Thursday is the longest day of the year—the summer solstice. For the past five years New York has celebrated the occasion with Make Music NY (MMNY), which Metro NY calls “the largest music event ever to grace Gotham.” You may not pay much attention to the setting sun, or to people playing music on the sidewalk–a somewhat regular occurrence in New York City. But it might be hard to miss 5,000 musicians playing in over 1,000 free outdoor concerts–that’s the number of participants MMNY had last year.
MMNY, the free concerts in public spaces festival, is based on France’s Fête de la Musique, a national musical holiday inaugurated in 1982. Ever since, the festival has become an international phenomenon, celebrated on the same day in more than 460 cities in 110 countries.
From 10 in the morning to 10 at night, public spaces throughout all five boroughs— sidewalks, parks, community gardens, and more —become impromptu musical stages, dance floors, and social meeting points. Anyone and everyone, from amateur musicians to established artists, are welcome to participate. Most musicians perform on New York’s 12,000 miles of sidewalks, and the LES has plenty of those.
A number of free concerts will be taking place around the ‘hood including: the Afro-Asian, Inc. Block Party at the intersection of Suffolk and Rivington streets; the Mic-Club at Lucky Jacks on Orchard; on the stoop at CultureFix on Clinton Street; and in Sara Roosevelt Park, to name a few. I can’t think of a better way to usher in first day of summer than to be outside on the streets with my fellow LESers, enjoying the warm evening light and the cool sounds of free live music!
For a detailed list if times, places, concerts and performers, visit www.makemusicny.com. All events are Free.