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[whitespace] Fireworks Free for All

The summer offers plenty of chances to listen up--for nothing

By Heather Zimmerman

BOOMING ECONOMY or not-so-booming economy, everybody loves a freebie. And with concert ticket prices skyrocketing into the triple digits, the summer's free concerts and music events are really looking like the deal of the millennium. Here's a roundup of a few gratis events that offer anything but cheap thrills--but from truly the cheapest seats around.

Downtown San Jose's popular Metro's Music in the Park series has acquired its own prequel of sorts during the past couple of years, the series known as Music in the Other Park--though the Other Park series can stand so well on its own that it has already grown from one show in its first year, back in 1999, to four shows. Music in the Other Park takes place every Thursday, 5-8:15pm, June 7-28, at St. James Park, St. James and First streets, San Jose. Lineup is TBA.

The San Jose America Festival treats Fourth of July revelers to a whole day of festivities that include three stages of music and entertainment capped off by evening fireworks. The San Jose America Festival takes place July 4, beginning at 11am at Discovery Meadow, Woz Way and San Carlos Street, San Jose. (408.294.2100, ext. 444).

To kick off the America Festival, Mix 106 hosts a concert the night before the festival to benefit the Emergency Housing Consortium. The Bangles will headline the show. This prefestival party is not free, but it's still quite the bargain with a $10 cover charge that goes to raise funds for a good cause. The concert is held July 3, 4pm, also at Discovery Meadow.

Weekends usually start a day early when Metro's Music in the Park rolls around. To catch the show, attendance at the park itself isn't absolutely necessary--the strange acoustics of its location amplify the music for most of central downtown San Jose to enjoy (perhaps one of the nicest sounds of summer)--but it's way more fun to participate in the park's laid-back party atmosphere. Music in the Park takes place every Thursday, 5-8:15pm, from July 12-Sept. 6, at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez, Market and San Fernando streets, San Jose. Lineup is TBA.

Four days of free jazz on approximately a dozen stages sounds almost too good to be true, but for 12 years, the San Jose Jazz Festival has been jazzing up downtown San Jose each summer. The festival gears up with evening events during the week and then goes all out, with acts performing all day long on the weekend of Aug. 11-12. The 12th Annual AT&T San Jose Jazz Festival Presented by Southwest Airlines takes place Aug. 8-12 in venues throughout downtown San Jose. The San Jose Jazz Society will be announcing the festival lineup around the end of May.

Summer Music Guide

Crowd Control: Summer's best moments can still happen within the impromptu community of a crowd.

Critics Choice: Reviews of select upcoming music events.

Summer Sounds: A four-month planner for all the season's best concerts.

Venue Finder: Ticket and contact information.

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From the May 10-16, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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