This Citywide Festival Is Bringing 1,000 Free Music Events to NYC in June

Make Music New York will celebrate music-making on June 21.

Editor's Note: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to fluctuate rapidly and NYC currently is experiencing a rise in infection rates due to Omicron variants. If you’re venturing out, triple-check safety protocols and be safe out there.

This June, New Yorkers will be able to celebrate two things at once—summer and music.

On June 21, the first day of summer, Make Music New York will be back to the city with over 1,000 free outdoor music-making events in honor of Make Music Day.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Make Music Day, the world's largest annual music festival, and New York City is welcoming celebrations with open arms. Throughout the day, New Yorkers of any age, backgrounds, and skill level will bring out their musical side across the city, from parks and plazas to rooftops, streets, and even sidewalks.

Among a slew of other events, from 10 am to 8 pm, a special concert series, dubbed Faire la Fête, will take place in seven outdoor locations in Battery Park and surrounding areas. French composers and musician will alternate performances to celebrate music and to pay homage to Make Music Day's French roots.

"We are thrilled to present a dynamic day of culturally diverse music performances citywide as our eponymous festival returns for its 16th annual season on the summer solstice," James Burke, Make Music New York Executive Director, said in an official statement. "Our unique mission of showcasing the amazing talents of NYC musicians and in activating our treasured outdoor public spaces is more important than ever as the city continues to rebound from the pandemic. We are especially excited to mark the 40th anniversary of Fête de la Musique, the French music celebration that helped to inspire our founding."

While the official calendar featuring all dates, locations, and participating artists will be released in the near future, some event announcements worthy of note are already available to the public. New Yorkers can expect to catch Pueblo Harlem—the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance's (ALJA) annual celebration of Hispanic heritage and culture—at the General Grant National Memorial in Morningside Heights from 4–8 pm, where salsa dance lessons and performances by the Grammy Award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra will be held, among others. In East Harlem, percussionist Andre E. Small of Afrikumba Utibé Drummers will bring numerous drummers to the streets, and they will perform to promote peace and to end violence in an event dubbed 1,000 Drums Crying for Peace.

Queens residents will get their share of musical events as well in Jackson Height's Travers Park. From 4–8 pm, in a partnership with Make Music New York, Queens Public Library will showcase Queens Memory Live, where musicians, storytellers, and poets living in Queens will take the celebratory reins.

Brooklyn will dance to the sound of rock music. At the Old Stone House located in Park Slope, the Kids Rock for Kids event will empower emerging teen and tween rock bands, who will perform to raise money for kids in need.

New Yorkers who wish to participate, perform, or host events on Make Music New York day can visit the Make Music New York registration link. An updated schedule of events will be available in early June on the Make Music New York website.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.