Among the many ways summer is celebrated in the states of New England as they emerge from their long, freezing winters, outdoor concerts and other events are at the top of everyone’s list. And those that are free and open to the public are even more welcome. Gather your blankets, beverages and picnic baskets and get ready to enjoy musical performances to suit all tastes across the state.
Sand Jam & Family Movie Nights
880 S. Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
The Parks and Recreation Department of Fairfield has lined up a thrilling summer season of free fun for the whole family. DJ Marvin Parsons pounds out foot-thumping dance music for the kids and adults at the Sand Jam Family Fun Dances on the beach. Following the dances, starting at 6.30 p.m, is a picnic under the stars with a BYO picnic and family movie around 8.30 p.m. Jam Sessions and Movie Nights will be held on June 28, July 12, July 26 and August 8. Beach parking stickers are needed for cars to enter Jennings Beach. Vehicles without stickers are charged $15.
350 Asylum St.
Hartford, CT – 06103
The Hartford Jazz Society brings jazz to the masses through the many free concerts and events it sponsors during the summer months. Starting Monday, May 27, Jazz Mondays are free events jointly presented by The Charter Oak Cultural Center and The Hartford Jazz Society. They are thrilling for the veteran aficionado as well as the first-timer, who are ensured the very best experience in Hartford. The authentic southern atmosphere and Cajun and BBQ cuisine of Black-eyed Sally’s enhances the whole evening. Local talent frequently joins hands with big-name artists. Jazz sets are followed by jam sessions.
Simply Swing has quickly attained the status of one of the most in-demand Big Band musical groups; not just in Connecticut but in all of New England. It is the star entertainment sponsored annually by the Farmington Bank at The Community Concert Series, featuring concerts free to the public across major towns in Connecticut through the summer. It also delivers private performances at parties and weddings. The group’s range runs the gamut of musical greats like Diana Krall, Michael Buble, Natalie Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. A large number of “Simply Swing in Concert” 2013 performances are free and open to the public, and sponsored by the Farmington Bank. They include all major and many smaller towns in Connecticut. Check out the website for a summer concert near you.
Essex Parks and Recreations Concert Series
29 West Ave.
Essex, CT 06426
The quintessential New England “sister” Villages of Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton come together each summer for the Concert Series organized by the Parks and Recreation Department. Open-air and free, and alternating between Essex and Ivoryton, the combination of blues, symphonies, jazz, swing, country, soul and rock can be enjoyed along with a BYO picnic amidst the quaint restaurants, shops and attractions of this charming, historic seaport. The Essex Concert Series includes performances such as the Beatles Forever, Blues on the Rocks and Middletown Symphonic. At the Ivoryton Green, you can catch Shiny Lapel Trio, Long Island Sound and The Side Doors.
Center Memorial Park
Corner of Center & Main Streets
Manchester, CT 06040
Date: Saturday, June 8
June 8 is the celebration of the 39th Anniversary of the New England Fiddle Contest at the conveniently located Center Park in Manchester, CT, right off the I-384 ramp, at the intersection of Center Street and Main Street. It takes place during the Pride in Manchester Week. There is ample free parking and many quality restaurants, shops and other attractions nearby. The Contest, partly supported by the Greater Hartford Arts Council, features competitors from as far away as Canada, and promotes the unique New England style of fiddling. It draws large crowds of participants and attendees and is free for both. Combine the music and the excitement with an al fresco meal under the stars – a truly different way to spend a summer evening – considered an annual ‘rite of spring’ for the fiddler community.
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Bina Joseph, a resident of Glastonbury, CT is a freelance writer covering all things travel-related in Connecticut.
A passionate veteran of the travel industry, Bina has visited more than 40 countries, giving her a unique, global perspective. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.