Free concerts NXNE 2013

10 free concerts and events at NXNE 2013

Free NXNE concerts are destined to leave a scent in the air. Do you know the smell? No, it's not summer per se; it's booze and bands and parties...And wristband plastic?

NXNE is once again descending on the city. Music wristbands are 60 bucks and tax, but there's nothing that says you have to drop a bunch of money to see some great live music. There's free events all over the city this week that'll let you experience some of the best bands working today in some really interesting settings.

This is obviously the big story here, with big draws guaranteeing big crowds... kind of throughout the festival, really. Ludacris is now set to headline Sunday June 16th after the previously-booked Big Boi had to bow out. SoCal punk heavyweights Social Distortion headline Thursday the 13th. The endearingly-introspective-and-scruffy The National are headlining on Friday, with their (equally scruffy) buddy Hayden opening at 7:30. Saturday's got the most performances, though, with Billy Talent going on at 9:00 and can't-miss acts including local favoritesMoon King and Teenage Kicks starting at 1pm.

ARTS & CRAFTS POP UP PERFORMANCE SERIES / 1093 Queen St West / June 12-15th, 5pm-2am
At the acclaimed record label's pop up shop (1093 Queen St West,) you can catch some great artists performing for free every day. The shows go every hour from 5pm to 2am, so you can basically make your way down whenever you're free and be guaranteed some great acts. There's great artists every night, but we recommend The Darcys at 9PM Wednesday, and the Thursday set is particularly interesting, featuring local rockers Pup as well as the enigmatic and magnetic electronic artist Digits.

YOUNG LION'S MUSIC CLUB LIVE IN BELLWOODS SERIES / Trinity Bellwoods Park, June 13th-16th, 4-7pm (Thursday-Friday) 2-6pm (Saturday-Sunday)
Since 2009, the Live In Bellwoods Great Heart Festival has been one of the best unknown parts of North By Northeast. With bands literally setting up on the grass under huge trees in the middle of the park, the sets provide great opportunities to escape the cramped confines of local bars and hang out in Trinity Bellwoods. Bands skew towards the indie side, so if that's your thing, strap on your Ray Bans and check it out. The lineup on Thursday is a knockout, with Maylee Todd — who we really like here — Kalle Mattson and Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, but there will be plenty of memorable performances every day.

Cousins, CTZNSHP and Weaves play sets to warm up the crowd at the Garrison before Hand Drawn Dracula's big event starts at 8.

IN-STORE PERFORMANCES / various locations, June 14th-15th
There are some great shows happening over the weekend at stores downtown this year. Check out the page for the full schedule, as they're kind of all over the place, but the lineup Saturday at Urban Outfitters features Decades, and Former NOW music editor and current twitter personality Ben Boles is playing 3-5 Friday at Lamography (536 Queen St West)

VICE HOT TAR PARTY / 360 Dufferin St. / June 15th, 4-9pm
Because it's Vice, because it's in a parking lot, and because it has some super-buzzy bands (including the unpronouncable Tonsstartsbandht) this would be a bad one to miss. Make sure you RSVP, though, or you'll be bounced right out of there.

AIRPORT SERIES / Pearson International, June13th-14th
If ever there was a reason to go to Pearson that didn't involve airplanes, this is it. On Thursday, Toronto's legendary instrumentalists Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet will play a set at 4pm in the arrivals hall at the airport. It's their only show of the fest, so... Maybe it's time to hop on the subway?

PARKS SERIES / various locations / all week
There's enough of these around that while you're wandering around this week you might be fortunate enough to accidentally hear some music, but there's some pretty heavy hitters that are going to be playing these as well. By Divine Right in the gazebo at St. James Park? (7pm Friday) Yes, please, I'll take two.

YOUNG, WILD & FREE / Grossman's Tavern / June 13th, 9pm
Grossman's Tavern, 379 Spadina Ave. Last Frame Pictures is debuting their new film "Authentic: Young Rival's Journey Through Canada" at 6:45 at the Bloor Cinema, and the fitting musical after party will feature sets by Young Rival themselves, plus Wildlife, Jane's Party, Pup (formerly Topanga), Quiet Company, and secret special guests. 19+.


NeXt by NXNE / Harbourfront Centre / June 15th-16th, 12pm - 6pm
Harbourfront Centre, Redpath Stage, 235 Queens Quay West. Here's something cute and family-friendly: NeXt will champion young bands (all musicians are under 18 years old) they believe are the future of the fest All ages (...duh).

Obviously, we didn't have the room to take down everything, so if you have any hot tips for anything we missed, let us know in the comments.

Photo Robert Loerzel on Flickr

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