We're always excited that the first round of big events along the Crystal Coast each year brings 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 18-19 for its 30th year. The festival, now held at the shady 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 Matt Walsh & the Movers, Kate Rhudy, L Shape Lot, Laura Blackley & the Wildflowers and Town Mountain on Friday evening. On Saturday, watch out for Arson Dailey, Violet Bell, Leah Blevins, Brothers Egg, Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba, Caroline Dare, Laura Reed, Ellis Dyson & the Shambles, Devon Gilfillian, Lyric and Seratones.
From funk to blues to country and bluegrass, the acts span the spectrum of musical genres, and some break down those barriers. Be sure to check musical guests booked at bars around town, as they usually pick up where the festival leaves off on both Friday and Saturday, making a weekend full of opportunities to hear great music.
No outside alcohol will be allowed, however, beer and wine will be available on site along with food options. A children's area will be set up during the day on Saturday. For a full schedule, visit beaufortmusicfestival.com.
Also on Saturday, May 19, music lovers 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. Grab your favorite beach chair, a towel in case you want to take a dip and dig your toes into the sand for a day full of fun and classic entertainment.
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.
Toward the end of the month, several of the area's summer concert series kick off as summer nears.
On Friday, May 25, be sure to swing by Fort Macon State Park for an awe-inspiring performance on the fort's parade deck. The concerts, which begin at 6:30pm, see guests choosing a spot of grass around the top of the historic fort and enjoying great views of Beaufort Inlet. The opening concert welcomes the Carteret Sunshine Band.
The Morehead City Parks and Recreation's annual Concert in the Park series begins on Saturday, May 26 with a performance by the West Carteret High School Jazz Band. Each Saturday from 7 to 8:30pm, musical performances are offered at Jaycee Park on the Morehead City waterfront. The relaxed waterfront setting allows visitors to enjoy the music from land and by sea.
On Sunday, May 27, catch the first installment of the annual SwanFest series, which holds musical performances each Sunday through September at Old Towne Square in downtown Swansboro. Opening the season from 6:30-8pm is Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot.
Additional concert series begin in June, including Alive at Five, which presents music on a handful of Fridays each summer at 5pm at Jaycee Park (June 1 & 15) and EmeraldFest at the Western Ocean Beach Access in Emerald Isle most Thursday evenings beginning June 7.