Summer Music Festivals and Concerts Around New York City


Emily Hahn

With the end of the long, cold winter, musicians pack their instruments and travel the country to play at incredible outdoor music festivals and concert venues. It gives the music fan an opportunity to hear some of their favorite bands, often playing with a number of other artists. Although the most iconic music festivals are not held in the Northeast (Coachella in California, Lollapalooza in Chicago, Bonnaroo in Tennessee), there are still many great events within driving distance from Manhasset. Here is a list of some of the most notable outdoor festivals, venues, and concerts in the New York area this summer.

June 2-4. Governors Ball. Randall Island (17 miles from Manhasset).

The summer music festival season officially kicks off with this three-day event that takes place in Randall Island, located between Manhattan, Bronx, and Queens. Since 2011, the Governors Ball has featured a wide variety of musical artists spanning multiple genres. This year, some of the acts include Chance the Rapper, Lorde, Tove Lo, Phoenix, Wu-Tang Clan, Mark Ronson, Tool, Wiz Khalifa, Logic, and Rae Sremmurd. Tickets are available as a three-day package or sold as individual day passes.

June 3. KTUphoria. Jones Beach Theater (23 miles from Manhasset).

All summer long, Jones Beach Theater plays host to numerous concerts. With 15,000 seats, it attracts many high profile artists, but mostly to entertain an older crowd. However, there are few events that are more suitable for younger audiences, including the KTUphoria. Sponsored by the radio station WKTU (103.5), it features many contemporary artists including Miley Cyrus, Fifth Harmony, Jason Derulo, Shaggy, and Daya. And to entertain the mom who has been coerced to drive a group of high school kids to the concert, Backstreet Boys are also scheduled to perform!

June 9-10. The Chainsmokers. Forest Hills Stadium (13 miles from Manhasset).

The former home of the United States Open Tennis Championship, Forest Hills Stadium now serves as an outdoor concert venue during the summers. Of the many artists of various genres playing at this iconic site, The Chainsmokers may be one of the most attractive to the high school audience. They will be playing two consecutive nights, and are supported by three opening bands each night (including Kiiara on June 10, and Emily Warren on both June 9 and 10).

June 11. Hot 97 Summer Jam. MetLife Stadium (33 miles from Manhasset).

Since 1994, the radio station Hot 97FM has sponsored this annual hip-hop music festival at the New Jersey football stadium. The 2016 lineup included Pusha T, Big Sean, DJ Khaled, and Young Thug. The 2017 lineup has not been announced as of April 14. Over the years, the event has been marred by violence. In 2015, the crowd clashed with the State Police in riot gear, resulting in 61 arrests. Last year, there was a floor fight at the event that resulted in 35 arrests. This year, however, will hopefully be different from past years; it should be a great concert to attend!

June 15-18. Firefly Music Festival. Dover (Delaware) International Speedway (191 miles from Manhasset).

For the die-hard music fan, a four-hour drive to Delaware may be a required pilgrimage to experience the Firefly Music Festival. The four-day event boasts more than 140 bands on the schedule, including Twenty One Pilots, The Weeknd, Muse, Weezer, Chance the Rapper, and Ke$ha. For the desperate high school student without a driver’s license, she may be able to entice her father to drive her because Bob Dylan is also on the lineup.

June 16. BLI Summer Jam. Jones Beach Theater (23 miles from Manhasset).

Sponsored by the Long Island radio station WBLI (106.1), this annual one-day event will feature more than 10 artists including Flo Rida, DNCE, Jason DeRulo, and Miley Cyrus. Not to be mistaken for the Hot 97 Summer Jam in New Jersey, the BLI Summer Jam does not have a history of violence or arrests.

July 28-30. Panorama Music Festival. Randall Island (17 miles from Manhasset).

In its second year of existence, Panorama Music Festival takes place at the same venue as the Governors Ball, but is geared to a slightly older audience. It is marketed as “Coachella-East,” as it is sponsored by the same organization behind the famed California festival. This summer, the three-day event will feature Frank Ocean, Solange, Tame Impala, Alt-J, Nine Inch Nails, and A Tribe Called Quest.

July 29-30. The Classic East. Citi Field (12 miles from Manhasset)

For anyone who wishes to experience popular music from 30-40 years ago, or is looking for a perfect birthday present for his or her parents, “The Classic East” concerts may be the answer. The two-night event at Citi Field in Queens features 6 legendary bands: The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, and Earth, Wind, & Fire.

August 23-24. Justin Bieber. MetLife Stadium (33 miles from Manhasset).

Home of the New York Giants, the MetLife Stadium can accommodate more than 80,000 music lovers for one of its massive outdoor summer concerts. This year, Justin Bieber will play two nights as a part of his “Purpose World Tour.” U2 (June 28 and 29) and Coldplay (August 1) are also scheduled to perform this summer at the New Jersey stadium.

August 26-27. Afropunkfest. Commadore Barry Park (20 miles fro Manhasset).

A multicultural event celebrating the fusion of rap, punk, alternative rock, and international music, Afropunkfest is held annually in Brooklyn. The 2017 lineup includes Gary Clark Jr., Soul II Soul, Macy Gray, and Willow Smith.

August 28-29. Lady Gaga. Citi Field (12 miles from Manhasset).

On April 15, Lady Gaga will be headlining at the famed Coachella Music Festival in California. Her next performances will be in August, when she begins her “Joanne World Tour.” She is scheduled to perform two nights (August 28 and 29) at the home of the New York Mets.

September 1-3. Electric Zoo. Randall Island (17 miles from Manhasset).

If electric dance music is your passion, you must go to the Electric Zoo, which turns Randall Island into a massive party during the Labor Day Weekend. The only catch is you have be 18 years old. For those with proper government issued ID’s, you can enjoy performances by more than 50 artists, including DJ Snake, Above & Beyond and deadmau5.