Save dough while you savor tunes at cool summer concerts

Who says there ain't no cure for the summertime blues? The most common cure: a summer festival. Join us as we climb in the Money College microbus and tour the country in search of cheap ways to enjoy some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Whether you're live in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago or Manchester, Tenn., there's a way to fist pump and sway with other sweaty bodies this summer without begging your parents for cash.

Los Angeles
In Santa Monica, Calif., Los Angeles' end-of-summer highlight marks a beach full of glow sticks and techno-beats that bounce across the night waves. The free event, Glow, will be held Saturday, Sept. 25 at Santa Monica Pier. It begins at dusk and ends with the sunrise.

Local artists submit project proposals for the event, and if chosen, incorporate the glow theme in their art. Glow first began in summer 2008 and featured glow-in-the-dark art, dancing on the pier and an orchestra performing on the only solar-powered Ferris wheel in the world, Pacific Wheel, inside free Pacific Park.

Nestled between L.A. high rises and a water court, California Plaza is a laid back location for downtown dwellers and the site for Grand Performances. This free series offers world music concerts. Performances take place both during the week and on the weekend.

New York
New Yorkers have more concert options than most folks in other parts of the country. Concert series throughout all the buroughs and along Long Island boast big names at reasonable prices. Here are some places where anyone can view just about any act: Central Park Summerstage, City Parks Events, River to River Concert Series, Martin Luther King Concert Series at Wingate Field, Seaside Concert Series Summer in The (Union) Square, Harlem Meer Events, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, JazzMobile Celebrate Brooklyn, 52nd Annual Washington Square Music Festival, JVC Jazz Festival Naumburg Orchestral Concerts, Jones Beach Amphitheater, Madison Square Park, Siren Festival, World Financial Center Concerts and NBC Today Show. Wow.

Central Park's Summerstage will announce its full summer lineup at the end of April. Until then, benefit concerts to support the free series now have tickets available to see the John Butler Trio with State Radio and Hot Chip. More bands, such as The Flaming Lips, The Black Keys and Pavement have already sold out for the benefit series.

One concert series with a full list is the 31st Annual Seaside Summer Concert Series, held on Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. at Asser Levy/Seaside Park, across the street from the New York Aquarium. Chairs are recommended for the series that includes Gladys Knight and The O'Jays, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Blondie, Pat Benatar and The Donnas, and Donna Summer.

In what seems more like neighborhood block party than a major indie music event, Pitchfork Music Festival pulls out all the stops. For $98, a Pitchfork three-day pass for July 16 to July 18 gives you access to Union Park's three stages and more than 20 bands, including Modest Mouse, Broken Social Scene, LCD Soundsystem, Panda Bear and Pavement. The three-day passes sold out on Ticketweb in a five-day flash, but day passes are still available for $40 each. For Saturday and Sunday shows, there are more than nine acts performing--which means you spend about $4.50 per performance.

Pitchfork Media's festival includes bike racks for locals and easy access by bus and train, making for a low-cost weekend.

Manchester, Tenn.
Southern comfort is what you pay for to see Weezer, The Flaming Lips and Tenacious D on a 700-acre farm. Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival takes place June 10-13 and boasts a lineup including Stevie Wonder, Dave Matthews Band, Phoenix, John Fogerty and Jay-Z. Comedians Conan O'Brien and Margaret Cho are also taking the stage as hosts and performers.

Festival organizers have college students in mind a payment plan option cheaper than university tuition and textbooks. The price was first offered at $234.50, but has sold out. The available price is now $249.50.

The unique catch is that the festival has a payment plan to reach the Manchester, Tenn. concert without breaking bank. The payment plan allows festival-goers to purchase a ticket initially for $28.90 and make five payments of $50.
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