If we had to pick a theme for spring along the Crystal Coast, it would definitely involve music. Free concert series around the county begin in earnest, and two great music festivals draw crowds to waterfront towns.
Always a favorite, the Beaufort Music Festival returns to downtown Beaufort May 20-21 after two years outside of town. When road work forced organizers to bring the festival to the Beaufort Historic Site on Turner Street in 2015, a partnership was forged that will keep the popular two-day event close to the action. And hardcore fans will delight in the news that the festival is once again free to attend.
Beer, it seems, has saved the day. For the past two years, a free event was held on Friday and the main event on Saturday required a small ticket price. Last year, however, with the advent of beer sales, organizers found there is more than one way to raise the much-needed funds to hold the festival.
“We’re excited about it,” said board member John Hackney. “It’s a community event so we’re really glad to be back in the heart of the community, without having to take a drive or a trolley.
“There are certainly pros and cons to both places, but last year when we moved the festival to the historic site, we really liked the location and they were great to work with. It just makes sense to hold it there again.”
An additional stage featuring North Carolina bands will be located on Middle Lane and a children’s area will be manned through partnerships with the Tiller School and Beaufort Elementary.
Bands scheduled to perform include North Carolina favorites L-Shape Lot, Midatlantic, The Paper Stars, Beaufort Blues Project, Tan & Sober Gentlemen, Banditos and the Low Counts, who brought the crowd to their feet two years ago. Music runs from 5:30-10pm on Friday, May 20 and noon to 10pm on Saturday, May 21.
To learn more about the Beaufort Music Festival, visit beaufortmusicfestival.com.
While Beaufort is rocking and rolling, Atlantic Beach is hoping the third time is the charm as it unleashes its third Beach Music Festival on Saturday, May 21. The family friendly festival is held on the beach at the Circle from 11am to 6pm. Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets as they cozy up to the stage. But with plenty of great beach music on tap, we’re sure it will be challenging to get up and dance with area favorites.
John Moore serves as emcee as the Holiday Band, Band of Oz, the Fantastic Shakers and Mighty Saints of Soul bring take to the stage. The festival atmosphere will be enhanced with food and beer vendors along with T-shirts, hats and cozies to commemorate the event.
“The Circle location is an important part of our past, but it is also a critical part of our future,” said Mayor Trace Cooper. “Holding events like this at the Circle ensures that it will remain the heart of Atlantic Beach while we wait for the commercial redevelopment in area to take hold and once again make the Circle our downtown. One of the special things about the event is that we hold it on the beach along the Boardwalk. This is a natural place of beach music, but it is also the former location of The Pavilion which is an important part of our town’s history and the history of beach music. Some beach music historians believe that the shag was invented there.”
Leading up to the main festival, several events are slated that honor just that – Atlantic Beach and its place in shag and beach music history. On Saturday, May 14, a Jolly Knave Reunion is planned at Memories Beach Club and on Wednesday, May 18, the Doubletree by Hilton hosts a beach music celebration as part of the Chamber after Hours program.
During the festival, parking will be available at the Causeway Shopping Center, Doubletree by Hilton and Town Park, with free shuttle to and from the Circle/Boardwalk area every 30 minutes. Riders are only allowed one folding chair per person. Be sure to pack those dancing shoes!