Live music can complete a perfect summer evening spent with friends and good food. And there’s nothing better or more family- and wallet-friendly than free concerts, which are put on by cities and businesses across the region. There are also some that, though not free, are more affordable than plunking down a credit card to see the big names at the big venues.
From Woodstock, to Marietta, to downtown Atlanta and out to Gwinnett County, there are bands playing that will please every ear and dance style. With no or low ticket costs — and most of the concerts welcoming picnickers — these events are worth the drive.
Marietta Glover Park Concert Series
Bring a picnic, blanket or lawn chairs to Marietta Square after 4 p.m. for the free summer concerts through September. Set up tables in the street on North Park Square after 6 p.m. June 28: Atlanta Pleasure Band (R&B). July 26: the Grapevine (beach music and oldies). Aug. 23; A1A (Jimmy Buffett tribute band).
Concerts begin at 8 p.m. 50 N. Park Square, Marietta. 770-794-5601. http://www.mariettaga.gov/city/residents/parks/specialevents/concertseries
Woodstock Summer Concert Series
One of the best free summer series in the region plays Saturdays here. Plenty of food within walking distance of the downtown park or bring a picnic. July 13: Ed Roland, the lead singer for Collective Soul, brings his Sweet Tea Project to town (Americana). Aug. 10: the Dazz Band (’80s R&B/funk). Sept. 14: the Marshall Tucker Band (Southern rock).
Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Park at City Center, 101 Arnold Mill Road, Woodstock. http://www.woodstockconcertseries.com/
Gwinnett County’s Moonlight & Music Concert Series
Downtown Lawrenceville’s historic courthouse lawn tunes up with free music on the last Friday of each month through September, featuring a variety of musical genres. June 28: Abbey Road Live (Beatles tribute). July 26: Randall Bramblett Band (Americana singer-songwriter). Aug. 30: Yacht Rock Schooner (’70s FM radio hits/variety).
Concerts begin at 8 p.m. 185 Crogan St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-2639. http://www.visitlawrenceville.com/news-profile.php?Article_ID=21
Jazz on the Lawn at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
Not free, but affordable. Callanwolde’s Jazz on the Lawn showcases a lineup of Atlanta’s finest jazz players performing a mix of classic and contemporary jazz, swing, fusion, Latin and blues. Guests can bring a blanket and a picnic and enjoy these special concerts under the stars. Second and fourth Fridays of each month. June 28: Serenata Band (Latin jazz, samba and salsa). July 12: Scott Glazer’s Mojo Dojo (jazz, blues and Southern soul). July 26: Ted Howe Trio with vocalist Karla Harris (the music of James Bond). Aug. 9: Madoca & Company (contemporary fusion jazz).
Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. $15 in advance or $20 at the door, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, 980 Briarcliff Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-872-5338. http://www.callanwolde.org/events/index.html
Stone Mountain Village Bluegrass Jam
Wednesday nights during the summer, bring your instrument or just your lawn chair and enjoy the free music. At the Gazebo in the 900 block of Main Street. Rain location is in the old train depot next to the Gazebo.
6 p.m. Wednesdays. free. http://www.stonemountainvillage.com/