It’s music festival season! Summer concerts in New York cover every genre of music you'll want to jam out to, from jazz to country to pop to folk. This summer will be especially festive, with the 50th anniversary of Woodstock (a Woodstock 50 concert is reportedly in the works for Watkins Glen August 16–18), a revamped Central Park SummerStage experience in New York City, and much more. Read on to find the types of music and the artists you love who’ll be performing all around the state and have an unforgettable summer experience.

SummerStage (New York City)

Summer Stage- City Parks FoundationPhoto Credit: Michael Seto

If a SummerStage show is not on your NYC summer bucket list—fix that. In its 34th year running, the festival unveils an expanded, upgraded venue at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park (some events take place at other locations around the city), and spans four months of performances of all types of music, plus dance, theater, and more. Best of all, most of the shows are free, while many of the paid events, featuring headliners such as the B-52s and Tycho, are benefit concerts that help SummerStage continue its ambitious programming. Through September 26; New York; Prices vary

Jam at the Ridge (Greater Niagara)

The Ridge in Le Roy basically turns the entire summer into one long music festival, by holding different themed Jam Weekends throughout the season. May 31June 1 is Southern Rock Weekend, with headliners .38 Special and Preacher Stone. The Ridge switches over to Modern Country Weekend for June 1415, featuring Eli Young and Love & Theft. Next up, listen to classic rock from July 2627 with Three Dog Night and Taylor Dayne. Catch Bishop Gunn and Black Stone Cherry performing at Rockin’ Blues BBQ Weekend from August 910. The series ends with the August 2324 Classic Country Weekend with headliners Thompson Square and Sara Evans. The Ridge itself is not only a concert venue but also a campground, so pick your weekend and bring your tent for this perfect combo of music and the outdoors. Don’t forget to bring your own chair if you buy a lawn ticket, and that a VIP or VIP-X ticket guarantees a seat in the VIP section. May 31–August 24; Le Roy; Prices vary by artist

Clearwater Festival (Hudson Valley)

The Clearwater Festival, aka the Great Hudson River Revival, hosts performances on seven bio-diesel-powered stages (featuring performers Ani DiFranco, Tom Chapin, Rebel Diaz, and more). All proceeds benefit Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, an organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the Hudson River. You’ll also find a juried artisan Handcrafters’ Village, the Artisanal Food & Farm Market, the Green Living Expo, and educational exhibits on conservationism. Stop by the Family Stage for kid-centric shows, as well as the Children’s Area for face-painting, mask making, and bubbles. June 15–16; Croton-on-Hudson; Ticket prices vary

Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival (Capital-Saratoga)

Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Here’s something that will definitely jazz up your summer plans. Every year on the last weekend of June, jazz lovers flock to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Spa State Park. Performances take place over two stages. One is the amphitheater, where you can see headliners such as the Django Festival All-Stars, Joey DeFrancesco Trio, and the Joshua Redman Quartet. Meanwhile the Charles R. Wood “Jazz Discovery” Stage hosts up-and-coming artists you’ll want to see before they blow up. This year, all the jazz discovery stage performers are making their festival debuts, including Ruthie Foster, Allison Miller Boom Tic Boom, Cha Wa, Youn Sun Nah, Joel Harrison’s Angel Band, and Kansas Smitty’s House Band. On top of that, the festival will kick off once again with Freihofer’s Jazz Fest Friday, a day of live jazz music, dining, and dances at restaurants, bars, and other locations all around the city. June 29–30; Saratoga Springs; Single day lawn tickets start at $68, 2-Day passes start at $116

American Roots Festival (Hudson Valley)

American Roots Music Festival

Listen to folk, country, bluegrass, gospel, blues, and more at the elegant Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts’ annual American Roots Festival. Major performers include the folk duo the Milk Carton Kids and instrumentalist Amythyst Kiah who plays African-American roots music. Daytime artist performances begin at noon, while evening performers go on at 7:30 pm. Other performers include Oliver the Crow, Rainbow Girls, and Deva Mahal. June 22; Katonah; Day-only adult tickets are $30, full festival tickets range from $4092

CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival (Finger Lakes)

Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival
Photo Credit: Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival

The Rochester International Jazz Festival is one of the world’s most recognizable jazz festivals, and the festivities return this year again during the month of June. The performances are held in 20 different locations in downtown Rochester, but each is walking distance from the next so you can explore on foot. The 2019 festival features a whopping 183 musicians, guaranteeing a good time. Rochester’s Gibbs Street and part of Main Street are closed off from traffic and transformed into “Jazz Street,” with family-friendly free outdoor concerts, merchandise, food, beverages, and a two-story vending tent. June 21–29; Rochester; Ticket prices vary by artist and location, 3- and 9-day passes available

Ellicottville's Summer Music Festival (Chautauqua-Allegheny)

Ellicottville Summer Music Festival
Photo Credit: Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce 

Head to Ellicottville where the Holiday Valley resort turns one of its fairways into an enormous outdoor concert venue. This year, you can see Don Felder, former lead guitarist of the Eagles, perform after Caitlin Koch opens. Shop from 50 artisan craft vendors and watch the cuteness of the annual pet parade. Later in the weekend, watch the Buffalo Philharmonic perform and end your Sunday with the stunning fireworks display. July 57; Ellicottville; Ticket prices vary by day, children 12 and under free

July Fest / Music & Jazz Festival (Central NY)

July Fest and Binghamton Jazz Festival

You know what they say, two festivals are better than one! For the ninth year, Binghamton’s Music & Jazz Festival and July Fest Binghamton join to form one super summer event for the whole family. For three days, jazz and blues bands take to the stage, providing the soundtrack to July Fest goings-on, such as the Parlor City 5K run, a showing of gorgeous vintage cars, and a craft fair. At the Kidz Art Zone, kiddos can paint, craft, and have their faces painted. July 5–7; Binghamton; Free

Great Blue Heron Festival (Chautauqua-Allegheny)

Great Blue Heron FestivalPhoto Credit: Great Blue Heron Festival

What’s wild about the Great Blue Heron Festival is the range of genres represented, including bluegrass, Cajun, zydeco, African, reggae, Americana, old-time music, Irish music, and folk. Wander around from the main stage to the smaller Tiger Maple Stage, and then to the “Dance Tent” before crashing in your tent at night beneath the stars. The festival has its own eatery, the Heron’s Cafe in the Woods, where you can refuel after dancing your heart out with coffee, pizza, baked goods, and more. Dance even more at the Drum and Fire Circle or take a dip in the beach to cool off after the fun summer day. Kiddos can make crafts at the Kids’ Tent or play games at the Teen Tent. Bonus: every camping area is allowed its own personal campfire. If hot, gooey s’mores aren’t the perfect ending to a full day of live music, we don’t know what is. July 5–7; Sherman; Weekend passes $100, children under 12 free (not including camping fees)

Great South Bay Music Festival (Long Island)

Great South Bay Music Festival

The Great South Bay Music Festival is one of Long Island’s longest-running music, art, and cultural events. 60 big-name, up-and-coming, and local artists perform the gamut of American music, from classic rock to jazz to folk. This year, see performers like Taking Back Sunday, Sublime, and America play on four stages at Shorefront Park. Combine that with the Great South Bay Artisan Market and KIDZONE, with all-day children’s entertainment and you’ll see why large groups and families love to attend year after year. To top it all off, there’s a rich food court with gourmet and international options and multiple beer and wine gardens. July 18–21; Patchogue; Ticket prices vary

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival (Catskills)

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival

The Grey Fox brings more than 40 artists to perform across six stages, making it one of the biggest bluegrass festivals in the country. Come for lively, twangy music, the festive atmosphere, and morning yoga and meditation congregations. You can even see a bluegrass film or perform at the Annual Open Mic Night. On the Family Stage, you’ll find tie-dying, instrument-making, and nature crafts for kids. At the BGA Tent, your little prodigy can attend bluegrass classes for the entire four days with preregistration. July 18–21; Oak Hill; Single-day passes $75, full fest with camping $225, kids 12 and under free with a ticketed adult

Oswego Harborfest (Thousand Islands-Seaway)

Fort Ontario during Harborfest in Oswego

The annual Oswego Harborfest is mainly a music festival, with more than 50 music artists performing in Breitbeck Park and East Park/Washington Square. We say “mainly” because this completely free four-day event also includes a children’s parade and musical, magic shows, make-your-own t-shirt and puppet stands, and numerous craft and food vendors. That’s not to mention the Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, and, on Saturday evening, a spectacular fireworks show over the harbor. One day is definitely not enough to see, do, and eat everything this festival has to offer. July 25–28; Oswego; Free

Harlem Week (New York City)

Apollo Theater

NYC’s Harlem Week is actually, thankfully, not just a week long. Now in its 44th year, it’s a series of more than 100 cultural events celebrating Harlem’s African, African-American, Caribbean, Hispanic, and European history that take place from the end of July through August. Think film festivals, fashion shows, auto shows, a 5K run, career fairs, street fairs, and so. much. delicious. food. And of course, great music. Join more than two million other visitors to hear some of the country’s best gospel choirs, R&B artists, world music groups, and more. July 28–August 24; New York; Free

Lake George Music Festival (Adirondacks)

Lake George Music Festival
Photo Credit: David Warner

The stunning Lake George serves as picturesque backdrop for this 12-day festival of orchestral and chamber music. Professionals and current students from world-class philharmonic orchestras such as the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra perform in various locations, including an amphitheater, a historic church, and even aboard the famous Minne-Ha-Ha boat! Attend the open rehearsals, public receptions, and informational talks. For a unique twist, take in the “Sounds of Our Time” event where the festival’s symphony orchestra gets paired with an indie rock or EDM musician. Instill an appreciation for classical music in your little ones by bringing them to the special children’s concert. The show weaves in a story about a conductor finding a magic spell book that controls the orchestra, explaining the role of each instrument. August 11–23; Lake George; Ticket prices vary

Bethel Woods Anniversary Week (Catskills)

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel - Photo by NYS ESD

Visit the site of the original Woodstock music festival during its 50th anniversary week this August. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts will feature major headliners in its picturesque outdoor pavilion in mid-August, including Ringo Starr and His All-Star Band, Santana with the Doobie Brothers, and John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival fame. Ticket holders for these individual concerts will also have access to daytime events beginning at 3 pm each day with live music, food trucks, craft vendors, and more. August 15–18; Bethel; Prices vary.

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