Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Outdoor concert guide: More than 100 (mostly free) summer shows in tri-county region

Concert goers gather at Oak Island as part of their Bands by the Beach series, which runs from May through September. at Middletown Park Amphitheater. (Courtesy photo)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Every summer, area beach towns and municipalities, local organizations and businesses, host plenty of shows outdoors to attract concert-goers at the height of tourist season.

Local and cover bands mainly make up the municipality rosters. Two downtown businesses are bringing back plenty of tribute acts — bands that recreate an entire persona of musicians — to keep the nostalgia flowing. And there is plenty of original music being featured by local and regional acts, too.

Port City Daily has individually been listing the mostly free concerts as they are announced since the beginning of the year. But as Memorial Day approaches and the warm-weather season really kicks off, we decided to put them all in one place for easy accessibility throughout the summer.

Listings below are separated by “free” and “paid,” with the former making up the bulk. However, some series, such as the shows at Airlie Gardens or Bellamy Mansion as hosted by Cape Fear Jazz Society, are ticketed events.

Also included are Live Nation’s outdoor concerts, featuring national acts touring at its two Wilmington amphitheaters; each show is individually priced. PCD will update the LN shows as they continue to be announced through the end of its season, October.

Free Concerts

Boardwalk Blast at Carolina Beach

Each summer from Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Town of Carolina Beach hosts fireworks and live music every week. Shows take place at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk on Thursdays (unless otherwise noted) from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; fireworks start at 9 p.m.

Friday, May 26: Jack Jack 180 (dance party)
June 1: Polar Bear Blues Band (blues)
June 8: Uptown Easy (ultimate dance party)
June 15: Down South Thunder (modern country-rock)
June 22: FEEBS (Blues, classic rock, funk)
June 30: Carl Newton Review (R&B, soul)
July 6: The British Invaders (’60s British tribute)
July 13: Pleasure Island and Cancel (rock, R&B, funk)
July 20: Jim Quick & Coastline (Carolina swamp soul, beach music)
July 27: Bibis Ellison (classic, current hits)
Aug. 3: Justin Cody Fox Band (blues, country, rock)
Aug. 10: Kenny Reeves and Trainwreck (classic Southern rock)
Aug. 17: Blackwater Rhythm & Blues Band (beach music)
Aug. 24: Will McBride Group (rock, funk, blues, jazz)
Friday, Sept. 1: The Main Event (beach, classic rock)

Burgaw’s Summer on Square

All shows are free and take place Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. Food trucks are parked on site for each event, including dessert trucks. Picnics are welcome — just no alcohol. Attendees can also bring blankets and chairs; pets should be kept at home.

June 1 — Gary Lowder and Smokin’ Hot (beach music, R&B, soul)
Food trucks are Forks ‘n’ Motion and Pepe’s Tacos

June 15 — Rivermist (’70s to 2000s hits)
Food trucks are Top Dog Hotdogs and Fusion Blue Zone Cuisine

June 29 — Carl Newton’s Review (Top 40, R&B, and soul)
Food trucks are Webo’s and Somethin’ Good

July 13 — Bacon Grease (’90s, soul, reggae)
Food trucks are to Southern Roots and The Sea Queen

July 27 — Blackwater Band (Top 40, blues, country, and funk)
Food trucks are Top Dog Hotdogs and Mema’s Chicken and Ribs

Calabash Summer Concert Series

Concerts take place 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at Calabash Town Park, 868 Persimmon Rd. Food trucks including Kona Ice, Dixieland Kettle Corn, and the popular Calabash Hot Dogs will be on site. Chairs and blankets welcome.

June 6 — Band of Oz (Motown, beach)
June 20 — Too Much Sylvia (’70s-’90s, rock, Top 40, hip-hop, Motown)
June 27 — The Entertainers (beach, R&B, rock, country)
July 4 — The Embers with Craig Woolard (beach, Motown)
July 18 — The Extraordinaires (’70s-’90s, dance, Motown, beach)
July 25 — Chocolate Chip & Company (R&B, soul, funk, classic rock)
Aug. 1 — Southside Saints (classic rock)
Aug. 15 — Thomas Road Band (bluegrass, rock)

Eagle’s Dare First Concert Friday

Takes place at Eagle’s Dare, located at the corner of Red Cross and Third streets in Wilmington, 6 p.m. Free to attend; no blankets, chairs or outside food and drinks allowed.

May 26 — Cowboy (Kid Rock tribute), with Mark Sinnis and 825 (alt. rock, country)
June 2 — Dr. Bacon (Appalachian funk rock), with Churchyard Ghost
June 9 — Jared Pettey’s + the Headliners, with The Phantom Playboys (rockabilly)
June 16 — Same As It Ever Was (Talking Heads tribute), The Swellians (surf, garage rock)
June 23 — Silence and Light (hard rock), Shallow Signals (heavy alternative rock)
June 30 — Striking Copper (rock), with Justin Fox Band (blues)
July 7 — Driskill (country), with MOFU (pop, rock, blues)
July 14 — Bibis Ellison Band (soul covers), with Pleasure Island (surf deprecating loungecore)
July 21 — Rebekah Todd (rock), with Brown Dirt Cowboys (rock, pop, covers)
July 28 — Signal Fire (reggae), with Michael Eakins (pop)

Hampstead Alive After Five

Four free concerts take place from May through July 6:30 p.m. at Hampstead Kiwanis Park, 586 Sloop Point Loop Rd. Attendees can bring blankets and chairs, and there will be food trucks on site. No pets or alcohol allowed.

May 19 — Carl Newton’s Review (R&B, funk, soul, Motown)
June 9 — Chocolate Chip & Company (R&B, soul, funk, classic rock)
June 30 — North Tower Band (disco, funk, rock)
July 21 — Heartstop (Modern rock, classic rock, blues, country)

Holden Beach Concert Series

Taking place on Sundays from May through September, Holden Beach hosts free concerts 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the pavilion under the Holden Beach bridge.

May 28 — The Extraordinaires (’70s-’90s, dance, Motown, beach)
June 4 — Continental Divide (classic rock, country, pop, blues)
June 11 — The Main Event Band (beach, classic rock)
June 18 — Cat 5 Band (Top 40, classic rock, country)
June 25 — The Embers (Motown, beach)
July 2 — The Tams (Motown, beach)
July 9 — Chairman of the Board (Motown, beach)
July 16 — The Entertainers feat. Craig Woolard (beach, R&B, rock, country)
July 23 — Band of Oz (Motown, beach)
July 30 — Blackwater Band (Top 40, blues, country, funk)
Aug. 6 — Jim Quick and Coastline (beach, blues, country, Southern rock)
Aug. 13 — Too Much Sylvia (’70s-’90s, rock, Top 40, hip-hop, Motown)
Aug. 20 — Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot (beach music, R&B, soul)
Aug. 27 — Carolina Kool (beach, jazz, oldies)
Sept. 3 — North Tower Band (Top 40, funk, oldies)

Kure Beach Boogie in the Park

Beach chair or blankets welcome for free, live music by the sea on the first and third Sunday of the month, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., May through October. There will not be a concert July 4th or Labor Day weekends.

June 4 — Uptown Easy (dance party band)
June 18 — Randy McQuay (blues and roots)
July 16 — ReSoul Band (soul, R&B, dance)
Aug. 6 — David Dixon (pop, rock, soul)
Aug. 20 — Da Howlies (Southern fried Hawaiian)
Sept. 17 — Folkstone Stringband (bluegrass)
Oct. 1 — The Holiday Band (Southern, soul, beach)
Oct. 15 — No Regretz (classic rock)

Mayfaire Sunset Music Series

Takes place in front of Regal Cinemas on Wednesdays in June and July, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. No pets or alcohol allowed.

June 7 — Riff Tide NC (rock covers)
June 14 — The Graes (folk/pop duo)
June 21 — Jeremy Mathews (Americana)
June 28 — School of Rock House Band (rock ‘n’ roll)
July 5 — Jenny Lynn Vaugh (country)
July 12 _ Sam Hatch (variety of genres)

Marina Grill’s Friday Night Live!

Marina Grill and the Pier at Port City Marina feature Friday Night Live in June and July, featuring seven cover bands, playing 6:30 p.m. on show nights. On Saturday, they feature local and regional acts from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

June 2 — Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones)
June 9 — Slippery When Wet (Bon Jovi)
June 23 — 20 Ride (Zac Brown Band)
July 7 — Breakfast Club (’80s music)
Aug. 4 — Tuesday’s Gone (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Aug. 11 — Troubadour (’70s)
Aug. 25 — Guardians of the Jukebox (MTV hits)
Sept. 1 — Departure (Journey)

Oak Island Bands by the Beach

Fifteen free concerts are planned to take place Fridays (unless otherwise listed) at the Middleton Park Complex Amphitheater, May through September, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Blankets, chairs, picnics welcome.

May 26 — Blackwater Band (Top 40, blues, country, funk)
June 2 — Christine Martinez Band (pop, R&B)
June 9 — Autumn Tyde (Oldies, R&B, beach, rock, country)
June 16 — Old Man Mafia Band (Blues, classic rock)
June 23 — The Entertainers (Beach, R&B)
July 2 — Carl Newton’s Review (Top 40, R&B, soul)
July 7 — Chocolate Chip & Co. (R&B, soul, funk, classic rock)
July 14 — Rivermist (Party band, hits from ’70s to 2000s)
July 21 — Too Much Sylvia (’70s-’90s, rock, Top 40, hip-hop, Motown)
July 28 — The Sand Band (Motown, beach and shag music, disco, classic rock, blues)
Aug. 4 — The Powell Brothers (Texas-based country band)
Aug. 11 — The Embers featuring Craig Woolard (Beach and shag, R&B, pop)
Aug. 18 — Carolina Line Bluegrass Band (Bluegrass, Americana)
Aug. 25 — Back Porch Rockers (Rock, R&B)
Sept. 2 — The Main Event Band (R&B, soul, beach, country, funk)

Ocean Isle Beach

Taking place on Fridays from May through September, Ocean Isle hosts free concerts in its Town Center Park, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Blankets, chairs, picnics welcome.

May 26 — The Tonez (beach, R&B, classic rock, country, Top 40)
June 2 — Uptown Easy Band (ultimate dance party)
June 9 — The Magnificents (dance, R&B, Motown)
June 16 — Special Occasion Band (beach, oldies)
June 23 — Band of Oz (beach, Motown)
June 30 — Blackwater Band (Top 40, blues, funk, country)
July 7 — The Main Event Band (R&B, soul, beach, country, funk)
July 14 — The Entertainers (beach, R&B, rock, country)
July 21 — Chocolate Chip & Company (R&B, soul, dance)
July 28 — Too Much Sylvia (beach, funk, ’70s-’80s, Motown)
Aug. 4 — North Tower Band (Top 40, funk, oldies)
Aug. 11 — Gary Lowder and Smokin’ Hot (beach music, R&B, soul)
Aug. 18 — Continental Divide (classic rock, country, pop, blues)
Aug. 25 — Cat 5 Band (Top 40, classic rock, country)
Sept. 1 — The Extraordinaires (’70s-’90s, dance, Motown, beach)

Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar

Every summer, Carolina Beach’s Ocean Grill and Tiki bar hosts live shows, featuring local and regional bands, mostly playing original tunes. Shows take place on Thursdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., on the pier overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

June 15 — Da Howlies (Hawaiian, surf)
June 22 — Tonk (country)
June 29 — Lauds (alternative rock)
July 13 — The Paper Stars (indie rock, blues)
July 20 — Birdwell Beat (surf, garage rock)
July 27 — Kicking Bird (pop, rock)
Aug. 3 — The Old Ceremony (pop noir)
Aug. 10 — Summer Set (indie rock)
Aug. 17 — The Shoaldiggers (ancient, wild sounds)
Aug. 24 — CoverLip (rock covers)


The 1,400 development on River Road hosts free concerts in the Marina Village, 109 Pier Master Point, this summer. Chairs and blankets are welcome; food trucks will be on site as well.

June 24 — Beatlesque (Fab Four cover band)
July 22 — Spare Change (classic rock, funk, country, rap)
Aug. 26 — Uptown Easy (R&B, soul)

Sunset Beach Concert Series

Lawn chairs, blankets and picnics are welcome to Sunset Beach’s Town Center Park, 206 Sunset Blvd. North. The shows take place on Wednesdays, June through August, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

June 7 — The Entertainers (beach, R&B, rock, country)
June 14 — North Tower Band (Top 40, funk, oldies)
June 21 — Jukebox Rehab (rock, country)
June 28 — Blackwater Band (Top 40, blues, funk, country)
July 5 — Too Much Sylvia (beach, funk, ’70s-’80s, Motown)
July 12 — Julio and the Saltines (classic rock)
July 19 — Chocolate Chip & Company (R&B, soul, dance)
July 26 — Southern Trouble (classic rock, country)
Aug. 2 — Cat 5 Band (Top 40, classic rock, country)
Aug. 9 — Jan Michael Fields Band (classic rock, modern hits)
Aug. 16 JB & the Get Down Browns (beach, classic rock, disco)
Aug. 23 — The Tonez (beach, R&B, classic rock, country, Top 40)
Aug. 30 — The Extraordinaires (’70s-’90s, dance, Motown, beach)

Topsail Sounds

Lawn chairs welcome to enjoy free live music on Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. once a month through August. Shows take place at Topsail Beach Town Center, 624 S. Anderson Blvd.

June 27 — JT Parrothead
July 25 — The Cruise Brothers
Aug. 22 — Dos Eddies

WECT’s Sounds of Summer

Takes place at Wrightsville Beach Park, Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Picnic, lawn chairs, blankets, and coolers are welcome, but no alcohol is allowed.

June 15 — Overtyme Band (rock ‘n’ roll)
June 22 — ReSoul Band (dance / party band)
June 29 — Southern Trouble (contemporary country/Southern rock/blues)
July 6 — Jack Jack 180 (pop and rock)
July 13 — Loud Music Company (pop, rock, country, soul, funk)
July 20 — Brown Dirt Cowboys (covers, Americana/rock)
July 27 — The Cruise Brothers (Motown/county)
August 3 — No Regretz (classic rock, blues)

Paid Concerts

Airlie Gardens

Concerts are held the first and third Friday of the month. Blankets and lawn chairs are welcome, as are picnics. Tickets are $10 per adult and $3 per child (4-12), on sale the Monday two weeks before each show.

June 2 — TripleWide featuring local artist Brett Johnson (rock/jazz/blues/funk)
June 16 — ReSOUL (dance/party, ’70s through today)
July 7 — Motel Soap (’70s -’80s pop/rock)
July 21 — Jim Quick & the Coastline (soul/blues/R&B/Americana)
Aug. 11 — Bibis Ellison (pop/covers)
Aug. 18 — Brown Dirt Cowboys (rock/Americana, originals and covers)
Sept. 1 — Signal Fire (reggae)

Jazz at the Mansion

Annually, the Cape Fear Jazz Society hosts its outdoor concerts at Bellamy Mansion. Blankets, chairs and picnics are welcome. Shows start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for members or volunteers and $15 for students or military.

June 8 — Jay Killman Quartet
July 13 — Teddy Burgh Trio
August 10 — Jim Ferris Trio 
September 14 — El Jaye Johnson Quartet

Greenfield Lake Amphitheater

Live Nation manages Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, located at 1941 Amphitheater Drive. Clear plastic bags can only be 12-inches-by-6-inches-by-12-inches or small clutches cannot exceed 6-inches-by-9-inches. All show times and tickets are different and can be accessed here.

May 24 — St. Paul & the Broken Bones (R&B)
— Sierra Ferrell (pop)
— Futurebirds (rock)
— Rodrigo y Gabriela (instrumental rock)
— Straight No Chaser (yacht rock)
— flipturn (rock)
— Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (rock)
— Mat Kearney (rock)
— Allen Stone (R&B)
— Michael Franti & Spearhead (rock)
— Michael Franti & Spearhead (rock)
— Tommy Emmanuel (jazz)
— Nickel Creek (country)
— Shakey Graves (rock)
— Mary Chapin Carpenter (country)
— Stephen Marley (reggae)
— Morgan Wade (country)
— Devon Allman & Donavon Frankenreiter with special guest JD Simo (rock)
— Matisyahu + G. Love & Special Sauce (rock)
— Moon Taxi with The Stews (rock)
— 49 Winchester (country)
— Judah & the Lion (folk)
— Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass ft. The Hillbenders (rock)
— The Wailers (reggae)
— Sylvan Esso with GrrlDance (electronic)
— Blue October (rock)
— Steep Canyon Rangers (country)
— Drive-By Truckers with American Aquarium (rock)
— Switchfoot (rock)

Live Oak Bank Pavilion

Live Nation manages Live Oak Bank Pavilion, located at the foot of Harnett Street overlooking the Cape Fear River in the northern part of downtown Wilmington. Blankets and chairs, no larger than 9-inches in height, are welcome for lawn. Clear plastic bags can only be 12-inches-by-6-inches-by-12-inches or small clutches cannot exceed 6-inches-by-9-inches. The venue is cashless and only accepts payment via cred card, debit or mobile pay. All show times and tickets are different and can be accessed here.

— Boyz II Men (R&B)
M — Dave Matthews Band (rock)
— Dave Matthews Band (rock)
— Parker McCollum (country
— boygenius (rock)
— Rebelution (reggae)
— Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and Ziggy Marley (jazz, funk, reggae)
— Riley Green (country)
— Barenaked Ladies (rock)
— Phish (jam band, rock)
— Darius Rucker (country)
— GRIZMAS in July (dance/electronic)
— Slightly Stoopid and Sublime with Rome wsg Atmosphere, The Movement (rock)
— Tyler Childers with S.G. Goodman (country)
— Masters of the Mic (hip-hop, rap)
— Tedeschi Trucks Band (rock)
— Widespread Panic (rock
— Jelly Roll (hip-hop, rap)

Info or comments? Email info@portcitydaily.com

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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