ATLANTIC CITY — For years, the resort has come under fire for its lack of midweek entertainment options, but city and state officials hope its summer beach concert series changes that.
Nearly 50,000 people packed the Boardwalk Wednesday night to see Pink perform on the beach. On a normal Wednesday, only a couple thousand stroll the boards.
The city, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and Live Nation hope the scheduling of beach concerts earlier in the season and midweek will lead to people returning to the city and creating more business for local merchants. In addition to Pink’s show, the city hosted a beach concert with country music star Brantley Gilbert on Thursday. A total of 60,000 to 70,000 attended the two shows.
Last year, Mayor Don Guardian called for the shows to take place early in the summer, so people who had a good time could come back later in the season. During summer 2016, the beach concert series featured three shows over the five-day Labor Day weekend period, leaving little time for possible return business. Two shows were canceled because of Tropical Storm Hermine, but the storm ended up staying offshore and not affecting the city’s weather.
“We know our visitors will experience Atlantic City at its best and will now have enough time to come back again — hopefully more than once — before the end of the season,” said Chris Howard, executive director of the CRDA. “Hosting the events midweek and earlier in the season accomplishes just that.”
The shows are part of a three-year, $6 million agreement with the authority that requires Live Nation to bring at least six beach concerts or events that attract 30,000 attendees or more to Atlantic City.
For businesses such as Harry’s Oyster Bar, located directly across the Boardwalk from the beach concert stage, the midweek concerts offered a boost for business.
“Holding concerts during the week is excellent for business. Most of our business is more toward the weekend, so it will draw in a lot of people,” said Judith Reahm-Coffee, general manager.
Guardian said Thursday the midweek concert could generate millions of dollars in revenue for local businesses.
“People said that they want to return and this the opportunity to do that,” Guardian said, adding positive experiences from the shows could lead to people wanting to come back later in the summer.
The city left a positive impression on Becky Barrier, of Vermont, who was visiting the resort for the first time to see Pink.
“I think it’s cool. There’s a lot of different age groups here, which is nice,” Barrier said.
Joe Kelly, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber, said more midweek events is something the chamber has always supported.
“Having them earlier in the season also allows them a chance to come back later events,” Kelly said.
For the last 15 years, the Atlantic City Airshow has been held midweek, he said.
“It’s real clear that (a midweek event) makes an impact on the business in the market,” Kelly said.