Summer in NYC: Music Festivals
Endless Summer Vibes
Forget whatever idea of a great summer you’ve had before. New York City is synonymous with endless entertainment from May to September, when the city’s bursting at the seams with options: concerts, food fairs, and outdoor activities. What better way to spend it than to combine all in one? Here are a few of our favorite music festivals and events.
Doing It Big
Large scale music festivals have a big place in NYC. You can count on these to cover the big ticket portion of your summer.
A local favorite is Governor’s Ball in June, where the best rock and electronic bands, DJs, and Pitchfork readers gather en masse. This year’s headliners include: Chance The Rapper, Warpaint, Lorde, Flume, Beach House, and more. Last year’s festival included rained out crowd bliss which turned into a major dance party. Keep an eye on your weather app and prepare for an awesome experience.
PANORAMA, is the new festival in town, brought to you by the Goldenvoice folks who throw Coachella. They kicked off their first year in July 2016 with a bang: Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem, and Arcade Fire took top bills while Alabama Shakes, Sia, The National, and a slew of amazing (including local) talent wove a beautifully musical weekend. Our favorites included The Black Madonna, Tensnake, Kaytranada, Justin Strauss, Holy Ghost! and DJ Harvey.
This year, they’re taking over Randall’s Island again from July 28-30th and bring you one of the best lineups we’ll see: Frank Ocean, Solange, Tame Impala, Alt-J, Nine Inch Nails, and A Tribe Called Quest will be headlining. The weekend also includes performances by Justice, DJ Shadow, Spoon, Tyler The Creator, and DJ sets by Mister Saturday Night, Tim Sweeney, Honey Dijon, DJ Heather, and more.
Last but not least, during early September, Electric Zoo is the EDM-festival–and your opportunity to bid summer adieu. This year will bring DJ Snake, Above & Beyond, Deadmau5 & Eric Prydz, Claptone, legend Danny Tenaglia, Henrik Schwarz and more to Randall’s Island. Do not miss.
Concerts & Parties
Summerstage at Central Park offers a more laid back option at Central Park, where shows are distributed throughout the summer as opposed to crammed in a weekend. The 2017 schedule already includes Regina Spektor, PJ Harvey, and Elvis Costello & The Imposters. Be sure to check the schedule for smaller shows as there is a solid daily music itinerary, ranging from jazz to hip hop, rock to electronic, or Latin grooves to soul.
A fairly new music and innovation event (founded in ‘09) that takes place in the trendy Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick hoods. We’re excited to see it grow in size and depth as this year’s festival, from June 7-11th, will bring music from Kamasi Washington, Miguel, Dirty Projectors; and talks from staff at the NYTimes, Vice HBO, Vox, SNL, and more.
Check their site for details on how to get access.
Lastly, Warm Up at MoMA PS1, is probably where all those good looking people you saw on Tinder are hanging out without you. This Long Island City program introduces audiences to the best local and international DJ’s through experimental music, sound, and dance. Every year a visual artist takes over the courtyard for a large-scale installation that will last throughout the season. Don’t sleep on advance tickets. Events last from May through September.
Where to Stay
Now that we’ve covered the entertainment part, we thought we’d also suggest a couple of places where to stay while in town. Because finding the right hotel can make or break your trip.
One of our all time favorite spots, The Standard High Line shines in its support for local and internationally renowned artists and musicians. You can find the best names in House and Disco spinning at their famous Top of The Standard clubs. On the roof lies Le Bain– a disco, bar, plunge pool and crêperie. Shout out to this stunning spot and its super friendly staff (hard to come by these days). Our only advice: make sure you’re on the list so that you’re all set to get in.
Staying at the Wythe Hotel means you’ll most likely run into some of the acts that you’ll be watching on stage at these festivals. Within the hotel, make sure to dine at Reynard–a restaurant by the Marlow & Sons group that’s heralded as one of Brooklyn’s finest. Staying at the Wythe also means that you’ll be within walking distance of most after-party locations…and it doesn’t get much better than that.
The 1 Hotel is our pick for best lodging that won’t break the bank. It’s close to many NYC sights (if you’re looking to get your tourism on), and the beautiful, rustic, vine-covered structure is a sight for sore eyes. These festivals aren’t easy to get to, since most require a ferry ride, so staying in the city is certainly a convenient way to get around. The hotel feels young and fresh, and is amazingly comfortable. It also gets a huge plus for being eco-friendly.
The Ace Hotel is where we’d stay if we wanted to fly under the radar. Unlike a lot of the newer hotels, the Ace isn’t flashy or trying too hard. They’re perfectly content doing things their way, and are quite good at it. In addition to their award-winning dining, the Ace features creative programs like Artists in Residence, weekly DJs in the lobby (also a great place to work), and galleries to peruse and shop.
Located between Soho, the East Village, and the Lower East Side, the Bowery is one of NYC’s iconic downtown hotels. Everyone from Chloe Sevigny to Zayn Malik, and a whole lot of normal folks, choose to call home this place home for its location and beauty. The history of the hotel runs deep through the city’s musical roots, and is just a short cab ride away from the ferry to most festival grounds.