Various venues; fringenyc.org; 8/18-24
Word on the street (and its website) says that the Fringe is the largest multi-arts festival in North America, running a little over two weeks, and with over 200 companies. The choices may seem daunting, but you can narrow fields by theme, locale, genre, and more with its site's handy “Slice-O-Matic” option. (We used it to find all the plays with puppets—that's where you'll find us.)
Full Moon Festival
Governors Beach Club, Governors Island; 8/8, 4 p.m.-midnight
Dance in the moonlight (until you get kicked out at midnight) on a man-made beach with a multi-genre lineup including Le Youth, Penguin Prison, and DeLorean and food options like Mile End and Tacombi. But beware: The full moon might be as powerful as they say it is.
Mad Decent Block Party
MCU Park , 1904 Surf Ave. at W. 19th St., Coney Island, Brooklyn; 8/9, 3 p.m.
Diplo’s Mad Decent record label shows you it cares by throwing a dance party on Coney Island, that's, well, mad decent. On the lineup: Diplo himself, the livetronica of Big Gigantic, the trap beats of Flosstradamus, and more. Also, it's Coney Island! So if you get bored, go ride the new Thunderbolt or something.
Prospect Park Bandshell, Prospect Park West at 9th St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 8/7-9
The summer-long Celebrate Brooklyn! festival will soon come to a close, but not without a few last hurrahs. On Thursday, traditional Irish combo Altan span folk and rock; on Friday, the Asian Dub Foundation performs a live score to George Lucas’s directorial debut THX 1138, with an additional performance by Taylor McFerrin. On Saturday, the ethereal Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, closes out the fest. All the events are free.
Seaport Music Festival
South Street Seaport, 19 Fulton St. at South St.; 212-732-8257; 8/8, 7 p.m.
The free, open-air festival by the sea (port) continues this Friday with the danceable rock-funk of Black Bananas, formed by Jennifer Herrema of Royal Trux. With Shockwave Riderz.
Rural Route Film Festival
Museum of the Moving Image (mostly), 35th Ave. at 36th St.; Long Island City, Queens; 718-784-4520; 8/8-10
Take a vacation from the city with this film festival, where you can rough it from the comfort of a venue with running water. Some events even have live music and guest chefs, like Natasha Pogrebinsky from Bear in Long Island City. Because that's how NYC does rural.
Mostly Mozart Festival: Mark Morris
David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Sq. at 66th St.; 212-870-5500; 8/6-9
Morris's newest piece, Acis and Galatea, takes on Handel, this time with Nicholas McGegan conducting the (live!) Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale.
Damrosch Park, 62nd St. at Amsterdam Ave.; 8/6-10
The inaugural free fest of down-home goodness celebrates the genre with some of its biggest stars, like Emmylou Harris, Cassandra Wilson, Rosanne Cash, Tift Merritt, and, for the blues lovers, Charles Bradley. They take over Damrosch Park in conjunction with Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and select shows will be live-streamed at LincolnCenter.org/watch. Bonus for those who feel the urge to party into the night: Hill Country hosts the after-party from August 6-9. Barbecue will be had.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 11101 Corona Ave. at 55th Ave., Corona, Queens; 718-760-6565; 8/9-10
Is it a dragon? Is it a boat? It's both! Highlights of the free, colorful, and kid-friendly festival include a parade at noon on Saturday and the U.S. Dragon Boat Open Championship Race on Sunday. Plus Shaolin monks and, of course, plenty of food options.