The Show May Be Free, But Free Costs Money

This article is more than 12 years old.

The Boston Landmarks Orchestra performs at the Hatch Shell every Wednesday night from now through September. Last week, hundreds of people laid claim to parcels of grass along the Charles River. They had picnics and pizzas, but no ticket stubs, because the concert is free.

“It’s a great selling point,” said 22-year-old Elizabeth Olson of Somerville, who came with her father. “It’s made it a much easier decision to say, let’s just go for a Wednesday evening. Otherwise we I think we probably would’ve shied away from it.”

Rosalie Williams, who lives in Cambridge, agreed. She credits the economic downturn for her new-found enthusiasm over this free classical music series, and called it “a poor person’s Tanglewood.”

Free outdoor concerts, plays and films are plentiful, and popular, in Boston during the summer. Especially this summer. The price is right for people who’ve had to slash their entertainment budgets during the recession. But, as we all know, very few things in life are truly free. And the economic downturn is proving problematic for organizations that produce free entertainment.

This program aired on July 21, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Andrea Shea Twitter Senior Arts Reporter
Andrea Shea is WBUR's arts reporter.