Music-loving North Texans cherish this time of year because the temperatures are relatively agreeable (read: not face-melting), allowing the outdoor-concert season to kick into high gear.
I’m not only referring to the lawn masses at any given Gexa Energy Pavilion show. One can find plenty more casual (and sometimes free) options throughout May and June in Dallas proper and beyond.
Many of these events offer unique, beautiful surroundings and entertainment far more interesting than what you’ll find on the patio of your go-to bar. Here’s a look:
Big sounds in Big D
I’d be remiss if I didn’t first mention this weekend’s Homegrown Music and Arts Festival. For its sixth edition May 9 in Dallas’ downtown Main Street Garden Park, the Texas-friendly fest will welcome such headliners as Old 97’s, Spoon and Shakey Graves. I’ll have much more on Homegrown in this Friday’s Guide. homegrownfest.com
Every Thursday in May you can head over to the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Sammons Park space to take in free local music performances from up-and-coming area artists. This Thursday (May 7), the Chris Watson Band and soul singer Quentin Moore will take the stage starting at 6:30 p.m., and future headliners include Mayta, the O’s and Madison King. attpac.org/series/patio-sessions
The Nasher Sculpture Center also features local artists at a monthly program dubbed “‘Til Midnight.” The May 15 edition will pair a performance from folk group the Fox and the Bird; the band Quiet Company is set to perform June 19. nashersculpturecenter.org
If you want to hear soothing sounds while taking in the Dallas skyline as the backdrop, try the Barefoot at the Belmont concert series. Performers lined up for the next couple of months include Larry g(EE), soul legend Bobby Patterson and budding Fort Worth star Leon Bridges.
Mother Nature’s songs
The idea of a tribute band playing in a botanical garden may seem odd, but the Dallas Arboretum’s Cool Thursdays Concert Series consistently brings in lively all-ages crowds. This week’s (May 7) band is Escape, a local Journey tribute group, and future weeks offer takes on the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen and Buddy Holly. dallasarboretum.org
If you’re into the all-day festival experience, the inaugural DMD Fest brings a slew of local talents to stages to the Trinity River Greenbelt Park May 16 and 17. Among those scheduled to perform are the now-solo Jonathan Tyler, pop singer Jessie Frye, dance band Ishi and country band Somebody’s Darling. dmdfest.com
Beats in the ‘burbs
A few towns surrounding Dallas have their own summer concert series heating up parks and other outdoor spaces. Arlington has been bringing some fantastic free shows to its Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. Don’t miss Texas country dude Charlie Robison on May 24 or Houston soul group the Suffers May 28. Dallas singer Sarah Jaffe hits the stage there June 12. levittpavilionarlington.org
Other suburb soirees to check out: Irving brings cover bands to its Whistlestop Plaza twice a month, Lewisville offers a mix of performers every Tuesday in Wayne Ferguson Plaza and Frisco invites picnicking groups to its Simpson Plaza lawn every Saturday to enjoy live music.