The moving trucks have begun to appear on Comm Ave, which sadly means that summer is coming to an end. Whether you’re headed back for a fresh semester or just in denial that we’ll soon be shoveling snow, take some time to enjoy music outdoors during these final days of the season. Everyone is familiar with the Hatch Shell, but there are plenty more venues across the city where you can enjoy performances outside. Take the T or walk to one of these local outdoor venues before winter inevitably traps us inside bars and clubs.
Been to a show at a library lately? Check out the Boston Public Library’s summer concert series in the historic McKim Courtyard. Located in the heart of Copley Square, the column-lined garden will be packed with performances all the way up to August 31. Among the sounds of a babbling fountain and hushed bookworms, a host of musical acts ranging from jazz, to Latin, to classical, to folk will hit the courtyard. Upcoming concerts include The Fernando Holz Band on August 20 at 6 PM and Bill Lowe on August 22 at 12 PM. Both are free and open to the public.
Take to the sea before the chill of autumn sweeps across Boston Harbor with Rock On! 8th Annual Concert Cruises. Booking performances on seafaring vessels, these Boston Harbor cruises have previously featured performances by Deer Tick, Sarah Borges, and even a Pearl Jam tribute band (yes, that exists). The ship is outfitted with a fully stocked bar, so patrons can kick back with a cocktail while taking in the gorgeous Boston skyline. Upcoming shows include Brooklyn reggae outfit The Slackers on August 22 at 7 PM and Turkuaz + Strange Machines August 28 at 7 PM.
If you’d rather stay land-locked but still enjoy the ocean breeze and breathtaking skyline, head down to the rapidly expanding Waterfront district. The Institute of Contemporary Art’s Hassenfeld Harborway sits directly on the water and features a diverse group of young, up-and-coming musicians from Berklee College. Every Thursday evening performance is free and includes free admission to the galleries. Upcoming concerts include Oyinda + Bigfoot Wallace August 21 at 6 PM and R&B/funk collective Common Thread August 28 at 6 PM.
The Museum of Fine Art’s ivy-covered Calderwood Courtyard hosts an eclectic mix of performers throughout the summer and fall. The open-air courtyard’s lawn provides an intimate spot for observing the tree-lined stage. This natural getaway is great for escaping the humid, noisy streets and for discovering a wide range of talented musicians. Upcoming concerts include Ethiopian funk group Debo Band on August 20 at 7:30 PM and blues pianist David Maxwell on August 27 at 7:30 PM. All MFA members receive a $5 discount on tickets.
An obvious but necessary addition to the list, this old ballpark just might be the best outdoor venue within city limits. A lot has changed in the park since Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles first played the stadium in 1973: Springsteen revitalized the Fenway concert scene in 2003, ushering in an era that brought in the likes of Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, The Police, and more. The atmosphere alone is worth the price of admission. Upcoming concerts include Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on August 30 at 7 PM and Jack White on September 17 at 6:30 PM.