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Free Live Music Events In LA This Summer

Levitt Pavilion Pasadena header credit Peter Zuehlke
(credit: Peter Zuehlke)

When the time rolls around for the LA area to fire up its free summer concert series, quite a few hot spots come to mind. Based on audience approval, expect music lovers to flock in droves to Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, The Grove at Farmers Market, Hollywood & Highland Center and Burton Chase Park in Marina Del Rey, among other family-oriented destinations. There are scores of performances to see and hear in coming months as new events continue to develop and organize. Stretching from Pasadena to Catalina Island, here are a few popular places to check out that promise superlative musical events during the summer of 2013.

Related: Best Summer Music Festivals And Tours

Concerts on the Green credit Jim Brammer
(credit: Jim Brammer)

Concerts on the Green
Warner Center Park
5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
(818) 704-1358
June 2 through Aug. 25

Woodland Hills is not only an affluent area in the southwestern pocket of the San Fernando Valley. It is also a rip-roaring magnet that has attracted leading performers to its summer concert series for nearly 40 years. Previous recording artists to perform at this event include Grammy-winning guitarist Albert McKay, one of the driving forces behind the meteoric success of the band Earth, Wind & Fire. Music lovers have also grooved to the wild antics of The Stray Cats' Lee Rocker and swayed to the nostalgic sounds of The Doors' Robby Krieger, known for the 60s hit "Light My Fire." If past events are indicative of what to anticipate, families will be in for more than a picnic in the park. They will be entertained by some of the best artists in the music industry. Be sure to catch the show that precedes the annual Fourth of July fireworks display. Check the events calendar for the 2013 all-star lineup.

Levitt Pavilion Pasadena credit Camille Elston
(credit: Camille Elston)

Summer Music Festival
Memorial Park
30 N. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91103
(626) 683-3230
June 16 through Aug. 24

Music enthusiasts with an ear for acoustic, adult contemporary, bluegrass, Celtic, country, gospel, jazz and funk will be in for a real treat when Pasadena's summer music festival kicks up its heels in June for a three-month run. Promoted by Levitt Pavilion Pasadena, the concert series consists of 50 star performances by some of the biggest names in the music industry. Some of the summer event's past performers include Grammy-winning Latin recording artist Pancho Sanchez, American soul singer Bettye LaVette, in addition to exceptional showmanship by the March Fourth Marching Band. As in previous years, the jubilee will take place in the heart of Old Pasadena at the Memorial Park gold bandshell, a historic site for community gatherings, sing-alongs and concerts since the 1930s. The city's tradition to provide free, quality concerts that promote cultural diversity continues through 2013 and beyond. Double check the events calendar for lineup and showtimes.

LA City Department of Recreation and Parks
(credit: LA City Department Of Recreation and Parks)

Pershing Square Downtown Stage
Pershing Square
532 S. Olive St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 847-4970
July 6 through Aug. 31

Bounded by 5th Street to the north, 6th Street to the south, Hill Street to the east and Olive Street to the west, Pershing Square is where well-known recording artists and local indie groups share the same stage for six weeks of free musical entertainment. Showcasing regional, national and international musicians, the concert series in downtown LA is a four-day weekly event that begins on Thursday. Recording artists that have headlined shows at this popular summer night hangout include the all-female 1980's band The Bangles, English New Wave band The Fixx and the alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. The series of evening shows also provides an engaging platform for emerging DJs and garage bands. With coordinated support from the music industry, business community and the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, the Pershing Square Downtown Stage has become a superb entertainment site due to its high-tech light and sound systems and celebrity guests.

Related: Best Indie Rock Venues In Los Angeles

#9. Avalon Bay, California

Summer Saturday Music Series
Wrigley Plaza Stage
1 Green Pier
Avalon, CA 90704
(310) 510-1520
July 31 through Sept. 25

If you want to venture away for the day to a rocky mound on the Pacific Ocean to hear good, free music, set your coordinates for Santa Catalina Island. This popular site, where the buffalo roam, will start pumping the volume at the end of July for what promises to be a boisterous, family-friendly concert series. Co-sponsored by the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Xceptional Music Company, the Saturday evening events will kick off with a tribute to country rock. The summer festival will also pay homage to the folk rock group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, in addition to tipping its hat to the 1980's emergence of pop, dance and New Wave music styles. Transportation to the tiny island by ferry is available from five mainland ports for a one-hour ride each way; it's a 15-minute excursion by helicopter. If you arrive early, consider visiting Catalina's many amenities that can be reached easily by foot, bicycle or golf cart.

Related: Best Vocal Groups In Los Angeles

getty museum
(credit: Getty Museum)

Garden Concerts for Kids
The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 440-7300
Saturdays and Sundays, Aug. 1 through 31

This magnificent hilltop Getty Museum features far more than pre-20th century illustrations and decorative arts. The tree-lined campus that overlooks the majesty of Los Angeles is also an exciting venue that hosts live, free concerts designed for youth. Each weekend throughout the month of August, youngsters and their families are entertained by some of the nation's more renowned performing artists that create music to educate, motivate and inspire developing minds. Recording artists that have filled the monumental central garden with their uplifting tunes include guitarist Justin Roberts, a Parents' Choice Awards multiple winner. Additionally, Universal Music's Randy Kaplan has headlined children's shows at The Getty, as have acclaimed troubadour David Tobocman and two-time Grammy winner Bill Harley. The concert series is an intellectually stimulating way to introduce minors to musical majors.

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to

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