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Written by:  Janice Lewine and Carolyn Caggia
Date: May 13, 2015

Keep the kids entertained and your wallet fat this summer with free or low-cost live outdoor concerts throughout the Triangle area. Here is what summer 2015 has in store. Check websites for updates, as scheduling changes may occur.

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Apex • Bynum • Carrboro • Cary • Chapel Hill • Clayton • Durham • Fuquay-Varina • Garner • Hillsborough • Mebane • Morrisville • Raleigh • Saxapahaw • Wake Forest 

•    Apex Music & Movies in the Park Series
Held at the spacious new Nature Park Amphitheatre, the evening will offer family friendly concerts and movies. Load up the kids, the lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic dinner and show up early for good seats. Concerts start at dusk. See the schedule online

•   Toasts and Tunes Concert Series
Free concerts for all ages held at Cloer Family Vineyards on the second Saturday of each month, April through November. These are outdoor concerts, and wine will be sold by the glass and bottle (no outside alcohol permitted). Feel free to bring lawn chairs and picnics. Visit the event page for more information.

•    Triangle Brass Band Civil War Tribute
Free concert Sat., June 27 at 7 p.m. at Apex Nature Park Amphitheatre, 2600 Evans Road. Kickstart your 4th of July week festivities with the Triangle Brass Band as they present an outdoor concert of patriotic and festive tunes to celebrate Independence Day. Bring your chairs, blankets and picnics and enjoy a summer outdoor evening. More details online

•      Friday Night Music Series
Tickets are not needed but a $5-8 donation is requested and a hat is passed for performers. Bynum Front Porch, of Chatham County at 950 Bynum Road in Bynum, invites folks to bring chairs and sit under an open sky to enjoy fine music, food from local vendors and one another's company on summer evenings from May to September. Please leave pets and alcohol at home. Music plays from 7 to 9 p.m. and shows span genres from gospel, folk, blues, rockabilly and bluegrass. See Bynum Front Porch's website for more information.

•     After Hours: Early Summer
Beat the heat Thursday evenings with free music May 14-June 25, 6:30-8:30 p.m., on the Weaver Street Market lawn at 101 E. Weaver St. in Carrboro. Learn more at Weaver Street Market's website.

•     Jazz & More Brunch
This free outdoor jazz series takes place on Sundays, May 17-October 11, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., on the Weaver Street Market lawn at 101 E. Weaver St. in Carrboro. Take chairs and blankets. Purchase a la carte brunch items in the store. More information online

•    Live at Lunch
Bring your lunch or stop by one of Downtown Cary's restaurants and then join in for some mid-day music by local performers. Picnic tales provided. Thursdays in May from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Fidelity Bank Plaza, 100 W. Chatham Street. For more information call 919-469-4061 or visit Town of Cary's website.

HobNob Jazz Series
Tickets are $5 for adults and free for children ages 12 and under at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre on Wednesday nights in May to early June. Picnics and pets on leashes are allowed; alcohol is not. Visit Booth Amphitheatre's webpage for more information.

2015 Rex Healthcare Summerfest Series
The North Carolina Symphony's popular summer outdoor concerts return for another season at Cary's Booth Amphitheatre May 23 through July 9. Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m., but you can bring a picnic as early as 5:30 p.m. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free on the lawn. More info online here. Above photo courtesy of North Carolina Symphony.

•    Sertoma Series
Enjoy free outdoor concerts May-August at varying times and PineCone Series concerts May 16, June 13, July 11 and August 8. Both concert series take place in Bond Park (801 High House Road) at the Sertoma Amphitheatre. Call 919-469-4069 for more information about those performances or visit the Town of Cary's website

•    Starlight Concert Series
Enjoy free concerts at 7 p.m. on the fourth Friday of the month, May-September, at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center Garden. Food and lawn chairs are permitted. Please leave pets and alcoholic beverages at home. Call 919-460-4963 or visit the website for details.

•    Wind Down Wednesdays at Waverly Place
Don't miss free concerts and family entertainment on the promenade every Wednesday night June 3 through July 29, 6-9 p.m. Coolers are not permitted. Visit Waverly Place's website for details. Above photo courtesy of

Chapel Hill:
Courtesy of The Carolina Inn

•    Carolina Inn's Fridays on the Front Porch
Enjoy free live music every Friday April 24 through October 23, 5-8 p.m. Food, beer and wine will be offered. New this season are a variety of food trucks available to entertain your palate. Visit Carolina Inn's website for more details. Above picture courtesy of The Carolina Inn.

•    Live and Local! Music and Art Series
At the Plaza at 140 Franklin St. in Downtown Chapel Hill, free concerts will play from Fridays April 10 through June 19. Most concerts begin at 6 p.m. and last until 9 p.m. See the Plaza's website for lineups and details.  

•     Locally Grown Music & Movies Series
This free live concert and movie series takes place on top of Rosemary Street's Wallace Plaza every Thursday, June 18-Aug. 20, at 8 p.m. More information at Town of Chapel Hill website.

•    Meadowmont Music Series
"Music in the Gazebo" features big name bands each month at 301 Old Barn Lane from 6:30-8:30 p.m. with free parking. Bring your friends and family and have a picnic! "Music in the Village" features local bands on the Cafe Carolina patio in Meadowmont Village on the first Saturday of every month from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. For a full listing of events in Meadowmont, visit their website.

•    Music in the Meadow
Every second Saturday in June, July and August, Briar Chapel will host an afternoon filled with live music and local food and drinks. The concerts are free, but please bring an item to donate to the local CORA Food Pantry. See more details at the online calendar.

•    Southern Village Sunday Night Outdoor Music Series
Enjoy free Sunday concerts on the Village Green at 6 p.m., April 12-Sept. 20. To learn more, visit Southern Village's website.

•    Sweet Carolina Concert Series
University Place offers free concerts Thursday evenings, 6-9 p.m., June 4-July 30. Learn more here.

•    Clayton Town Square Concerts Series
Attend free concerts May 21, June 18, July 16, Aug. 20 and Sept. 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Clayton Town Square at 110 W. Main St. Enjoy merchandise and gift card giveaways along with other surprises. Visit Downtown Clayton's website for details.

•    Concerts at the Crossroads
Free admission to concerts from 3-6 p.m. Sunday April 12, May 17, Sept. 13 and Oct. 11. Beer and wine are available for purchase. The venue is at the corner of N.C. Hwy 42 East and Buffalo Road hosted by Flowers Plantation. See their website

•    Back Porch Music on the Lawn at American Tobacco Concert Series
Enjoy free Friday concerts, 6-9 p.m., on the American Tobacco Amphitheater select Thursdays May 14-Sept. 10. Picnics and coolers are welcome-no glass. Visit the events calendar at the Tobacco Campus's website.

•     Blues on the Plaza
Northgate Mall, in association with the Triangle Blues Society, is pleased to present a free outdoor blues series. The artists will be featured May 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. outdoors on the Plaza between entrances 2 and 4 at Northgate Mall, 1058 W. Club Boulevard, Durham.

•    Duke Performances 2015: Music in the Gardens
Listen to regional indie rock and folk groups in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on select Wednesdays June 3-July 29. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and concerts start at 7 p.m. Chairs and picnics are allowed. Tickets are $10, $5 for Duke employees and students and free for children 12 and under. For dates and to order tickets, visit Duke Performances online.

•    The Streets at Southpoint's Music on Main
Listen to free concerts featuring adult contemporary, beach and light jazz music at Cinema Circle (across from South Point Cinemas) Saturdays April 18-October 24, 6-9 p.m. Visit South Point's online events page for the schedule.

•    Rock the Park Movie and Concert Series
Enjoy this free movie and concert series on select Saturdays in June, July and August, 6-8 p.m., at various Durham parks. Food vendors will be available. To view the schedule, visit Rock the Park's webpage.

   Warehouse Blues Concert Series
Free family-friendly concerts Friday evenings, July 10-31 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Durham Central Park. Bring lawn chairs, have a picnic and enjoy the blues! Coolers are allowed, but alcohol is not permitted. See more information on event site.

•    Celebrate Fuquay-Varina Concert
This free concert on Thursday, June 4, kicks off the Celebrate Fuquay-Varina Festival and features Crush. This is an outdoor venue so please bring a lawn chair for seating. Coolers are fine but no alcohol, please. No dogs are allowed in the event area.

•    Downtown Sounds
Listen to free live music Sunday, June 7 on the back lawn of the Garner Performing Arts Center. Bring chairs or blankets, but coolers and pets are not permitted. More information coming soon on Downtown Garner website.

•    Hillsborough Outdoor Music Series
Check out Hillsborough's Weaver Street Market at 228 Churton St. on Thursdays, April 30-July 2, 6-8 p.m., for free music on the lawn, weather permitting. View the schedule at Weaver Street Market's website.

•    Last Fridays
A different band performs for free on the Weaver Street Market Lawn every last Friday of the month, April 24, May 29 and June 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m. View the schedule on the Weaver Street Market's website and more information on Hillsborough Arts Council website

•    Live Music: Clay Street After Work
Every third Friday from May to September, 7-9 p.m on Clay Street. Come early to shop and dine! See City of Mebane community events calendar.

•    LIVE in The District Music Series
Take the family for free music every Thursday from 6-8:30 p.m. through June 18 in front of Stone Theatre. Visit Park West Village's website for details.

Courtesy of North Hills
•    Midtown Beach Music Series
Enjoy free music performed by popular beach bands like The Embers, Liquid Pleasure and the Fantastic Shakers on the Commons at North Hills on Thursdays, April 23-Aug. 6, 6-9 p.m. Learn more at North Hills' website. Above picture courtesy of North Hills.

•    Music on the Green 
Upbeat bands every Wednesday night in June at Lafayette Village, 8450 Honeycutt Road. Concerts are 6-9 p.m. Sponsored by Purr & Bark Veterinary Hospital. Schedule online here 

•    North Carolina Museum of Art Summer Concerts
Since 1997 the Joseph M. Bryan, Jr., Theater in the Museum Park has welcomed America's finest singer-songwriters and critically acclaimed musical ensembles from around the world. Tickets are $30 for reserved seating and $20 for general admission. Children 6 and under free for general admission. Schedule online here 

•    Oak City 7
This free concert series continues every other Thursday May 28-Aug. 20, 5-10:30 p.m., in downtown Raleigh's City Plaza on Fayetteville Street. The concerts feature local and regional bands playing Americana, indie rock, folk rock and bluegrass music. See Oak City 7's website for more details.

•    Pickin' in the Plaza
Raleigh's bluegrass concert series featuring free shows. All shows are 5-10:30 p.m. in Raleigh City Plaza, Fayetteville Street. The events feature live music, local food trucks and local beers. Every other Thursday, June 4-August 27. Schedule online here.

•    Saturdays in Saxapahaw
Enjoy free outdoor concerts on Saturdays May 2-Aug. 29, 6-8 p.m., on the Hay Wagon Stage at the Saxapahaw Rivermill Farmers Market. No dogs allowed. For details, visit Saturdays in Saxapahaw's webpage.

Wake Forest:
•    Wake Forest ARTS Six Sundays in Spring
Free concerts on Sundays from April 26 through May 31 at 5 p.m. at E. Carroll Joyner Park Amphitheater (701 Harris Road). Food and refreshments will be available. See Wake Forest ARTS' website

Originally compiled by Carolyn Caggia, May 21, 2014. 

Updated by Megan Finke, May 12, 2015.

For more outdoor performances browse our article, Triangle Amphitheaters Offer Fresh Take on Family Performances.


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