We're always excited that the first round of big events along the Crystal Coast each year bring the opportunity to take in great some live music. From much loved traditional beach music to something little more funky, it's time to dust off those dancing shoes in preparation for the upcoming music festivals and performances.
Always a favorite, the Beaufort Music Festival returns May 19-20 for its 29th event in this picturesque seafront town. The festival, now held at the Beaufort Historic Site on Turner Street and cozy Middle Lane, provides a great opportunity to enjoy rousing sets of free music over the course of two days. Things kick off around 4pm on Friday, May 19, and run from 11am to 10pm on Saturday, May 20.
This year's lineup includes Big Sam's Funky Nation, The Low Counts, Muddy Magnolias, Polyrhythmics, Elise Davis, Kristin Diable, Quiet Hollers, L-Shape Lot, Dark Water Rising, Frederick the Younger, Blue Cactus, Carolina Dare, 4EverAll and Sarah Shook & the Disarmers.
From funk to blues to country and bluegrass, the acts span the spectrum of musical genres, and some break down those barriers.
Ones to watch include Louisville, Kentucky-based Quiet Hollers. Tagged alternative country, the deeply thoughtful melodic narratives are anything but mainstream, making it hard to pigeonhole the band into a genre. Our favorite of their released tracks is "Mont Blanc" which is described by the band as a post-apocalyptic love song – certainly a leap from traditional country playlists.
Also be on the lookout for Frederick the Younger, with lead singer Jenni Cochran's smooth 1960s vibe; The Low Counts, an impressive duo returning for their fourth BMF appearance; and L-Shape Lot, a local favorite from Wilmington who always draws a crowd.
No outside alcohol will be allowed, however, beer and wine will be available on site along with food options. A children's area will set up during the day on Saturday. For a full schedule, visit beaufortmusicfestival.com.
On Saturday, May 20, music lovers with have a second option for great free music. The Atlantic Beach Beach Music Festival brings classic shagging music to the shoreline. From 11am to 6pm, the beach will fill with beach music enthusiasts to watch Jim Quick & Coastline, Fantastic Shakers, Band of Oz and the Mighty Saints of Soul perform.
“The Circle location is an important part of our past, but it is also a critical part of our future. 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,” said Atlantic Beach Mayor Trace Cooper.
Parking is available at the Causeway Shopping Center, Doubletree by Hilton and Carteret Community College with a free shuttle running every 30 minutes. Coolers are welcome, however, guests are advised to leave glass containers at home along with their pets. Food and beer vendors will also be available on-site.
On Saturday, June 3, Atlantic Beach is back in the spotlight as the site of the Crystal Coast Music Festival headlined by Christian rock band from South Carolina Needtobreathe. Supporting acts include Dr. Dog, Shovels & Rope, Bombadil, Los Colognes and Rebekah Todd & the Odyssey.
“On the heels of an exceedingly successful and energetic inaugural music festival, we’re delighted to welcome avid sun-seekers and music lovers alike for a spirited new concert tradition,” said Karen Gould, director of digital and event marketing for the Crystal Coast Tourism Development Authority. She noted that more than 2,500 fans attended the first event in 2016.
Tickets are $30, plus fees, for general admission and a limited number of VIP tickets are available with preferred entry, a dedicated viewing area, lounge, restrooms and other amenities. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.crystalcoastmusicfest.org.
Beyond the music festivals, the region is home to a variety of summer music series. Downtown Morehead City Revitalization’s Alive at Five program holds concerts two Fridays a month at Jaycee Park on the Morehead City waterfront and begin at 5pm. Also using Jaycee Park as the backdrop is the Morehead City Parks and Recreation Dept., which holds a concert each Saturday night through August. The Friends of Fort Macon bring music to the fort at 7pm on various Fridays evenings throughout the summer. At the other end of Bogue Banks, Emerald Isle’s EmeraldFest music series takes full advantage of those ocean breezes at the Western Ocean Regional Beach Access. Music runs from 6:30-8pm each Thursday through mid-August. And neighboring Swansboro holds its own concert series, aptly named SwanFest, from 6:30-8pm Sunday evenings through September.