2023 Free Summer Movies and Concerts

Enjoy toe tapping music and box office hits this summer in Santa Cruz County! Free concerts and movies by the beach, music in the park, and more, are waiting to take a spot on your summer schedule! The whole family will love these events, so get your calendar out and start planning your summer fun in Santa Cruz County!

And scroll to the bottom of this blog for even more great live music this summer! Although not free, these are concerts you don’t want to miss!


There’s nothing like watching your favorite movies right on the beach with the smell of kettle corn, corn dogs, and saltwater taffy filling the air! The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is welcoming back Movies on the Beach in front of the Colonnade near Neptune’s Kingdom. Bring the family and your blanket or low-back chair. Movies at the Beach are on Fridays beginning at 9 pm from June 16 – August 11, 2023. See the full movie lineup below:

  • June 16, 2023: The Lost Boys
  • June 23, 2023: Mamma Mia!
  • June 30, 2023: Space Jam
  • July 7, 2023: Labyrinth
  • Jul 14, 2023: Selena
  • July 21, 2023: Minions: The Rise of Gru
  • July 28, 2023: Top Gun: Maverick
  • August 4, 2023: Shrek
  • August 11, 2023: The NeverEnding Story


Enjoy free live music on Thursdays throughout the summer at the Beach Boardwalk’s Colonnade Stage; located beach-side of Neptune’s Kingdom. Rock out to Bay Area bands while you enjoy a variety of Boardwalk treats. Colonnade Deck picnic table seating is very limited and first-come-first-served. There will be a dance area in front of the stage. Concerts are from 8:30 pm – 10 pm every Thursday from June 15 – August 10, 2023. See the band lineup below:

  • June 15, 2023: Sang Matiz
  • June 22, 2023: Men in Black
  • June 29, 2023: Extra Large
  • July 6, 2023: Fast Times
  • July 13, 2023: Santa Cruda
  • July 20, 2023: Tsunami Band
  • July 27, 2023: The Deadlies
  • August 3, 2023: 4to Prestigio
  • August 10, 2023: Pacific Roots


Each Summer on Thursday evenings, the Crow’s Nest offers its Summer Beach Party series with fun and funky live entertainment right on the beach. The party starts at 5:30 pm each week and goes until sunset. With live entertainment on the outdoor beach stage and Crow’s Nest’s famous BBQ and outdoor bar, beach parties are a unique and popular event. Families are welcome, and there is no admission charge! After the sun sets the fun begins upstairs with dancing to the best of local live bands beginning at 8:30 pm with only a $5 cover charge.

For the beach parties, parking is very limited. Walk, ride a bike, get dropped off, take a cab or ride the bus, but leave the car at home. If you must drive, please do not park in local neighborhoods or on private property. Thank you!

  • May 25, 2023: Sambada / The Tap Handles
  • June 1, 2023: The Lost Boys / Big Bad Wolf
  • June 8, 2023: Matt Mash & The Messengers / Afrohilife
  • June 15, 2023: The Cruzers / Rusty Rock n’ Roll
  • June 22, 2023: Hall Pass / Fuse
  • June 29, 2023: Fishhook / Cake by the Ocean
  • July 6, 2023: Extra Large / Sasha’s Money
  • July 13, 2023: Live Again / The Cruzers
  • July 20, 2023: Izzy & The Haze / Matt Mash & The Messengers
  • July 27, 2023: Soulwise / Skypark
  • August 3, 2023: The Houserockers / Big Bad Wolf
  • August 10, 2023: The Joint Chiefs / Spun
  • August 17, 2023: John Michael Featuring Dylan Rose / The Dylan Rose Band
  • August 24, 2023: The Leftovers / Papiba & Friends
  • August 31, 2023: Sambada / Sweet Voodoo


Popular local bands rouse fun-loving crowds on Wednesday evenings in the Capitola Village. The free Twilight Concert Series features everything from classic rock to funk to dance hits and Latin fusion. All concerts are 6pm – 8 pm and take place at the Esplanade bandstand with ocean views in the picturesque Capitola Village. Enjoy the performance from your own low-back chair on the beach or grab an outside table at one of the village restaurants. 

  • Wednesday, June 14, 2023: Jive Machine
  • Wednesday, June 21, 2023: Dirty Cello
  • Wednesday, June 28, 2023: Tsunami
  • Wednesday, July 5, 2023: The Alex Lucero Band
  • Wednesday, July 12, 2023: Ribsys Nickels
  • Wednesday, July 19, 2023: The Joint Cheifs
  • Wednesday, July 26, 2023: Pacific Roots
  • Wednesday, August 2, 2023: Delta Wires
  • Wednesday, August 9, 2023: Extra Large
  • Wednesday, August 16, 2023: Billy Martini Show
  • Wednesday, August 23, 2023: Everyday People
  • Wednesday, August 30, 2023: Digbeats


Enjoy an afternoon in Capitola at the Sunday Art at the Beach event this summer at Esplanade Park overlooking the Monterey Bay. Browse quality artwork, including painting, photography, sculpture, jewelry, and mixed media from local artists. This family-friendly event is free and open to the public.

  • June 25, 2023
  • July 30, 2023
  • August 13, 2023


Capitola wraps up summer with a few Fridays of free family movies at Esplanade Park. Bring a picnic dinner or dine locally at area restaurants. Low-back chairs, blankets, and jackets are recommended. No alcohol or dogs on the beach.

  • August 25, 2023: Super Mario Brothers
  • September 1, 2023: Lyle Lyle Crocodile


The Santa Cruz Wharf is presenting a Summer Concert Series every 2nd Tuesday of the month from May – September! Join them for live music, games, Wharf business pop-ups, photo booths and more from 6pm to 8pm.

  • May 9, 2023: The Lost Boys featuring James Durbin
  • June 13, 2023: Extra Large
  • July 11, 2023: The Joint Cheifs
  • August 8, 2023: Sweet VooDoo
  • September 12, 2023: Jive Machine
Midtown Fridays Summer Block Party


Come Celebrate all the vibrancy of Midtown at our Summer Block Party, happening every Friday! Food – Artists – Live Music – Vendors! The summer series of free events will feature the talents of 30+ local bands. In addition to live music, event goers will enjoy a selection of local eats as well as the opportunity to check out the work of local artists and vendors. Midtown Fridays starts June 2nd and runs through to September 29th. Midtown Friday Summer Block Parties are located at Midtown Square, 1111 Soquel Ave, in Santa Cruz, beginning at 5pm and going until 8:30ish.

  • June 2nd: Broken English w/opener Soquel High Jazz Band
  • June 9th: The Neverland Band w/opener Shoreline Middle School “Summer Band”
  • June 16th: James Durbin & The Lost Boys w/opener Coffee Zombie Collective
  • June 23rd: Ribsys Nickel w/opener Joshua Cremer
  • June 30th: Afrobeats Nite Santa Cruz w/opener Carolyn Sills Duo
  • July 7th: Ancestree w/opener Hijinx
  • July 14th: The Rayburn Brothers
  • July 21st: Dirty Cello
  • July 28th: Alex Lucero Band w/opener Asher Stern
  • August 4th: The Dylan Rose Band w/opener Maddie & Jackie
  • August 11th: Santa Cruda w/opener Yaya’s Kitchen
  • August 18th: Mak Nova
  • August 25th: Cowboy’s After Dark w/opener Corrina & Rick
  • September 1st: The Joint Chiefs
  • September 8th: Locomotive Breath
  • September 15th: Funkranomicon
  • September 22nd: AC Myles
  • September 29th: The Expendables


Presented by the City of Watsonville, Music in the Plaza Concert Series! The summer outdoor Music in the Plaza concert series is back and will feature a variety of bands to help you get your groove on! Grab a bite at our downtown restaurants and join us for the music from 6 pm – 8 pm.

  • June 16, 2023
  • July 7, 2023
  • July 21, 2023
  • August 4, 2023
  • August 18, 2023
  • September 1, 2023


The “Music at Skypark” concert series in Scotts Valley returns for its 14th season on the last Sundays of August and September! Kiwanis and local businesses will offer food, wine, beer and other concessions for sale. Concerts run from 2:30 to 6:00.

  • Sunday, August 27, 2023: Wolf Jett (1:30pm-3pm); Sambada (3:30pm-5pm)
  • Sunday, September 24, 2023: Elisabeth Carlisle Band (12pm-1pm); Arena (1:30pm-3pm); The Joint Chiefs (3:30pm-5pm)


Join Bargetto Winery’s creekside courtyard in Soquel on Thursday evenings for Live Music and Wine! There is no cover charge and wine by the glass and light snacks are available for purchase. Each week Bargetto features a new local band (see schedule below). Reservations are required and they ask that you call the Sunday/Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday prior to that week’s performance to make your reservation. Reservations: (831) 475-2258 ext. 14

  • May 4, 2023: Alex Lucero
  • May 11, 2023: B Movie Kings
  • May 18, 2023: Matt Masih
  • May 25, 2023: 7th Wave
  • June 1, 2023: Alex Lucero
  • June 8, 2023: Ted Welty
  • June 15, 2023: 10 O’Clock Lunch Band
  • June 22, 2023: The Paperback Ryders
  • June 29, 2023: Beach Cowboys
  • July 6, 2023: Alex Lucero
  • July 13, 2023: Ripatti & Rose
  • July 20, 2023: D’oh Bros
  • July 27, 2023: Next Blues Band
  • August 3, 2023: Alex Lucero
  • August 10, 2023: Santa Cruda
  • August 17, 2023: The Paperback Ryders
  • August 24, 2023: Beach Cowboys
  • August 31, 2023: 10 O’Clock Lunch Band
  • September 7, 2023: Alex Lucero
  • September 14, 2023: Hallpass
  • September 21, 2023: Matt Masih

Not Free, But Not-To-Miss Summer Concert Series

Nashville Nights at Chaminade Resort

Nashville Nights at Chaminade Resort

Ranch 1917 and Chaminade Resort are bringing Nashville to Santa Cruz! Get up close and personal with some of Nashville’s hottest musical acts. Experience an intimate concert while watching the sunset over Monterey Bay. These have been a total hit and should definitely make your summer bucket list!