April 24, 2009

A Summer Made of Music

Print More

As the semester rolls to a close with bands booking their last shows at The Nines, a capella groups begging you to come to their spring performances and Slope Day just a week away from filling the East Hill with one final musical celebration, I’ve already started to switch the gears on my music agenda to focus on summer.
Like every good Jew from Long Island, I spent eleven summers of my life between 1997 and 2008 at a camp in the Catskills Mountains, far removed from the routing of any band’s summer tour. There was the exception of July 22, 2002 when my parents took me out of camp to enjoy my graduation present of front row, center tickets to the Weezer Enlightenment tour at Jones Beach, but otherwise, my summers were all about recorded music. Last summer, this all changed. I stopped going to camp, I conformed to the internship trend, and I spent my summer in New York City taking in all the music I could feast my eyes and ears on. It was glorious.
Now, through these past wintry months, whenever I hear a song by Ra Ra Riot I can’t help but be reminded of the hottest day of last summer where I thought I was going to succumb to death via melting at the Village Voice Siren Festival at Coney Island; or if I hear a Vampire Weekend song I’m suddenly back standing in the middle of Central Park drenched by a rainy downpour with 2,000 other college students having the time of our lives; or when hearing The Honorary Title I think of the Bowery Ballroom and having a completely normal concert experience. Although I had a miserable unpaid internship during the day, it was these afternoon and evening concerts that I’ll never forget. After eleven summers of being away from summer tours, finally taking it all in last summer was fulfilling. As I sit here writing this, I’m sad that in just a few days Slope Day will be here and gone and then I’ll be just a week away from having to leave Cornell for the summer. Yet, the excitement of my unknown summer concert series makes me feel okay about departing my beloved Ithaca for June, July and August.
With each passing day, there has come the announcement of more and more tour dates by more and more bands whom I already like, or whom I am ready to become their next fan. I keep a little post-it on my computer as a calendar, filling in the dates of the shows I’d like to go to. Within the last week, the most recent tour announcements made my July show count grow from three to eight. It’s only April, which means that soon there will be so many options that I’ll need to pick some events over another. The best part is that most of these shows are free! My non-existent expense account from my non-paying internship won’t even have to go into debt because all I have to do is show up at these shows, no ticket or green bills necessary! Even better, it’s likely that if you’re somewhere near a city in the U.S. you’ll be able to enjoy free music too! In order for you to cheer up about leaving Ithaca and get as excited as I am about a summer without Cornell, below are a few tips on great places to look for summer music.
Of course it’s easiest if you’re in a city and if that’s the case then check out OhMyRocness.com for those of you in NYC, LA or Chicago, since they have the most extensive list of the best shows around. But if you’re not in one of the big towns, then PollStar.com should be a great resource where you can type in an artist, band, venue or city to get what you’re looking for. If you’ve got a few minutes you also might want to do a simple search of Ticketmaster.com or Ticketweb.com with your zip code. There’s always the chance that you’ll be happily surprised that one of you favorite bands is stopping into town and you happened to miss the memo.
If the Internet’s not your thing, then pick up the local paper –– especially the free ones. Although print’s almost dead, these papers tend to have exceptionally detailed lists and calendars of all music events worthy of your time that are near to your town. It might also be a good idea to look into the schedules of the museums and parks in your area. Often, museums and parks have free summer concert series and those shows end up being some of the most stimulating of the year.
Case and point, wherever you are this summer, go see music! Whether you’re living on a different continent educating people about AIDS, working like an I-banker in NYC or doing research in Ithaca check out your local music scene. Every town has some sort of music and it’s definitely something special you’ll take away from your summer experience.