It’s All Free

Live out the rest of summer with en plein air entertainment.



Dana Fuchs performs for free at Ballard Park in Ridgefield, CT, on August 30.

The dog days don’t scare you. You don’t want to be stuck indoors during the last days of summer. You want to be out and active—and you don’t want to have to pay for the privilege, either. You can deny the oncoming back-to-school season and ignore the shortening days by taking advantage of the free outdoor entertainment offered around the county. And, since you don’t do anything halfway, you can go every night of the week.

Mondays

The Town of Pelham Summer Concert Series
7:30 pm August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Town House Park, Pelham
(914) 738-0153; pelhamrecreation.com

Bring your dancing shoes to Pelham’s Town House Park gazebo—you’ll need them. The Town of Pelham Summer Concert Series hosts bands designed to get you up and moving. Think large, multi-piece outfits playing Motown, funk, R&B, rock, pop, and standards such as the FDR Drive Band (a 10-piece band playing August 1), The Bookends Band (a seven-piece combo appearing August 8), or the Westchester Swing Band, which weighs in with a whopping 18 musicians (August 15).

Tuesdays

C.H.I.R.P. 2011
7 pm August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Ballard Park, Ridgefield, CT
(203) 431-6501; chirpct.org

The C.H.I.R.P. (Concert Happenings in Ridgefield’s Parks) concerts are presented by an organization that puts together acoustic folk concerts in the fall, but its summer series has a much broader focus. One week you can hear 3 Penny Acre (August 9), an Arkansas trio with an Ozark-inspired sound, and the next you’ll find the Dana Fuchs Band (August 30), fronted by the blues and soul singer made famous by her role in the Beatles tribute movie Across the Universe.

Wednesdays

Summer Sounds Concert Series
7:30 pm August 3, 10, 17, 24
Hudson Park, New Rochelle
newrochellearts.org

Big-band, bluegrass, rhythm and blues, and even gospel music find their way to the bandshell in the grassy Hudson Park. After all, there’s no other place in the county where you can groove to a band with a name as funky as the Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra (August 24). Note: the concerts are free, but you may have to pay for parking.

Thursdays

The Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts 2011 Summer Festival
8 pm August 4, 11, 18, 25
The Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, Westport, CT
(203) 226-7600; levittpavilion.com

There are free performances almost every summer night at the Levitt Pavilion—57 free events in all—and they range from outdoor movie screenings to comedians to children’s entertainers. But theatergoers should know that Thursday is the “Classical, Cabaret, Broadway and Beyond” night, featuring performers such as soprano Jodi Keogan (August 11) and flutist Jamie Baum (August 18). Look out for the special event on August 4, where RiverSwing Series offers a free dance lesson before a show with Héctor Del Curto Eternal Tango Quartet.

Fridays

Jazz at Patriots Park
6:30 pm August 5, 12, 19, 26
Patriots Park, Tarrytown
(914) 631-1000; jazzforumarts.org

No one is better connected to the jazz community than Jazz Forum Arts’s Mark Morganelli, the curator of this weekly series. Featured artists include Gerry Malkin Quartet featuring George Colligan (August 5) and Laura Dreyer (Aug 19). Jazz die-hards should know that Jazz Forum Arts also hosts free concerts all over the county and calendar, with performances at the Beczak Environmental Education Center in Yonkers on Tuesdays, the Dobbs Ferry Waterfront Park on Wednesdays, and Lyndhurst in Tarrytown and the Pickwick Plaza in Greenwich, Connecticut, on Thursdays.

Saturdays

Worldfest
7:30 August 6, 13, 20, 27
Untermyer Park, Yonkers
(914) 375-3435; untermyer.com

The Untermyer Performing Arts Council’s “Worldfest” series offers music and dance with a global focus. Though most of the performers hadn’t been announced as of press time, August kicks off with the Connecticut Ballet.

Sundays

The Small Town Theatre Company’s Outdoor Summer Programs
Start times vary, August 7, 14, 28
Wampus Pond, Armonk
(914) 273-0300; smalltowntheatre.com

There’s no rule that says that outdoor entertainment has to take the form of a musical concert. On August 7, the Company will do Shakespeare in the Park with a performance of As You Like It. Theater buffs will also enjoy the August 28 Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein, with special guest Oscar Hammerstein III (the grandson).

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