The Silver Creek Music Fest and Marketplace Concerts by the Fountain are two of Bakersfield's most popular summertime events, providing the family with a fun -- and free -- opportunity to get out and cut a rug.

Held every Tuesday and Thursday from June through August, the music showcases feature local bands specializing in everything from rock and blues, Celtic, reggae, old school and beyond. Take your pick, put together a picnic and relax. The Silver Creek Music Fest kicks off this Tuesday with the Latin ska sounds of Mento Buru (in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a member of the band).

The lush, spacious park at Silver Creek has plenty of room for a blanket or lawn chair. Beckoning to the kids is the nearby playground, which is within view of the concrete stage by the basketball courts. If you're driving to the park, there are limited parking spaces, but there's plenty of room on the street.

The annual Marketplace Concerts by the Fountain series has become a summer institution in Bakersfield. Held at the center of the outdoor shopping center's main court, the venue is surrounded by restaurants and places to grab any last-minute snacks and beverages. The giant water fountain is turned off during the shows, so you don't have to worry about obstructed views or noise.

Big band jazzy ensemble Chesterfield King will provide this season's opening downbeat on June 7. Every Thursday thereafter, listeners will be treated to even more eclectic fare suitable for cutting up the warm concrete or just sippin' sweet tea.

If you've never attended one of these popular concerts, early arrival is recommended. There are some grassy spots in and around the staging area where you can spread out a blanket, or you can try and grab a seat at the seating area before it fills up. I recommend bringing both a blanket and fold-out chair in your car, just in case.

All ages are welcome, but there are no designated play areas for the kids to frolic on their own. Finding a parking spot can be tricky, since the lot is shared with many businesses, but with a little patience and planning you should be tapping your toes in no time while you munch on some Chinese take-away or pizza pie under the stars.