So, it happened: Summer came. Or, you know, it’s coming. And in the long tradition of New Yorkers, now that the weather is consistently above 60 degrees, we want to spend all our free time outside. So in the spirit of fresh air and sunny days, we present to you the 50 events we’re most looking forward to attending this summer. We think you’ll like them too.
BARGEMUSIC: MUSIC IN MOTION
Chamber music on a floating barge at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge—backdropped by the lower Manhattan skyline and the East River—makes for a classy and enchanting Saturday evening outing.
5/2-8/29 on Saturdays 2 Old Fulton Street, DUMBO
PLEASE TOUCH THE ART
If you’re an unabashed and chatty museum-goer who likes to take pictures with your flash-on, you should definitely head to Please Touch the Art, Brooklyn Bridge Park’s very own interactive art show that features 18 sculptures specifically designed to encourage the curious among us to engage with all our senses.
5/17-6/17 Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO
OUTDOOR FEST 2015
Just because Brooklynites live in cramped apartments and take trains and busses doesn’t mean we don’t like kayaking and camping. Pretend you’re a park ranger from Montana (or whatever) at this year’s Outdoor Fest 2015, which will enable you to kayak, camp, go birding, do yoga and even run a 5k with other New Yorkers suffering from urban claustrophobia.
5/19-6/7 Various locations, outdoorfest.com
ELECTRO SOUL DANCE PARTY
If you ever have the sudden urge to bust a move, and if you feel the need to act on your funky impulses in an honest way, check out Celebrate Brooklyn’s Electro Soul Dance Party happening at Brooklyn Bridge Park this May.
5/21 Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO
GREEN-WOOD’S GRAND PROCESSION COMMEMORATING THE END OF THE CIVIL WAR
Green-Wood Cemetery, home to 5,000 slain Civil War veterans, will be transformed into a sprawling Civil War-era tribute this summer, the culmination of which will be a walk throughout the grounds lit by 5,000 glowing candles.
5/23-24 Green-Wood Cemetery, Greenwood Heights
DANCEAFRICA 2015 BAZAAR
There’s no better party in Brooklyn than DanceAf-rica. Now in its 38th year, this festival combines performance, film, art, and all sorts of other events for a unique, vibrant celebration of African culture. This year, there’s a focus on the African diaspora in Brazil, which promises attendees a lively display of music and dance.
5/23-5/25 For more info visit bam.org/danceafrica
BXC MUSIC FESTIVAL
This festival’s name sounds more like a BMX dirt-jump contest than an interactive film and music experience, but we assure you that only the latter takes place. The event, which has been held at Manhattan’s Santos Party House in the past, intends to bridge the gap between music and cinema by blending live performance with film projects. This year BXC is happening in Bushwick and we surely hope you can come watch and listen.
5/27 Lot 45 411 Troutman Street, Bushwick
EDIBLE BROOKLYN PRESENTS: BROOKLYN UNCORKED
Get ready to taste the first wines of the summer at Brooklyn Uncorked, which has gathered dozens of award-winning New York State wineries for a day of vino and delicious nibbles from celebrated restaurants in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
5/28 26 Bridge Street, DUMBO
BROOKLYN FILM FESTIVAL
Experience the power of independent filmmaking at the Brooklyn Film Festival, which receives submissions from acclaimed filmmakers from around the world. This year, directors Onur Tukel, Vinko Möderndorfer, Adepero Oduye, and more will be showcasing narrative features, shorts, documentaries, animations, and experimental films.
5/29, various venues brooklynfilmfestival.org
One of the best-attended film festivals in New York, Rooftop Films turns Brooklyn rooftops into outdoor movie theaters, screening shorts and features, plus live music. Highlights of this summer’s opening weekend are the New York premiere of much-anticipated short Kung Fury, at Sunset Park’s Industry City, and a screening of offbeat comedy 7 Chinese Brothers, starring Jason Schwartzman, at the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus.
5/29 & 5/30 for more info visit rooftopfilms.com
BATTLEFEST LEAGUE PRESENTS BATTLEFEST 32
One of the biggest underground dance leagues in America, BattleFest is the place for extreme street dancers from around the country (and Canada) to compete one-on-one with all they’ve got—the winner moves up in the bracket and the top dancer moves on to the playoffs. BattleFest 32 will feature battles between Premo vs Kellz, BooBoo vs Rose, Opt vs Krow fr Cali, and more.
5/31 1819 Utica Avenue, Flatlands
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN: CHAKA KHAN AT PROSPECT PARK BANDSHELL
The rump-shakin’ good times continue at Prospect Park this summer as Chaka Khan takes the stage for a free show this June. Come inhibition-free and ready to sweat it out to some soulful rhythms.
6/3 Prospect Park Bandshell, Park Slope
DARK WONDERLAND AT GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY
Who wouldn’t want to visit a cemetery at night? We don’t know! We actually find cemeteries peaceful and calming in a way that, for example, we don’t find the subway, where we spend much more of our time. Anyway. Green-Wood has partnered with MAPP, an international production house, to bring spectacular performance art to the cemetery this summer. Go check out an assortment of music, theatre, and poetry as part of this amazing collaboration.
6/4-6/26 Every Thurs, Fri, and Saturday throughout June Green-Wood Cemetery, Greenwood Heights
THE RED HOOK FEST
Celebrate the 22nd year of this fun fest full of live music, dance, and kayak rides in the waters off Red Hook. There’s also a community cook-out, a DJ-led dance party, and all sorts of other activities for everyone to enjoy.
6/4-6/6 For more info, visit dancetheatreetcetera.org/red-hook-fest
BAM R&B FESTIVAL
The Brooklyn Academy of Music has a two-decade long tradition of bringing pioneering soul, funk and R&B acts to downtown Brooklyn every summer right on the corner of Flatbush and Myrtle avenues, and this year will be no different. Past acts include legends like Toots and the Maytals and George Clinton, so we recommend checking out this free lunchtime event.
6/4-8/6 on Thursdays Metrotech Plaza, Downtown Brooklyn
THE 2015 GOVERNORS BALL MUSIC FESTIVAL
Not technically in Brooklyn, but still a good outdoor music-fest warm-up for our very own Northside Festival, Gov Ball 2015 features headliners Drake, The Black Keys, Deadmau5, Florence and the Machine, and Lana Del Rey. Plus, you can’t go wrong with food trucks and a slew of activities like Silent Disco, ping pong, photo booths, and lawn games.
6/5, Randall’s Island Park
BUSHWICK OPEN STUDIOS
BOS is your annual chance to peek inside 600 Brooklyn artists’ studios as they open to the public for free. It’s also one of Brooklyn’s best people-watching opportunities, as exhibitionist performance artists flood the streets.
6/5-7 For more info visit artsinbushwick.org
GO GREEN! GREENPOINT FESTIVAL
We’re all champions of the environmental movement here in Brooklyn, right? Right. So come on down and educate yourself on the importance of things ranging from composting to climate change at Greenpoint’s Go Green! festival. There’ll be live music, dance performances and vendors selling some of that coveted eco-friendly merchandise.
6/6 McCarren Park, Greenpoint
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN: ESPERANZA SPALDING
We love Spalding’s unique, compelling sound and can’t wait to soak it all in as we’re sitting outside with a bunch of friends, enjoying what has long been one of our favorite Brooklyn summer outdoor traditions—Prospect Park Bandshell concerts, thanks to Celebrate Brooklyn.
6/12 Prospect Park Bandshell, Park Slope
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CONCERT SERIES
Since 1983 the MLK Concert Series has featured music by celebrated stars across a variety of genres, including R&B, blues, gospel, Caribbean music. Past performers like Boyz II Men and Run-DMC have graced the stage, and this summer brings you acclaimed musicians like Stephanie Mills, Anthony Hamilton, Gyptian, and more.
7/21 Wingate Field, East Flatbush
This summer, Northside Festival brings 400 bands, 150 speakers and 50 films to venues throughout Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Highlights include Run the Jewels, Zola Jesus, Xiu Xiu, Blonde Redhead, Vince Staples, Heems, Against Me!, and more. (Full disclosure: Our parent company Northside Media Group puts on this festival.)
6/8-14 Various locations, visit northsidefestival.com for more info
RENEGADE CRAFT FAIR POP-UPS
Renegade Craft Fair Pop-Ups brings Brooklyn’s finest independent makers to Williamsburg’s East River State Park, where they hawk their handmade wares, from jewelry to bespoke clothing, natural beauty products, lighting and furniture, housewares, and affordable art. It’s set up alongside Smorgasburg for feasting after browsing.
6/6-27 on Saturdays East River State Park, Williamsburg
BROOKLYN PRIDE PARADE AND FESTIVAL
Brooklyn celebrates its LGBTQ community with this famed festival and parade that fills Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue with music, dancing, food, fabulous costumes, and rainbow flags.
6/13 5th Avenue, Park Slope
POP-UP DINNER BROOKLYN 2015
What requires you to wear all white and gather with thousands of strangers at a secret location in Prospect Park to drink wine, eat food, and revel in a glorious sunset? Why, the Pop-Dinner Brooklyn 2015 of course, which, if you register online in time, will have you dining refined-picnic style as you never have before!
6/13 secret location in Prospect Park
HOUSE OF VANS ALMOST SUMMER SERIES
The sprawling warehouse/indoor skate park/venue/wonderland is playing host to a mouthwatering lineup of different bands and acts this summer, so get massively pumped. Throw on your best waffle-gripped shoes and go see the Virginia-based rapper Pusha T spit some slick rhymes on the venue’s big-ass stage on June 13th. There’s also a not-so-secret but still totally secret surprise guest that night, so obviously (don’t) tell your friends!
6/13 House Of Vans 25 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
SHAKESPEARE AT SUNSET
Think of it as Shakespeare in a different park: Check out performances of the Bard’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and Measure for Measure this summer against the beautiful backdrop of the Brooklyn waterfront.
6/12-14 and 8/11-16 334 Furman Street, Brooklyn Heights
JAZZ AGE LAWN PARTY
Governors Island transforms into a Prohibition-era time-capsule every summer during the Jazz Age Lawn Party. Bring your pork-pie hat and make the trek out of the city so you can dance the Charleston, witness and or participate in pie eating contests and get your Gatsby on under the sun.
6/13 & 14 and 8/16 & 17 Governors Island
POUR THE CORE: A HARD CIDER FESTIVAL
Who says apples are just for the fall? Enjoy all things cider at this hard cider fest in Greenpoint, plus chow down on food from a well-curated selection of food trucks.
6/13 Brooklyn Expo Center 72 Noble Street, Greenpoint
RED HOOK JAZZ FESTIVAL
The all-volunteer Red Hook Jazz Festival will showcase the community’s commitment to this sometimes unfairly maligned musical genre through ten acts that will take the stage at the Urban Meadow Community Garden.
6/14 & 21 at the Urban Meadow Community Garden, Red Hook
THE METROPOLITAN OPERA SUMMER RECITAL SERIES
The Met’s summer concert series is the most affordable way to enjoy world-class performances from opera greats like soprano Janai Brugger and baritone Nathan Gunn. Feel free to leave your theater binoculars at home.
6/17, Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO
NY PHILHARMONIC CONCERTS IN THE PARKS: PROSPECT PARK
Easily one of the loveliest outdoor events of the year, pack a picnic and grab some friends and enjoy a leisurely night in the grass and under the stars while the music of Berlioz, Ravel, and Stravinsky dances along the summer air.
6/19 Prospect Park
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN: PARIS IS BURNING
Jennie Livingston’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary Paris is Burning paints a colorful portrait of Harlem’s drag balls in the 1980s. 24 years after its debut, it’s still a touchstone in the LGBTQ film scene and as relevant as ever to conversations on issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality.
6/26 Prospect Park Bandshell, Park Slope
NATHAN’S 2015 HOT DOG EATING CONTEST
A time-honored Coney Island tradition, Nathan’s hot dog eating contest promises competitive gluttony at its unkosher finest.
7/4 Nathan’s Famous, Coney Island
This summer kick-off tradition, started in 1983 and is named for Coney Island’s Mermaid Street, has grown into the nation’s largest art parade. The boardwalk gets overtaken by 1,500 merpeople dancing on floats. Neon wigs and glittery body paint go well with Nathan’s hot dogs.
6/20 Coney Island Boardwalk, Coney Island
MACY’S FOURTH OF JULY FIREWORKS
Watch bombs burst in air over the East River, set off from the Brooklyn Bridge and barges below. Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and river-adjacent rooftops have the best views in the city.
7/4 various good vantage points throughout Brooklyn
CONEY ISLAND FOURTH OF JULY FIREWORKS
Uh, you can also watch bombs burst over Coney Island. Who needs the East River anyway? Not us. Plus, Coney’s fireworks display leads to an atmosphere that is both more festive and less cramped than what you’ll find crowded along the Brooklyn Heights promenade.
7/4 Coney Island Boardwalk, Coney Island
CONEY ISLAND FLICKS ON THE BEACH
We know Coney Island is for riding roller coasters, eating Nathan’s Hot Dogs, and making seaside memories with your baes and besties, but why not chill out and catch a free film series while you’re at it? A humongous 40-foot screen will be showing all sorts of classic films on Monday nights all summer long.
7/7 and Monday nights thereafter West 10th St. Beach, Coney Island
Williamsburg’s McCarren Park turns into an outdoor movie theater every Wednesday (full disclosure: all thanks to our parent company Northside Media), with food vendors and live music. This summer, check out free screenings of six cult classics: Clueless, Wet Hot American Summer, Dirty Dancing, Dazed and Confused, and Jurassic Park (90s nostalgia is here to stay).
7/8-8/12 on Wednesdays McCarren Park, Williamsburg
BROOKLYN HIP-HOP FESTIVAL
The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is not just a hip-hop festival, but a fully immersive event that blends live-performance with panel discussions, exhibitions and a good ol’ fashioned block party. And what’s more, Common is headlining with Mobb Deep this year, so make sure to mark this one your calendar.
7/8-11 50 Kent Avenue, Williamsburg
SYFY MOVIES WITH A VIEW
Have you ever watched Sharknado 2 or Dr. Strangelove with nearly 7,000 other aspiring sci-fi geeks against a backdrop of setting sun and towering skyscrapers? We thought not. Make it down to Brooklyn Bridge park this summer to check out the park’s Syfy Movies With a View series, which will happen without fail every Thursday at 6pm.
7/9-8/27 on Thursdays Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO
FRENCH CULTURE: FILMS ON THE GREEN
Since we’re not all living in our very own Brooklyn version of Amelie, we have the distinct pleasure of living out our wildest Francophile dreams when the Films on the Green Festival shows classic French films La Dérive and La Collectionneuse at Transmitter Park this July.
7/24 & 31, Transmitter Park, Greenpoint
NYC POETRY FESTIVAL
Head out to Governors Island as 250 different poets from across the five boroughs meet up to mingle, share ideas, and read their work.
7/25-26 Governor’s Island
PROSPECT PARK FOOD TRUCK RALLY
On a few warm nights this summer, a convergence of food trucks will pull up and deliver a plethora of tasty options right on Grand Army Plaza. Come hungry and with cash. Leave stuffed, content, and maybe broke.
6/7 & 6/28, 7/12 & 19; 8/2 & 16 Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Heights
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN: WILLIE NELSON
What better way to end the Celebrate Brooklyn season than with Willie Nelson? We don’t know! And we don’t think you do either. That’s why you should definitely head out to sit on the grass (we said nothing about smoking any! we’re too dignified for those jokes) and listen to Willie, who will be joined by the Old Crow Medicine Band for this benefit concert.
8/12 Prospect Park Bandshell, Park Slope
HINDU LAMP CEREMONY
Brooklyn-based dancer Aeilushi Mistry is ready to bring peace and harmony to Brooklyn’s shoreline as she performs the traditional Hindu Aarti Lamp Ceremony in the park. You can participate by painting areca palm leaf boats that will be lit by candles and set afloat in the East River.
8/1, Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO
BROOKLYN BEER & WINE FESTIVAL
The third annual Beer & Wine Fest promises to be the booziest weekend of the summer, featuring 50 craft beers and artisanal wines, as well as local food vendors, home-brewing demonstrations, and live bands in a Motown music celebration. Last year’s fest brought in 1400 beer and wine snobs, so expect drunken crowds.
8/14–8/15, 1368 Fulton Street, Bed-Stuy
BRIGHTON BEACH JUBILEE FESTIVAL
Brighton Beach is alive with the sound of music that celebrates diversity as nearly 125,000 people descend on its streets for the annual Brighton Beach Jubilee Festival.
8/30 for info visit brightonbeach.com/jubileefestival
WEST-INDIAN AMERICAN DAY CARNIVAL
The streets of Crown Heights are transformed into a raucous celebration of Caribbean culture each Labor Day, when the food, dance, music and art of the West Indies reign supreme along Eastern Parkway. There will be jerk chicken and vibrant dress and thumping drums all over town. Prepare to dance.
9/7 Eastern Parkway, Crown Height
FIRST SATURDAYS AT THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM
Ok, these happen all year, but there’s more of an outdoor (re: fun) focus in the summer. SO head on over and catch free art and entertainment at the Brooklyn Museum on the first Saturday of every month, plus food and drink at the Michelin-starred Saul restaurant or Counter café. This summer, check out New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, Brooklyn queercore band Aye Nako, West Indian Brooklyn-raised rapper Junglepussy, and more.
First Saturday of every month Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Heights
There’s nothing like flying a kite high in a crystal clear blue sky, and that’s just what you’ll get to do at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Kite Festival late this summer. Bring your own kite or purchase one at the festival if you haven’t flown one since the third grade.
9/13 Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO