6 Unique Options for Outdoor Music & Theater

By Jana Eisenberg

Published on | Last Updated

Once the good weather hits Buffalo, we get outside and stay outside. And our options for enjoying entertainment outdoors have expanded over the years. Here are just a few of the choices in the coming months:

Shakespeare in Delaware Park
Shakespeare in Delaware Park is a long-running, Buffalo tradition. A wooden stage is set at the bottom of “Shakespeare Hill;” the slope, part of the Frederick Law Olmsted landscape design, forms a natural spot from which to enjoy the shows (Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30 pm). Each season is comprised of a comedy and a drama. This year, it’s “King Lear” (June 21-July 15) and “Much Ado About Nothing” (July 26-August 19). Blankets only up close; chairs welcome further up. It’s BYO food and beverages. There’s no charge, and no tickets necessary. The actors roam the crowd at intermission and graciously accept donations. In case of rain, check Facebook or call 716-856-4533 after 6:30 p.m. the day of the performance to ensure it’s still scheduled. shakespeareindelawarepark.org


Shakespeare in Delaware Park

Torn Space Theater
Torn Space Theater describes its aesthetic and philosophy as drawing from the “leading edge of the global avant-garde.” It was founded by husband-and-wife Daniel Shanahan and Melissa Meola, with multiple aims of creating original performances and producing existing contemporary works. Torn Space emphasizes site-specific performances, and Silo City, Buffalo’s exciting use of former grain elevators as an outdoor arts venue, has proved inspirational. Tickets and more information at tornspacetheater.com.

Buffalo Infringement Festival
Buffalo Infringement Festival, now in its 15th annual iteration, is a multi-venue, grassroots endeavor committed to bringing together and offering to the public an eclectic range of independent, experimental, and controversial art, presented in disparate and sometimes unconventional venues. The festival welcomes all forms of art, including visual, performance, musical, and media arts. Festivalgoers check the schedule on-line for the latest updates – you might find yourself watching a performance in a bar, cafe, backyard, park or garage. Infringement takes place throughout the city, July 26 through August 5. No tickets required; each artist and venue sets its own prices, if any.


Infringement Festival

Canalside Live
Canalside has become a destination for locals and visitors alike, with recreation, art, food, drink and lake views. The waterfront attraction for all ages also hosts an array of live music acts beginning June 7 and then most Thursdays through August 17. This year, there is a charge at the gate – $5 for adults (children under 5 are free). There is a VIP ticket option for those 21 and over. Performers will include Method Man & Redman, Fitz & The Tantrums Father John Misty, and Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Full schedule available at canalsidebuffalo.com.

Elmwood Village Picnic in the Parkway
The wide, grassy center of Bidwell Parkway, also part of the Frederick Law Olmsted park system, is the lovely and accessible setting for this Tuesday evening series with a local flavor. This season will open on June 19 with the delightful Tom Stahl & the Dangerfields, and close with Neville Francis & the Riddim Posse. Elmwood Village, one of Buffalo’s prettiest and most walkable neighborhoods, plays host to loyal friends and neighbors, as well as visitors and newcomers. Food vendors and beverages are available; all sales support the Elmwood Village Association.


Elmwood Picnic in the Parkway

Larkinville, the revitalized former industrial area, is an urban destination for lovers of fun, food and music. Events include Food Truck Tuesdays, where live local bands perform while an array of food trucks round up to offer a smorgasbord of tasty treats to try. Live at Larkin offers music every Wednesday through Labor Day from acts like Wild Adriatic, The Tins, Buffalo Afrobeat Orchestra and New Orleans-themed music nights.

Jana Eisenberg headshot

Jana Eisenberg

Jana Eisenberg, a Buffalo-based writer and editor, loves eating, drinking, dancing, telling and hearing stories—not necessarily all at the same time or in that order. A Buffalonian by choice, she’s lived in Los Angeles and New York City.