Sunday, June 21st, the official first day of summer, marks the third annual Make Music New York spectacular — literally almost a thousand free concerts in public spaces throughout the five boroughs of New York City…and not just the five boroughs. Governors Island becomes Punk Island with over 70 punk acts for free — from A (Alley Rats) to Z (Zero Content) and including Reagan Youth, Blank 77, Electric Frankenstein on 12 stages, all just a free ferry ride away.
The Jazzmobile sponsors a day-long block party on Dominick Street in Soho, there will be indie rock at Orchard Beach, opera at Fort Greene Park, 80 trombones at the Guggenheim Museum for the debut of “Orbits” by composer Henry Brant, and on and on.
Even the organization Make Music New York seems overwhelmed by the choices. Its Web site refers visitors to a schedule at TimeOut New York, which actually has a whole slew of different schedules, including one for each neighborhood.
The one for Greenwich Village, to give an example, includes 19 different venues:
1. DubSpot (normally a school for DJs) has eight different acts, from BomberGirl & the Mechanic’s ambient electronica to ATOM’s minimal house funk.
2. Due Amici has Zeth’s samba and bossa nova.
3. Jackson Square (that’s at Eighth Avenue and Horatio Street) has three acts, including the disco-electro of JC Cassie.
4. Bleecker Playground (at West 11th Street) has three acts including Antoine Poncelet’s dark wave folk rock.
5. Christopher and Bleecker features the Renaissance Street Singers’ polyphonic a cappella
6. Sheridan Square Garden has three acts including the Vinson Valega Trio’s funky jazz.
7. Joe: The Art of Coffee features acoustic guitar sets at all five Joe coffee shops in Manhattan.
11. Mr. Dennehy’s, the restaurant on Carmine Street, is presenting four acts, including C&A’s blues and country.
12. Greenwich Village Bistro on Carmine Street, offers eight different acts during the evening, including Preachermann’s sulty ne-soul, Blue Lady’s world-influenced music and (aka) VOCE, “a one-woman choir.”
13. Father Demo Square features Show Stoppers at 2 p.m., seniors singing pop standards from 1920 to 1970. (!)
16. Cornelia Street at 3 p.m. will feature the U.S. premiere of “Canto Ostinato” by Dutch minimalist composer Simeon ten Holt, “performed on four grand pianos in the middle of the street.”
19. Washington Square Park has a full afternoon of concerts, from Brit Pop to funk to soul to indie folk.
Remember, this is all for free.
Happen to be out of town on Sunday? Don’t worry, there are free summer concerts in New York City all summer long in 2009, though will all of the free concerts during the rest of the summer of 2009 add up to the number of free concerts on the first day of summer? Yeah, probably.