I know some people hate to heat of summer, but I love it. I want to be outside all the time. Luckily one of the best things about New York City this time of year is free outdoor events. There’s at least one every day throughout the five boroughs, from now through September. Wanna find some great ones? Go through the City Parks Foundation and check out Summerstage.
I browsed the Summerstage calendar and saw the Indigo Girls, one of my all time favorite bands, was performing a free outdoor concert. Their music brings me back to summer road trips to Yosemite with my bffs and my sophomore year of college when my roommate and I titled our shared basement dorm room, “The Goddess Burrow”. It’s tight harmonies, wicked song writing, and love for my ladies. I was super excited to see them, especially in Central Park.
Indigo Girls in Central Park
For any free event in NYC, there’s going to be a line. I was lucky enough to get on the press list, so I asked people entering around the time the doors opened at 6PM.
“How long was the wait?” I questioned a couple women who were getting their bags checked by security.
“Oh, it wasn’t bad,” was the response. I’d later ask a group sitting front row center what time they had arrived: 3PM. So if you want to be one of the first people in line, yes, arrive early. Otherwise, coming straight from work seemed totally feasible.
The area closest to the stage was full of picnic blankets (but everyone stood up when the Indigo Girls came on. Bleacher seating was also available in the back, but a blanket or a towel on the astroturf was definitely the way to go. Unless you were a Summerstage member- then you got a VIP area under a tent and your first drink free. And the superior feeling of knowing you made the event free for everyone else! Drinks, both alcoholic and non, available for purchase. Food as well, if you couldn’t get it together to bring a picnic (definitely the way to go!).
No picnic blanket for me! I was in the press photo area! My camera looked pretty pathetic next to the super professional ones, but the other press people were nice and non-judgemental.
Lucy Wainwright Roche opened the event shortly after 7pm. She was very sweet, with a lovely singing voice, and certainly a similar vibe to the ladies we were all really there to see. A New York native, she was a great opener for this Central Park concert.
Then the Indigo Girls came on just after 8PM and just before sunset. I was so close to them! Had I felt compelled to take off my bra and throw it, I could’ve hit them even with my horrible aim!
That would’ve been super unprofessional though. I was trying really hard to look like a professional photographer, especially because I knew the whole audience was jealous of me and my picture-perfect location!
The set list was a perfect blend of classic hits and newer songs. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, the brilliant women who make up the Indigo Girls, know their audience.
“I wonder how many Smith grads there are in this crowd.” Overheard by me at this Indigo Girls concert. You could call that an Indigo Girls cliché. I fell in love with them while attending a liberal art, hippy college in Massachusetts too. I fit the bill.
The sun set and by the last third of the concert, rain began to fall. So many people stayed, so few people left. We all stood, sang along to “Power of Two”, and felt like undergrads again as more and more raindrops fell.
Getting soaked to the skin at an outdoor concert. Doesn’t get more magical than that. And you can’t leave an Indigo Girls concert before they play “Closer to Fine”, you just can’t!
“We’re not even going to pretend to go away and come back for an encore. We’re just gonna stay and play. You guys are so awesome for staying in the rain!
“Closer to Fine” was their penultimate song. They closed with Galileo. It was perfect.
I left with my shoes squishing with rainwater, completely soaked. I have no regrets! I’d do it again, even as a thirty-something (my decade-changer birthday is tomorrow!!!)
Get yourself to a Summerstage performance or two, or 25! I hope it’s as fun, but much more dry, than this experience was!