳As we present our day by day line-up we are excited to announce the addition of NY staple and our good friend, Victor Calderone to the billing.SATURDAY:Audiofly, Butch, Desert Hearts Crew, Eskuche, Floorplan, Francesca Lombardo, Jon Gaiser (live), Marco Faraone, Matador (live) Mimi Love, Mira, Moscoman, muffs and mykola, O.BEE, Paco Osuna, Pink Mammoth Crew, Ray Zuniga & NIKITA, Ryan Elliott, Victor Calderone.SUNDAY:Agoria, Amelie Lens, Art Department, Brian Cid, Britta Unders, Chaim, D'julz, Danny Tenaglia DJ, David Berrie, DJ Nobu, Doc Martin, FJAAK, Goldcap, Igor Vicente, Holmar b2b Philipp Jung, James Murphy (DJ set), Jamie xx, Maya Jane Coles, Michelangelo, MK, Mr. G (live) US Debut, Stacey Pullen, Steve Rachmad.
Posted by Gather Outdoors on Wednesday, April 17, 2019
15) Disco Jam
When: June 6-9, 2019
Where: Stephentown, NY (30 mins East of Albany)
“4 days and nights of cutting edge live music, 24hr on site disc golfing, beautiful grassy camping, flow arts and fire performers, installation and live artists, food vending, mini golf course, ice cream parlor, kids tent, late night sets, 4 unique stages, silent disco party…and a whole lot more!!
Disc Jam Music Festival is 4 days and nights of cutting edge live music on side-by-side main stages fitted with the top in professional sound and lights, a massive tent stage that hosts both day sets and the late night sets.
Our venue is located on an absolutely gorgeous piece of flat, spacious property with grass so soft and lush your shoes are going to be jealous that you’re not wearing them all weekend. Camping areas are within an earshot of the main stage and within eyesight away from vending and art installations! No shuttles or long walks exist anywhere at Disc Jam.”
16) Portal Burn
When: July 25-29, 2019
Where: Hannibal, NY (Upstate New York)
New York’s Official Regional Burn…
“PortalBurn is an event like nothing you have experienced. Each year, we design and set up a temporary community where everyone is a participant. There are no vendors; nothing can be bought or sold. Items are freely gifted. The entire event is run by volunteers. Everyone, from Board Members and Organizers to Leads to Medics and Rangers, is volunteering, because PortalBurn belongs to them, and you…
Here you will find the wild, the wonderful, the magical…a world of unbridled creativity and self-expression through music, art, performances, gatherings, food, drink and participatory events. Join us in creating this world…
PortalBurn is the Burning Man sanctioned Upstate New York Regional Burn experience dedicated to the principles of inclusion, gifting, decommodification, self-reliance, self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation and immediacy.”
17) TimeWarp USA
When: September 22 & 23, 2019
Where: The New York Expo Center | The Bronx
“After our 25YRS celebration in Mannheim, we’re expanding the festivities by returning to New York City for another edition of Time Warp US!
Four years after our last US edition we are finally back in the city that never sleeps. Join us in November for a celebration of all things Time Warp with a full weekend show. For this very special occasion we will be bringing some of our dearest Time Warp family members with us, along with some fresh and exciting new faces. Get ready to lose yourself in sound and visuals for two unforgettable nights.
Don’t miss out on this unique experience where music, dance and technology collide for a celebration right out of the heart of the underground of electronic music.”
18) Taste of Country Festival
When: June 7-9, 2019
Where: Hunter NY
“Taste of Country Music Festival is produced by Townsquare Media, and is the only multi-day camping country music festival in the Northeast. The festival featured top acts in country music in its inaugural year of 2013, including Lady Antebellum, Willie Nelson, Trace Adkins, Billy Currington, Montgomery Gentry, Hunter Hayes, Joe Nichols, Gloriana, Justin Moore, Dustin Lynch, Blackberry Smoke and many more.
19) Borderland Festival
When: September 21 & 22, 2019
Where: East Aurora, Knox Farm State Park
“The Borderland Music + Arts Festival celebrates the rich history and renaissance of the region with a two-day music and cultural festival set in one of the most scenic and storied grounds in all of New York State, Knox Farm State Park. Located just 16 miles south of Buffalo, Knox Farm State Park is a beautiful, historic 633-acre grounds, located in historic East Aurora—the birthplace of the Roycroft Arts & Crafts movement. Knox Farm is a microcosm of our entire region with its unique habitat variety including grasslands, hayfields, pastures, woodlands, ponds and wetlands, making it a common attraction for the avid hiker, explorer and nature enthusiast.”
20) Rocks Off Concert Cruises
When: May – September 2019
“Come aboard one of our amazing vessels for a 3 hour concert cruise experience with world class live music and breathtaking views of the most iconic harbor and skyline in the world.
Good times, great music, amazing people in a setting you just won’t get from any other venues, EVER. Treat yourself to a Rocks Off Concert Cruise this summer, New York City. You deserve it!!”
Am I Missing Any Epic Music Festivals in New York…?
There are so many incredible events, concerts, and events happening all around the great state of New York, and it’s hard to include all of them on my list! But if you think there are any specific events that I need to add, please do let me know! This was a fun article to put together, and I can’t wait to personally check out a few of these events this summer, as I’m planning on spending a good amount of time in the city!
Looking for more festivals in the U.S.A?
I’ve got tons more articles for all my fellow festival addicts. Take a read through some of these, and start planning your next domestic festival trip!
And are you camping at a music festival soon…?
Be sure to read my Ultimate Music Festival Camping Packing List to make sure you’re well prepared for the weekend, as well as this 44 Festival Accessories, Gear, and Must-Haves | Festival Packing List to look your best!!