How to Hit the Best Summer Concerts

How to find the best concerts-- and the best deals!

Not much beats hearing a live band on a hot summer's night. Well, assuming they're good. Here's how to sniff out summer music that's worth a schlep across town (or across country!).

Check Your Local Digs. For starters, check the racks at the entrance of local restaurants and shops for free papers covering local arts. These are usually chock full of concert listings, helping you find who's playing at random dive bars, wine bars, restaurant bars, tiki bars, and wherever else alcohol is served. (Let's face it -- all bands sound better with booze.) You may catch some fun up-and-comers on tour too -- like some locals that can seriously rock out.

Scan The Park. Your local parks may have some grooves up their sleeves. (Yes, really.) Check for summer symphony performances, open mic nights, outdoor concerts, and other fun local festivals.

Summer Festivals -- Road Trip, Baby! Speaking of festivals, check to find out where your favorite bands are playing this year.

Enter Contests. And now for a bit of shameless self-promotion: Every year gives away the hottest summer concert tickets for tour stops all across the country. Enter for tickets every Wednesday, when a new artist is revealed.

And The Obvious... Oh, come on. If Lady Gaga or Katy Perry is coming to town, you know it already. But if you're just plain clueless, read the listings in any newspaper. And glance at that billboard on your way to work. Or there's always Now rock on!