Summer Music: Take it Outside!

Ahh, summer. Time to take the music outside. But forget the high-priced national touring acts. Here’s a sampling of local alternatives for putting the musical sizzle in summer – many of them completely free.

Robin Lacy and DeZydeco
Robin Lacy and DeZydeco


Behringer-Crawford Museum’s concert series will return to Devou Park in Covington with Latin, blues, bluegrass and jazz performances on Thursdays at 7 p.m. through Aug. 15. Among the performers: Mt. Auburn Brass on June 13; Mambo Combo on June 20; Ben Levin & The Heaters on July 18; and Robin Lacy and DeZydeco on Aug. 8.Take a lawn chair or blanket, snuggle in and enjoy the show. $5 adults, kids 3-12 free.


The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra will kick off its 25th anniversary summer series at Devou Park on Saturday, July 13, with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Future shows will be “45s Without Words” on Aug. 3 and “Russian Collusion” on Aug. 31. All are at 7:30 p.m.


The City of Fairfield utilizes its Village Green, adjacent to the Fairfield Community Arts Center, for a series of Thursday concerts June 6 through Aug. 22 (except Independence Day), ranging from country to rock to Nawlins and even the Butler Philharmonic. Concerts begin at 7 p.m.

TRIIBE at Wednesdays in the Woods
TRIIBE at Wednesdays in the Woods


The Clifton Cultural Arts Center’s free music series, Wednesdays in the Woods (7 p.m.), will continue through Aug. 7 at Burnet Woods Park. The center is partnering with Cincinnati Parks and the Cincinnati Parks Foundation for the weekly concerts, which include an Independence Day celebration on Wednesday, July 3, complete with fireworks and more. The series celebrates the diversity of the Uptown neighborhoods with an array of musical genres.


Washington Park’s free R&B series will return with nine weeks of Friday evening entertainment. In its eighth season, the series is Washington Park’s best-attended music event, drawing about 2,500 listeners each night. Concerts are from 7 to 10 p.m. at Washington Park’s main stage on the civic lawn. 

This year’s headliners: Dayton Funk Band on May 31; Men at Large on June 7; Isaac Lee’s Teddy Pendergrass Review on June 14; Ruff Endz on June 21; Premium Blend Band on July 5; Algebra Blessett on July 12; Case on July 19; Alyson Williams on Aug. 9; and Lil G from Silk on Aug. 16.

John Morris Russel
John Morris Russell


John Morris Russell leads the Cincinnati Pops at 8 p.m. on Independence Day in saluting America “from sea to shining sea.” Guests include the US Army Six String Soldiers and vocalist Montego Glover. Bring a picnic to Riverbend; kids under 17 are free on the lawn. And let the kids enjoy free rides at Coney Island with their concert ticket. A substantial Rozzi fireworks show immediately follows. Tickets $5-$50, $5 for active and retired military.


Thursdays 6 p.m. Moerlein Lager House’s summer concert series is back for its second year, every Thursday on the adjacent Schmidlapp Event Lawn, and features bands ranging from blues to country to folk to rock. Attendees can enjoy Moerlein beers, cocktails and food, along with lawn games and lounge furniture. One dollar of every Moerlein beer sold will be donated to the Cincinnati Parks Foundation. Concerts run from May 30 to Aug. 15. 


The lazier, hazier Thursdays of August are the perfect time for some cool jazz, and some of the top names in the region. Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park is the perfect venue for listening, seeing and being seen. Music begins at 6 p.m each week, with the Backstage Food Area open at 5 p.m. Park free at Cincinnati Art Museum. The 2019 roster is still TBA, so check the website for details.


Jazz in the Heights: Wonderjazz will welcome the Phil DeGreg Trio for its reimagining of the songs of Stevie Wonder. Kennedy Heights Arts Center Lindner Annex on Sunday, June 9, 2 p.m.
Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

Salsa on the Square
Salsa on the Square


Spice things up: The heart of downtown will beat every Thursday through Sept. 26 with the return of P&G Salsa on the Square. Visitors will enjoy local and regional bands, dancing (and dance instruction), food, drink and more.

The Fifth and Vine Live Series: The annual series features an eclectic lineup of national, regional and local acts. The Band of Heathens, Soul Pocket, Vesperteen and Meli’sa Morgan are among the artists slated to perform. Every Friday and Saturday from 7 to 11 p.m., May 31-Aug. 31.

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