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Punks in the Park: Free Summer Shows in New York City Start May 5

2 May 2023

InCircles at Maria Hernandez Park, 2022. Photo by Ejai.

Hot summer sidewalks giving way to solar winds at one million miles per hour brought to you in part by the loudest goddamn thing you’ll hear within a 10 mile radius. Oh, and some of the best bands and artists NYC has to offer.

It’s a fitting preview of what one can expect to hear emanating from New York City’s iconic parks this summer, as described by InCircles frontwoman Jewlee Trudden, co-creator of this season’s run of free outdoor shows. “It will be a cornucopia, nay, an amalgamation of camaraderie, dancing and singing. The occasional water-gun.” Having stood in the crowd at a number of park shows last summer, I can confirm the accuracy of her vision.

The series of free shows organized and led by members of InCircles, brings an eclectic mix of rock and punk bands to Washington Square, Tompkins Square, and Maria Hernandez Park. Last year’s lineup included crowd favorites PincLouds, No Grudges, and 95 Bulls. If those events are any indication, we can look forward to another season of exciting performances from the likes of TVOD, Desert Sharks, and Shred Flintstone.

InCircles, Jewlee Trudden, Ozzie Silva, Matt Middleton InCircles in Tompkins Square Park, 2022. Photo by Mike Borchardt.

The duo behind the park shows are Trudden – lead singer, guitarist, and the creative force behind InCircles’ music – and drummer Ozzie who recently started a non-profit music agency called Show Brain. Together they are a high-energy rock band with a punk rock flair and lyrics grounded in life’s darkest and lightest moments. Their most recent single “(Let Go Of) The Goddamn Bicycle” was released last month on all streaming platforms. Discussing the song’s content, Trudden shared: “It’s about making your own lane, not necessarily a bike one, just a regular one.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic, InCircles (along with bassist Matt Middleton) brought their live show to the streets of New York, joining the city’s underground network of hardworking buskers. The same entrepreneurship and skill developed over a year of entertaining audiences of jaded commuters is now channeled into creating successful shows in New York City’s public spaces. This year, they’ve partnered with Deli Mag and Trash Casual Records for two sponsored events. “With Show Brain and the collaborators we have this year, it’s only getting bigger and better,” said Trudden. “I’ve made an obscene amount of friends in the last two years. I know our friends and fans can say the same.”

Coming from the punk scene on Long Island, InCircles has a natural impulse to use music for community building. Their ethos of friendship over competition is what led Ozzie to create Show Brain through which he curates each lineup of accomplished local artists. “It really is a growing community,” said Trudden, “These shows have attracted humans of all ages and from all walks of life.” At a typical event, unsuspecting park-goers combine with devoted music fans, creating a diverse and energetic all-ages audience. As Trudden described: “It’s a unifying experience. It means that all of us have a place to go where we feel accepted and where we can let our guard down and just exist. Where we can dance and blow bubbles and just have a really bloody, awesome time.”

PincLouds PincLouds 2022, photo by Ozzie.

In order to drive one important point home, Trudden adds: “Did I mention they’re free? Because they’re free. FREE. FREE PARK SHOWS ALL SUMMER LONG. JOIN THE CVLT. I MEAN THE PARTY. JOIN THE PARTY. JOIN US.”

Not only are park shows free entertainment and a chance to support your local scene, who knows? Your new favorite band just might be up next.

Show Flyer Art by Jewlee Trudden Show Flyer Art by Jewlee Trudden

Catch the first show on May 5 – Cinco de Mayo – at 4:00 pm in Washington Square Park with Shred Flintstone (finalists in Our Wicked Lady’s 2022 Winter Madness Battle of the Bands) and grunge-pop outfit, Shadow Monster.

Check out InCircles and Show Brain’s social media for more details and updates on future events.

Upcoming Free Outdoor Shows:

May 5 – Washington Square Park – InCircles, Shadow Monster, Shred Flintstone

May 14 – Tompkins Square Park – InCircles, Jelly Kelly

June 10 – Tompkins Square Park – In collaboration with Deli Mag – Cult of Chunk, InCircles, Joudy, Slashers

June 25 – Maria Hernandez Park – InCircles, Jelly Kelly

July 8 – Maria Hernandez Park – Debbie Dopamine, Desert Sharks, InCircles, Kissed By An Animal

July 22 – Maria Hernandez Park – In collaboration with Trash Casual Records – Lineup: TBD

Aug 12 – Tompkins Square Park – Jessx, Namesake

Aug 20 – Maria Hernandez Park – InCircles, Shred Flintstone, TVOD

Oct 31 – Tompkins Square Park – Halloween Show – Lineup: TBD

More dates to be announced for September and October