Let the Sounds of Summer Wash Over You

By Ellen McCarthy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 16, 2008

Quick: Top five songs to serve as the soundtrack to your sunburned, flip-flop-wearing, hand-holding, beach-side twilight?

1. "Summer Nights"

2. "Margaritaville"

3. "Kokomo"

4. "Under the Boardwalk"

5. "Summertime"

Okay, it's debatable. ("Summer of '69" has to be up there, right?) But it's a crowded category for a reason: There's something magical about the combination of oceanfront evenings and breezy, good-time tunes.

After mornings in the water, afternoons on bikes and messy, giggle-filled dinners, there's almost nothing left to want except time to soak it in. "This is the life," the music says, and who would disagree?

All along the Delmarva shore, beach songs will be filling the streets this summer. Many bars and restaurants bring in crowd-pleasing bands, at least for Friday and Saturday nights. A few big names also will be luring crowds throughout the coming months. Best of all, free outdoor concerts are abundant, up and down the coast.

So grab a blanket, maybe a dish of mint chocolate chip ice cream and revel in the music of a midsummer night.

Ocean City

Ocean City has upped the ante this year to offer visitors free, live entertainment six nights a week during the summer.

So if it's a Wednesday night and you've had your fill of the action on the boardwalk, head to North Division Street for a "Concert on the Beach." The series kicks off July 9 and runs through Aug. 20, featuring such acts as Captain Quint, a Jimmy Buffett tribute band, and the Rising Sun Reggae Band.

On Sunday evenings, make your way to Northside Park (127th Street and the bay) for the popular "Sundaes in the Park" series, which brings in live music plus special entertainers for kids. So, for example, on Aug. 3, when the '80s-loving group the Real Geniuses play, they'll be joined by Lollipop the Clown.

Softer sounds fill the air on Monday nights at Sunset Park on the bay (South Division Street downtown). Shore Jazz with Holly Lane is scheduled to perform July 21, and the Ocean Celtic Quartet will play Aug. 4. Sunset Park will also host an Irish Night on July 28 and a Latin Night on Aug. 25.

Ocean City also has family movie nights Mondays and Fridays, Family Beach Olympics on Tuesdays and weekly bonfires on Thursdays. (Whew! But you won't be hearing "I'm booooored.")

Ocean City has a slew of live-music options for those looking to go out sans kids. Bands play Top 40 music seven nights a week at the Ocean Club at the Clarion Resort. At M.R. Ducks Saloon, rock bands perform at least twice a week. BJ's on the Water has live entertainment every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Seacrets, the infamous mecca of Ocean City night life, has multiple music options every night.

THE OCEAN CLUB 101st Street

and the ocean. 410-524-3535.http://www.clarionoc.com.

M.R. DUCKS SALOON 311 Talbot St. 800-659-7703.http://www.mrducks.com.

BJ'S ON THE WATER 75th Street

and the bay. 410-524-7575.http://www.bjsonthewater.com.

SEACRETS RESORT 117 W. 49th St. 410-524-4900.http://www.seacrets.com.

OCEAN CITY CONCERTS For a full calendar of free Ocean City events, including the "Concert on the Beach"

and "Sundaes in the Park" series, visithttp://www.ococean.com.

Rehoboth Beach

Corey Groll, program director for the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand, isn't much interested in the same-old, same-old. He's hoping visitors will be surprised when they wander down to the big gazebo by the water.

"It's traditionally been military bands, concert bands. It got a little redundant," Groll says of the bandstand's previous summer lineups. "But we're trying to modernize it. There are incredible acts coming, in my opinion."

Every Thursday through Sunday starting June 13 (a Friday) with local favorite Love Seed Mama Jump, the bandstand's amplifiers will rev up with family-friendly live music at 8 p.m. Other highlights include the Dover Allstars (classic rock) on June 21 and Fab Mania, a Beatles tribute band, performing July 13.

"It's lot of dance and party bands who play everything from Beyoncé to 'Mustang Sally.' It's all upbeat," Groll says. And of course, it's free.

REHOBOTH BEACH BANDSTAND At the end of Rehoboth Avenue at the ocean. For a full schedule, visithttp://www.rehobothbeachbandstand.com.

Dewey Beach

To a certain set's relief, "family-friendly" is not the operative phrase at Dewey Beach.

It's the seaside patch of choice for the party crowd, and the music (as much as the booze) is meant to fuel the fun.

In the Ruddertowne complex, you can count on music every night of the week, with party bands appearing Thursdays through Saturdays before DJs take over. The Bottle & Cork is bringing in big-name acts this season. The Pat McGee Band has a show June 6, Shooter Jennings plays July 20, Citizen Cope on June 24 and Patty Smyth & Scandal on Aug. 3.

The Starboard will have a regular rotation of bands throughout the summer, including Wednesday night appearances by LauraLea & Tripp Fabulous, a bluesy, female-fronted rock band out of Philadelphia.

RUDDERTOWNE 113 Dickinson St. 302-227-3888.http://www.deweybeachlife.com.

BOTTLE & CORK 1807 Hwy. 1. 302-227-7272.http://www.deweybeachlife.com.

THE STARBOARD 2009 Hwy. 1. 302-227-4600.http://www.thestarboard.com.

Bethany Beach

The Bethany Beach Bandstand kicks off its summer series with the University of Maryland Community Band on May 24. From then on, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (plus some weekdays), the series will feature acts performing jazz, rock, Dixieland, choral music and more.

Highlights include the Tim Laushey Orchestra on July 11, the Fabulous Dialtones (rock-and-roll) on July 20 and Jesse Garron's "Tribute to Elvis" show on Aug. 31.


3 Garfield Pkwy. 302-539-5484.http://www.townofbethanybeach.com. Friday-Sunday; shows start at 7:30 unless otherwise noted. Free.

Visit Web site for full schedule.

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