Country artist Dierks Bentley said it best in a few simple lyrics, "Makes you wanna drop it down a gear, and kill a couple beers. Been waitin' all year, now it's finally here, back around - these are the sounds of summer."
What’s sweeter than returning to summer cruising, sipping cold drinks in the hot sun and dancing to live music in the open air? How about all of these things wrapped in one?
The Chesapeake Bay provides an unmatched backdrop for waterside concert venues jam-packed with local and international talent. Whether you want to groove all weekend at a big festival or just relax by the water and listen to acoustic tunes, the following venues offer a kicking musical lineup that is sure to grace your ear buds.
Inner Harbor, Baltimore
Now until August 24
Hosting national acts, this harborside venue offers concerts by land (with ticket) or by sea (for free) all summer long. The venue offers stadium and lawn seating, but the best part is you can drop anchor and listen to shows from the water. Catch music of all genres from rock, reggae, R&B, children’s theater and more. This year’s top headliners feature Bonnie Raitt, ZZ Top, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Jack White and Rebelution’s Good Vibes Summer Tour.
Port Covington, Baltimore
Check out South Baltimore’s recently developed Port Covington waterfront as it transforms into a reggae music festival this summer. Purchase single, multi-day tickets or vacation packages to relax and chill in the sand while grooving to some beachy tunes. Headliners include Dirty Heads, Soja, Slightly Stoopid and Pepper. Children age six and under attend for free.
Now until August 18
Located just across Spa Creek in the Eastport neighborhood, the Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park hosts a nautical concert series on Thursdays through August. Guests can bring chairs and blankets to watch free shows ranging from rock, blues and folk music. Make a day of it by touring the museum, booking a charter or heritage cruise on the historic skipjack Wilma Lee, then catch a concert that night.
Now until September 17
Dock, dine and party on Tolchester Beach at The Shanty Bar featuring live music and events all summer long. This lively marina in historic Chestertown boasts amenities including a private beach, fuel dock, laundry facilities, picnic area and saltwater swimming pool. Rock out with Maryland musicians and popular cover bands such as Bad with Names, Rob Fahey and Red Dirt Revolution.
Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons Island
July 16 & August 20
Calvert Marine Museum’s summer music series returns to PNC Waterside Pavilion this year with a stellar lineup. Visit Southern Maryland's lovely Solomons Island and catch Grammy award-winning Maryland natives Brothers Osbourne in July, then rewind back in time with classic performances from The Beach Boys and The Temptations in August.
Fort Monroe, Hampton
June 9-July 28
Enjoy the sweet sounds of woodwinds, brass, big band and military bands while watching a summer sunset across the Bay at Fort Monroe’s historic Continental
Park. Bring chairs, blankets and a picnic basket to this charming outdoor venue. July presents performances from Hampton Roads Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet, the U.S. Army TRADOC Command Big Band, Peninsula Concert Band and Tidewater Concert Band.
Now until September 4
Come down to the Gazebo at Ocean View Beach Park for the swingin’ Big Bands on the Bay concert series and dance on the green every Sunday evening through September. The park also hosts Friday night events such as themed parties, movie nights, a salsa dance party and the Reggae on the Bay festival in July featuring live music, vendors and family-friendly activities.
Town Point Park, Norfolk
This year’s 39th annual waterfront jazz fest will host some of the biggest names in the international smooth jazz scene. Visit Town Point Park’s seven-acre city waterfront along where the Elizabeth River juts out into the Bay. Reserve a seat by the front of the stage or bring your own lawn chairs for general admission in this lovely summertime setting.
Olde Towne, Portsmouth
Now until September
Every Thursday until September, High Street Landing hosts waterside concerts, food vendors and good times along the pier. Cruise into Portsmouth and find local dockage at Tidewater Yacht Marina. With tons of funky, beachy and soulful acts on the lineup, you will enjoy evenings of relaxing entertainment. Check out rock, R&B and disco from the Michael Clark Band, funk, soul, R&B and Motown oldies from BrassWind and TFG Band, and the season closes with 70s, 80s and 90s country and rock from Hot Cakes.
This coastal festival is one of the many summertime shows hosted on stages across Virginia Beach’s 17th Street and 24th Street Parks. Formerly called Sandstock, Totally Tribute Music Fest is exactly what it sounds like — a festival full of tribute bands from across the country. Relish high-energy performances of all your favorite songs in classic rock, pop and country genres. Be sure to also check out the park’s music events such as the season-long Oceanfront Concert Series and Virginia Beach Funk Fest Beach Party in August.