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Written by:  Janice Lewine and Carolyn Caggia
Date: May 21, 2014

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 2014 has in store. Check websites for updates, as scheduling changes may occur.

Jump to:

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

•   Toasts and Tunes Concert Series
Free concerts for all ages held at Cloer Family Vineyards on Saturdays monthly stretching to 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.

•    Concert Series at the Historic Train Depot and Apex Nature Park Amphitheater - Free
Outdoor concerts at the Historic Train Depot in Apex and concerts on the campus between Town Hall and the Community Center as well as the New Nature Park Amphitheater (2600 Evans Road). Performances include brass, country, big band, rock and roll, beach, bluegrass, reggae and jazz. Bring your chair and blanket for an evening of outside entertainment for the whole family! No alcohol or pets allowed. Visit for upcoming shows. 

•    Triangle Brass Band with the Triangle Brass Soundsport Team
Free concert Sat., Jun. 28 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 at our newest music venue!

•      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 8-June 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m., on the Weaver Street Market lawn at 101 E. Weaver St. in Carrboro. Learn more at Weaver St. Market's website.

•     Jazz & More Brunch
This free outdoor jazz series takes place on Sundays, May 4-June 29, 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.

•     Downtown Performers Series
Bring a picnic, sit back, relax and enjoy the fresh air as the best local performers entertain you. All performances are free and take place on the Downtown Performance Green at the corner of Academy Street and Kildaire Farm Road across from the Cary Arts Center. Concerts are on June 14 and July 12 and begin at 7 p.m.

•    Starlight Concert Series
Enjoy free concerts at 7 p.m. on select Fridays — June 13 and 27 and July 11 and 25 — featuring eclectic local and regional groups 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.

•    Sertoma Series
Enjoy free outdoor concerts May-August at varying times and PineCone Series concerts May 10, June 14, July 12 and August 9 at 6 p.m. 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 and search for Sertoma Series.

•    Seven O'Clock Rock Series
Take time to strut your stuff on the streets of Cary! A block party experience in Downtown Cary will find the streets closed off, merchants open late, good food and the opportunity to enjoy great music with friends and neighbors. Free dance lessons are offered prior to the start of the concert so you can cut a rug on the street! All performances are free and take place at the intersection of Academy Street and Chatham Street. Artists perform on Fridays June 6 and 20 and July 18 and begin at 7 p.m.

•     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.

•    Wind Down Wednesdays at Waverly Place
Don't miss free concerts and family entertainment on the promenade every Wednesday night May 28 through July 30, 6-9 p.m. Coolers are not permitted. Visit Waverly Place's website for details.

•    Wild Card Wednesday at Cary's Booth Amphitheatre
Local artists, chosen by Booth Amphitheatre's Facebook fans, will be featured every Wednesday night in July from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Each night will highlight a different musical genre: reggae, blues, salsa and country. Tickets are $5 per show (or $20 for all five shows) and children 12 and under are free. Picnics, lawn chairs, cameras and pets on leahes are allowed, and the venue concession stands will be open. See the Booth Amphitheatre's website for details.

*On Friday, July 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Booth Amphitheatre, the North Carolina Symphony will be performing a free Independence Day concert.*

Chapel Hill:
•    Carolina Inn's Fridays on the Front Porch
Enjoy free live music every Friday through Oct. 3, 5-8 p.m. Food, beer and wine will be offered. Visit Carolina Inn's website for more details.

•    Live and Local! Music and Art Series
At the Plaza at 140 Franklin St. in Downtown Chapel Hill, free concerts will play from April through June. 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 27-Aug. 29, at 8 p.m. Visit Locally Grown's schedule for details.

•    Music Maker's Roots and Leaves Series
Listen to free blues and Southern traditional music every Friday night in June at 6 p.m. on the Village Green at Southern Village. For details, visit Music Maker's website.

•    Southern Village Sunday Night Outdoor Music Series
Enjoy free Sunday concerts on the Village Green at 6 p.m. through Oct. 13. To learn more, visit Southern Village's website.

*On Sunday, June 8, the North Carolina Symphony will be playing Beethoven's Fifth in a free concert on the Village Green, Southern Village, Chapel Hill.*

•    Clayton Town Square Concerts Series
Attend free concerts May 29, June 18, July 17, Aug. 21 and Sept. 18 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 6-9 p.m. Upcoming concerts are June 12, July 10, August 14 and September 4. 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

•    Duke Performances 2013: Music in the Gardens
Listen to regional indie rock and folk groups in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on select Wednesdays June 5-July 31. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and concerts start at 7 p.m. Chairs and picnics are allowed. $15 tickets for age 30 and under and $10 for Duke students. For dates and to order tickets, visit Duke Performances online. 

•     Blues on the Plaza
Northgate Mall, in association with the Triangle Blues Society, is pleased to inaugurate a free four-part outdoor blues series. The artists will be featured the last four Fridays in May: May 9, 16, 23 and 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. outdoors on the Plaza between entrances 2 and 4 at Northgate Mall, 1058 W. Club Boulevard, Durham.

•    Center Stage at American Tobacco Concert Series
Enjoy free Friday concerts, 6-9 p.m., on the American Tobacco Amphitheater May 29, June 12, June 26, July 31, Aug. 14, Aug. 28 and Sep. 4. Picnics and coolers are welcome-no glass. Visit the events calendar at the Tobacco Campus's website.

•    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 through Oct. 4, 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 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 concert on Friday, July 25 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Durham Central Park as a part of the Warehouse Blues Series. See the event's page on Facebook. 

•    Northgate Mall's Music on the Plaza
Free concerts on Sept. 26, Oct. 3, Oct. 10, Oct. 17 and Oct. 24 from 6-9 p.m. Visit the event page.

•    Celebrate Fuquay-Varina Concert
This free concert on Thursday, June 5, kicks off the Celebrate Fuquay-Varina Festival and features Spare Change playing classic rock, country and funk with a little beach music thrown in. 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 May 8 and 29 and June 12 and 26 from 6-9 p.m. on the back lawn of the Garner Performing Arts Center. Bring chairs or blankets, but coolers and pets are not permitted. For the performance schedule, see Garner's website

*On Thursday, July 3, at Lake Benson Park at 8:30 p.m., the North Carolina Symphony will be performing a free Independence Day concert.*

•    Hillsborough Outdoor Music Series
Check out Hillsborough's Weaver Street Market at 228 Churton St. on Thursdays through June 26, 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 through Sept. 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m. View the schedule at the Weaver Street Market's website

Holly Springs:
•    Summer at the Springs
Free outdoor concerts take place on the second and fourth Fridays June-August, 7-9 p.m., at the Holly Springs Cultural Center. In case of inclement weather, concerts will be moved to Holly Springs Cultural Center's indoor theater. For details, visit Holly Springs' Cultural Center webpage.

•    Live Music: Clay Street After Work
Every third Friday from May to September from 7 to 9:30 p.m on Clay Street. Come early to shop and dine!

•    LIVE in The District Music Series
Take the family for free music every Thursday from 6-8:30 p.m. through Oct. 10 at Park West Village, 1608 Market Center Dr.  Visit Park West Village's website for details.

•    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, 6-9 p.m. Learn more at North Hills' website.

•   Music in the Valley
Enjoy free live music Wednesdays in May, 6-9 p.m., at Crabtree Valley Mall on the patio. Enjoy food and drink specials during performances. Learn more at Crabtree Valley's website.

•    Oak City 7
This new free concert series continues every other Thursday May 29-Aug. 21, 6-9:30 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. Food trucks will be present, and local and craft beers will be avalable. Picnics with no outside alcohol, leashed pets, lawn and tailgaiting chairs are permitted. All ages are welcome. See Oak City 7's website for more details.

•    Pickin' in the Plaza
Raleigh's new bluegrass concert series features free shows that will complement Oak City 7 and help meet Raleigh's growing demand for live music. All shows start at 5 p.m. and last until 10:30 p.m. in Raleigh City Plaza, Fayetteville. The events feature free live music, local food trucks and local beers. Events are every Thursday from Memorial Day to Labor Day (excluding July 3).

•    Saturdays in Saxapahaw
Enjoy free outdoor concerts on Saturdays May-August, 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.

•     Music Maker's Roots and Leaves Series
Listen to free blues and Southern traditional music June 6 and Aug. 1 at 8 p.m. at the Eddy Pub. For details, visit Music Maker's website.

Wake Forest:
•    Wake Forest ARTS Six Sundays in Spring
Free concerts on Sundays from April 27 through June 1 at 5 p.m. Presented by PineCone at E. Carroll Joyner Park Amphitheater (701 Harris Road). Food and refreshments will be available. See Wake Forest ARTS' website

Compiled and updated by Carolyn Caggia May 21, 2014. 

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


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