With so many options for free entertainment and events, it’s time again to dive into the best free summer concerts in Los Angeles. Featuring diverse acts of world class standards, as well as rising stars and local gems, this summer is packed with free shows and festivals well worth braving the LA heat and traffic to get to. This year, in addition to the city’s many longstanding summer concert series, there are also a few newcomers excited to bring new musical discoveries to their fellow Angelenos. From performing art collectives to the best indie artists, the musical scope to choose from is sure to please any music lover’s taste. Be sure to check out these 10 featured summer concert series taking place at iconic LA locations from the Skirball Cultural Center to the heart of downtown LA. And, be sure to check out more free summer concerts in Los Angeles here.
August 4 – Nefesh Mountain at Sunset Concerts at the Skirball Cultural Center
Blending their Jewish background with the sounds of Americana, bluegrass band Nefesh Mountain create a unique strain of music that incorporates traditional klezmer melodies and Hebrew refrains. Penning personal music not just in sound but substance as well, the band’s latest release, Songs for the Sparrows was inspired by band leaders Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg’s trip to Poland and Ukraine, where their families emigrated from. The band will perform at the Skirball Cultural Center on Aug. 4.
August 6 – De Lux at One Colorado Summer Concerts in Old Town Pasadena
Performing Aug. 6 as part of Old Town Pasadena’s free summer concert series at One Colorado, is the LA duo De Lux. With a new album on the way, under their own label Innovative Leisure, De Lux makes music that is shaped and molded through their unique eye. Their most recent single, “Morning Misses Me” is a lush, slow pacing saunter that sparkles with a drifting piano melody.
August 11 – Booker T. Jones at Sunset Concerts at the Skirball Cultural Center
Acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and performer Booker T. Jones will display his immense musical prowess at the Skirball Cultural Center on Aug. 11. From fronting the seminal Memphis soul band Booker T. and the M.G.’s to his recent solo work in the last decade or so, Jones is a musical force unlike any other, born from years of experience and a genuine passion he instills in all his work.
August 13 – Extra Ancestral at Grand Performances at California Plaza, Downtown LA
Extra Ancestral comes to downtown LA on Aug. 13 as part of Grand Performances at California Plaza, a nonprofit initiative to provides free access to the global performing arts. More than just a band or group, Extra Ancestral explore through their art the African Diaspora of music and movement including Afrobeat, Reggae, Jazz and Salsa, all the while educating and entertaining their audiences.
August 13 – Sofía Valdés at One Colorado Summer Concerts in Old Town Pasadena
Bringing her fresh indie pop sound to Old Town Pasadena’s free summer concert series at One Colorado on Aug. 13, is internationally influenced Sofía Valdés. Born in Panama, educated in the U.S. and the UK, Valdés infuses her music with cultural elements from Panamanian folk music to Cubanismo, as exemplified in her recent single “In Bloom,” an upbeat, smooth track perfect for a hot summer night of dancing.
August 18 – Late Night Laggers Presents Ms Nina, Andrekza, Late Night Laggers DJs at Levitt LA Free Summer Concerts at MacArthur Park
On Aug. 18, Levitt LA Free Summer Concerts at MacArthur Park hosts Late Night Laggers Presents, featuring artists Ms Nina, Andrekza and DJ collective Late Night Laggers. Singer and songwriter, Ms Nina makes reggaeton, dembow, hip-hop, and trap beats with spitfire lyrics and an unstoppable attitude. With a similar spirit and equal talent, Venezuela-based Andrekza brings a personal touch to everything she releases, making music with the intention of getting closer to her fans and audience. Meanwhile, Late Night Laggers bring their own swagger with fresh mixes, reworks of songs and original music, all to promote and produce global club music experiences.
August 25 – Son Rompe Pera at Sunset Concerts at the Skirball Cultural Center
Son Rompe Pera perform Aug. 25 as part of Sunset Concerts at the Skirball Cultural Center with Los Jornaleros del Norte and KCRW DJ José Galván. Formed by Kacho, Kilos and Mongo Gama, who began their musical career at an early age performing marimba music alongside their father, Son Rompe Pera fuse the music they grew up playing with their own take on grunge and rock. The evening also features Los Jornaleros del Norte, a group that formed in response to an ICE raid that took place in City of Industry in 1995 while a mobile health clinic of the Los Angeles County Health Department was providing services to the community.
August 26 – Jazz at LACMA featuring Mz Val
Mz Val performs at LACMA On Aug. 26 as part of the museum’s Jazz at LACMA series, celebrating LA’s finest jazz musicians. A former Raelette, touring with Ray Charles, Mz Val is a multi-faceted performer with powerhouse vocals making her mark as a singer and actor, having appeared in musicals such as “Chicago,” playing Mama Morton. She has also performed at jazz festivals across the country and has collaborated with other artists, including being the featured vocalist for Jeff Clayton’s album, Listen Through The Looking Glass.
August 27 – Standing on the Corner at the Getty Center’s Off the 405
New York collective Standing on the Corner will perform at Off the 405, the Getty Center’s annual free outdoor summer concert series on Aug. 27. Calling itself an “art ensemble,” Standing on the Corner encompasses the group’s roots, emerging from the underground art and music scene in New York. Their music blurs the lines of any one music genre.
August 28 – Happy Sundays Music Fest
Featuring over a dozen musicians, Happy Sundays Music Fest kicks off Aug. 28 with performances by Julia, Julia, Tropa Magica, Jagged Baptist Club, Taleen Kali and more. Happy Sundays is a free, multi-venue, one-day, music, arts & comedy festival in Long Beach, CA featuring a broad array of artists, created by Julia Kugel (The Coathangers, Julia, Julia) and Scott Montoya (Soft Palms).
If you’re still searching for more shows and festivals to attend this summer, make sure to check out Grimy Goods’ Best Concerts This Month and this summer’s best music festivals happening around Southern California.