The cliché phrase “the best things in life are free”, is starting to sound just about right. After not even a month, Manhattan has dwindled my bank account down to nearly nothing. Now I finally understand when the Girl’s character, Hannah, says, “I calculated, and I can last in New York for three and a half more days — maybe seven if I don’t eat lunch.” I’m contemplating cutting down on meals or sticking to a strictly canned diet in order to keep up with my New York City lifestyle.
I suppose the fact that New York will suck every single penny from you, is a less than desirable part of living here. However, the only reason that it’s capable of this incredible feat is because there are so many desirable things to do. With endless drinking and eating establishments, arguably the best shopping in the world, and almost every band you want to see coming through, it is hard to hold onto those dollars. But lucky for me, New York City doesn’t mind giving back to its broke citizens.
This Sunday I came to the decision that today, I could not spend a penny. Not even on food. As I walking down West 8th Street, watching all the people lining up for PRIDE, something rung a bell. PRIDE aligned with another event. I quickly checked my sticky notes and I was right. The Alabama Shakes, one of my all time favorite bands, were playing a free show in Central Park along with Diamond Rugs and Robert Ellis as part of Summer Stage. I quickly called up my concert buddy and headed up town.
It was incredible to say the least. The venue was spotted with food and drink vendors of all types, nonprofit organizations, and booths complete with businesses and startups. Bandaid and Time Out New York helped sponsor the event. While visiting the booths and vendors were great, the best part, of course, was the music. I cannot begin to explain how freaking awesome Brittany Howard is. Girl has ridiculous pipes and soul. People of all ages gathered to groove together to the bluesy sound of The Shakes. It was amazing to see children, parents, and random hipsters dancing together.
Summerstage is not the only organization in New York City that puts on free concerts. The night prior to seeing The Alabama Shakes, I had just seen Ghostface Killah as a part of Celebrate Brooklyn. (Wuuuuuu Tangggg).
While Boston does offer free events like the recent Earthfest where all of you made fun of the fact that you were at a Third Eye Blind concert but secretly enjoyed bouncing around to “Semi-Charmed Life”, the amount of free concerts in large venues is extremely limited or are aimed at a slightly older/ family oriented crowd. This really is a shame because it is a great way to attract people and help support our beautiful city’s tourism.
Additionally, it is an opportunity for small and local businesses to spread their word to the community. Boston is full of young and innovative businesses that would truly flourish in a festival type setting. It is a simple way for those who don’t have a large budget to make their presence known. Also, Boston truly is a musical city. After all, we are home to one of the best schools of music in the country: Berklee. A free concert festival would be a perfect way to bring together larger acts while showing off local talent.
I really hope that Boston hops on the free bandwagon in the near future. After all, the city is crowded with poor college students, myself included after this summer. The great people of Boston deserve some good free fun and the local businesses need this opportunity. So Boston, please set the music free.
Lindsey Train is a junior Marketing Communications major and Multimedia Journalism minor at Emerson College in Boston. She has recently moved to New York City where she is interning for Likeable Media, a social media advertising agency. Through her blog she hopes to incorporate the best of New York City into the city that she has grown to love: Boston.