Summer’s almost here, and with the arrival of longer days come opportunities to enjoy grooving to tunes under the sun and stars. The window isn’t open for long, so to make the most of your chances, here’s a partial guide to outdoor shows, some of them free, happening around the Greater Boston area this summer.
ELAINE AND JEROME ROSENFELD CONCERTS IN THE COURTYARD
July 11-Aug. 29, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $30, $24 for students, seniors, and members. (Animal Hospital Ensemble tickets are $16-$20.) Museum of Fine Arts. 800-440-6975, www.mfa.org/programs/music
On a perfect night, under clear skies dotted with stars and with a cool breeze whipping through the Calderwood Courtyard, it’s hard to think of a better place to hear music al fresco. This popular outdoor series runs the gamut of genres, ranging from steel-guitar-driven gospel (The Campbell Brothers, July 11) and experimental local indie rock (Animal Hospital Ensemble, Aug. 1) to prewar folk and blues (Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three, Aug. 22) and Indian bhangra funk (Red Baraat, Aug. 29).
July 12-Aug. 30, Thursdays, 6-8:30 p.m. Free. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org
Drawing on Berklee College of Music’s well of gifted musicians, this annual series on the waterfront is a good excuse to hear up-and-coming talent in a picturesque setting. On Aug. 16, be sure to catch Holiday Mountain, whose off-kilter songs mash up psychedelic rock, reggae, and whatever else frontwoman Laura Patiño thinks of. (Stay tuned to the ICA’s website for the lineup announcement for the DJs on the Harbor series, which takes over Friday nights Aug. 10-31.)
BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY’S CONCERTS IN THE COURTYARD
June 1-Aug. 31, Fridays, 12:30 p.m. Free. Central Library in Copley Square. 617-536-5400, www.bpl.org/concerts
There’s no shortage of diversity in this year’s lineup. The free series kicks off on June 1 with the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, a local outfit with a potent take on New Orleans second-line brass band music. The Greater Boston Asian American Youth Symphony will fill the courtyard on June 22, followed a week later by contemporary harpist Lucia Stavros. Local world-music group Atlas Soul performs Aug. 10. Or perhaps you want modern Arabic compositions? Check out Ali Amr on Aug. 17.
REGATTABAR COURTYARD SERIES
July 9-Aug. 27, Mondays, 6 p.m. Free. Regattabar, Cambridge. 617-395-7757, www.berklee.edu/events/
Berklee’s jazz players take center stage at Regattabar’s informal courtyard series. They’re across the board and map in terms of styles and nationality, from Spanish flamenco pianist Ariadna Castellanos Rivas (July 9) to Israeli-born saxophonist Lihi Haruvi (Aug. 13).
CLUB PASSIM/BERKLEE SUMMER CONCERT SERIES
June 21-Sept. 6, Thursdays, 1-2 p.m. Free. Palmer Street near Club Passim, Cambridge. 617-492-7679, www.club
In partnership with the Cambridge Arts Council, Club Passim and Berklee College of Music present a lunchtime concert series that showcases a variety of musicians from Boston and beyond. It’s the kind of programming you’d expect to see at Passim, which is to say an eclectic mix of everything from acoustic soul (Nick Hakim, June 28) to jazz fusion (Lee Dynes, Aug. 2) and foot-stomping Americana (The Dwells, Aug. 30).
ELMA LEWIS PLAYHOUSE IN THE PARK
July 10-July 31, Tuesdays, 6 p.m. Free. Franklin Park. 617-442-4141, www.franklinparkcoalition.org
Liven up your Tuesday evenings in July with the funky E-Water Band (July 10), the smooth sounds of jazz saxophonist Elan Trotman (July 17), and soulful vocalists Athene Wilson (July 24) and Ray Greene (July 31.)
WODS FREE SUMMER CONCERT
LANDMARKS FESTIVAL AT THE SHELL 2012
WODS series: June 16-Aug. 4, select Saturdays, 7 p.m. Free. DCR Hatch Shell. www.wods.com. Landmarks festival: July 11-Aug. 29, Wednesdays,
7 p.m. Free. DCR Hatch Shell. www.landmarksorchestra.com, www.mass.gov/dcr
From classic rock to classical, the Esplanade will be bathed in music this summer. Oldies signal WODS returns with its annual concert series, which includes performances from the latest iteration of Starship featuring Mickey Thomas (June 16), no doubt belting out “We Built This City,” Burton Cummings, formerly of the Guess Who, and Mark Farner, formerly of Grand Funk Railroad, coming to your town to help you party down on July 21, and Rick Springfield continuing to covet “Jessie’s Girl” on Aug. 4. On Wednesdays, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra will offer varied programming including Aaron Copland works for “Boston Sings” (July 11), Smetana, Strauss II, Schumann, and Ellington for “At the River” (July 25), and Mendelssohn and more for “Boston Loves Shakespeare” in association with the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (Aug. 29.)
ROCK AND BLUES CONCERT CRUISES
June 2-Aug. 26, Various days, times, and prices. World Trade Center Pier, 200 Seaport Boulevard. 617-431-1175, www.rockandbluescruise.com
Hit the open water and enjoy a mix of local, national, and international acts including rockers Carbon Leaf (June 22), dance band extraordinaire Booty Vortex (July 6), two tone ska-pop pioneers The English Beat (July 15), mighty reggae band John Brown’s Body (Aug. 12), and beloved Stoughton-spawned singer-songwriter Lori McKenna (Aug. 26).
ROCK ON! CONCERT CRUISES
June 7-Aug. 31, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, 7:15 p.m. Varying prices. 60 Rowes Wharf. www.rockonconcerts
Casting off from Rowes Wharf, the Rock On! cruises also offer an eclectic mix of hits on the harbor, including one-man-band Zach Deputy (June 22), dance party band the Van Burens (June 23), U2 tribute act the Joshua Tree (July 6), Boston modern-rock favorites Dear Leader (July 13), and punk rockers the Ducky Boys (Aug. 25).