These Are the 21 Outdoor Concerts You Can’t Miss This Summer

Get that picnic blanket ready

May 12, 2017 9:00 am

There’s no time like summertime for an outdoor concert — whether it’s a mega-name (see: Muse or Metallica) at a ballpark or the pride of West Africa at Stern Grove. Below, our 21 picks for the season’s best shows, from Brazilian Girls (no Brazilians, one girl) to Ryan Adams (personally, we’re hoping for strong representation of the Taylor Swift years). 

BottleRock, May 26 – 28 
The big Napa festival is already sold out, though tickets are available if you don’t mind being extorted by the secondary market. A huge bill — with headliners Foo Fighters, Tom Petty and Maroon 5 — but our heart belongs to Modest Mouse. 

John Legend, May 27 
If only he’d actually sung all of Ryan Gosling’s parts in La La Land. 

Ryan Adams, June 2 
Controversial position: Of all his songs, this Taylor Swift cover is our favorite. 

Aireene & The Itch, June 8 
A hyper-eclectic sound inspired by Alan Lomax and Aireene Espiritu’s Filipino heritage.

Andre Thierry, June 9 
Zydeco and “accordion soul” from a master. 

Fely Tchaco, June 11 
Pop music filtered through Tchaco’s Ivory Coast upbringing, with West African sounds mixed up with French ballads. 

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, June 24 
A consummate artist — with another, Cat Power, opening. 

Id1ot Festival, June 24 – 25 
Chris Hardwick’s festival comes to town with Weezer, Ok Go, Lord Huron and TV on the Radio — plus a full slate of comedians, including Demetri Martin and Michael Che. 

Fantastic Negrito, July 2 
The man behind the Emmy’s Best Contemporary Blues Album comes to 19th Avenue with his modern, seductive sound (just listen to the NPR video above). 

Natalie Merchant, July 19 
You’ve forgotten how good she is. 

James Taylor + Bonnie Raitt, July 29 
The most soothing voice to hold a stadium (AT&T Park, specifically). 

Violent Femmes, July 30 
Teenage anxiety, anger and posturing, undimmed by 30 years. 

Diana Krall, August 1 
A honeyed voice tailor-made for summer concerts. 

Amadou & Mariam, August 6 
West Africa’s best musical import of recent years, and veterans of huge festivals like Glastonbury.

Outside Lands, August 11 – 13 
Tickets are still available for the three-day festival, with a line-up led by Metallica, Gorillaz, the Who and Lorde. 

Dr Lonnie Smith Trio, August 13 
You will not believe what this man can do with a Hammond B3 organ. 

Bobi Céspedes, August 17 
See her — and then, a couple days later, Daymé Arocena — for a snapshot of today’s Cuban sound. 

Daymé Arocena, August 19
Contemporary Cuban at its best. 

Willie Nelson & Family, August 19 
“I woke up still not dead again today/The Internet said I had passed away.” Reward the man’s tenacity and verve by seeing him at the Greek, with opener Kacey Musgreaves. 

Brazilian Girls, August 20 
There’s little truth in advertising in the N.Y.C. band’s name — Brazilians are unaccounted for, and there’s only one girl — but you will get an insistent evening of dance.

Evie Ladin, September 8
The girl with the golden banjo plays the Point Richmond Summer Music Festival. 

Indigo Girls, September 8 
You know a woman who loves them, so get your plus-one and settle in for some super-big harmonies,

Muse, September 15 
The outrage-at-the-end-of-the-world is even more raucous in person. 

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