Music And The Great Outdoors

It’s August. Sunny. Not a hint of the big F word in sight. But alas, the birds are laying out maps for southern considerations during cocktails. The slightest hints of September’s suggestive winds are dancing around in the dreams of leaves at 1am. It’s still hot out, but music festival season is getting ready for its last act before packing up the sauerkraut and merchandise until next year.

It could be that you’ve returned from Bonnaroo and just yesterday glumly downloaded the 356 pics into iPhoto. Perhaps the fact that the Great South Bay Music Festival is becoming a dim hum reverberating in the back of your memory has got you down. Maybe you haven’t had enough music outdoors this summer to officially call it a day. Need to break out the blanket and shades one more time? Craving 30-foot speakers and a caravan of tents? Have no fear. The city has a remedy or two for you.

I love the bandshell in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Its design is dignified in this peculiarly global manner but streamlined and minimalistic…folksy almost. This perfectly mirrors the programming. Singer-songwriter Andrew Bird (who opened this year’s Celebrate Brooklyn! season) rubs shoulders with a “Latin Legends” salsa band. The best in indie rock is juxtaposed with the best in world music, which is, after all, what one might hear while walking down any number of streets in the city’s most musically-rich borough.

There’s also the City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage series, which brings ridiculously good music, theater and dance and all things in between to spaces across the Big Apple. Tappen Park in Staten Island, Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, and—arguably the biggest kahuna of them all—Central Park’s Main Stage are all part of the action. I saw the Counting Crows at the Main Stage with some family not too long ago and when Adam Duritz sang about being “feathered by the moonlight” in “A Murder of One,” we all looked up and realized that he wasn’t kidding. The best part of the show is often right above our heads.

Where are you going to be this month when the flaming orb of summer goes down?,

alan semerdjian

Alan Semerdjian is a writer, musician, English teacher, and occasional visual artist. Besides LI Pulse, his work has appeared in Newsday, Adbusters, Chain, The Lyric Review and numerous other print and online publications, anthologies, and chapbooks. His first full-length book of poetry is In the Architecture of Bone (Genpop Books 2009). You can visit him digitally at and find out about his music at