Just about any night of the week around here there is a concert scheduled in a town park.
Since they're free, there's no reason not to enjoy the Chicken Bone Beach concerts in Atlantic City on Thursdays, hop over to Egg Harbor Township the next night for the Rhythm in the Park series and then to Absecon on Sundays for Concerts in the Park. Or maybe, just to change things up a bit, hit Somers Point on Fridays night for Concerts on the Beach. Well, you get the idea.
You can't go wrong with an informal evening of free, live, open-air music. That was evident on a recent Friday night as lawn chairs and blankets peppered the grassy hill in front of the amphitheater at Tony Canale Park in Egg Harbor Township. Juicy, the five-piece pop cover band, was playing classic and contemporary hits - from the "Grease" soundtrack to Taylor Swift - in a repertoire that appealed to all ages.
"It's good. There are some songs we know," said 9-year-old Phoenix Bedsoll, of Egg Harbor Township, who attended with 6-year-old sister Savannah and parents Bill and Chris.
Concertgoers Sonya Benish and 17-year-old daughter Maddie Niederhoffer, both of the Dorothy section of Weymouth Township, frequently enjoy local outdoor music.
"We always go to the ones in Mays Landing and in Absecon," said Benish. "We just concert-hop."
The relaxed, family atmosphere is what attracted Benish to the outdoor concerts, she said.
"No traffic, you don't have to pay a bar, no riff-raff, and the weather's gorgeous," she said.
For parents of younger children, the concert provided an opportunity for the little ones to release pent-up energy.
"We're trying to wear her out," said Mark Locasale about 2-year-old daughter Sarah. Locasale enjoyed the concert with his daughter and wife, Millet, all of Egg Harbor Township.
Budding dancers can have fun shimmying and shaking to live music. Helene Kelly, of Egg Harbor Township, brought 2-year-old daughter Kailyn for that reason. "She likes to dance," she said.
The band involved kids and families in the show. Juicy frontman Rick Marino led a conga line of children and adults equipped with plastic maracas, while singing Harry Belafonte's "Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora)."
"They put on a good concert every year," said Gigi Rodriquez of Port Norris, who attended the concert with her 14-year-old daughter Harley. "I like it because they get the kids involved."
With many local concert series to choose from, families can find an event without straying far from home. Pack a blanket or a lawn chair, and don't forget the bug spray.
Contact Bailey Clark:
Free local concerts
Concerts in the Park, 7 p.m. Sundays to Aug. 8 at Heritage Park, Route 30 and Mill Road. 609-646-0823.
Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation Jazz on the Beach, 7 p.m. Thursdays to Aug. 12 at Kennedy Plaza, Boardwalk between Mississippi and Georgia avenues. Call 609-441-9064 or visit www.chickenbonebeach.org
Gardner's Basin, 1 p.m. to dusk Aug. 7 and 28. Sponsored by City of Atlantic City and Atlantic City Free Public Library at Gardner's Basin, 800 N. New Hampshire. Rain dates are next day. Call 609-347-5643.
International Series, 7 p.m. Wednesdays to Aug. 25 by Atlantic City Free Public Library at Kennedy Plaza.
Concert Series, 7 to 8:30 p.m., July 28, Aug. 9, 18 and 22 and Sept. 5 in auditorium at North School , 301 E. Evans Blvd. Call 609-266-3323.
Egg Harbor Township
Rhythm in the Park Concert Series, 7 to 9 p.m. Fridays to Aug. 14 at Tony Canale Park Amphitheater, off Dogwood Avenue. Call 609-272-8120 or visit www.ehtgov.org
7:30 p.m. Aug. 10 and 24 at Birch Grove Park, 1700 Burton Ave. The Aug. 10 concert will include an ice-cream social and begin at 6:30 p.m. Rain dates are the following Tuesday. Call 609-641-4607.
Concerts on the Beach, 7 to 9 p.m. Fridays to Sept. 10 at William Morrow Memorial Beach, New Jersey and Bay avenues. Call 609-927-2053, ext. 3101.
Cape May County
Beach Concerts, noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays to Sept. 5 at 30th Street Beach. Visit www.avalonboro.org/dailysummer.htm
Veterans Plaza Concerts, 7 p.m. Fridays to Sept. 3 at 21st Street and Dune Drive. Visit www.avalonboro.org/dailysummer.htm
Bandstand Concerts, 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays to Sept. 4 at the Bandstand, Lafayette Street off the Washington Street Mall. 609-884-9565.
Concerts Under the Stars, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays to Sept. 2 at Lou Booth Amphitheater, Second and Ocean avenues. Call 800-882-7787.
Free concerts, 7 p.m. Sundays in July and August at Ocean City Tabernacle, Fifth Street and Wesley Ave. Call 609-399-1915 or visit www.octabernacle.org
Sea Isle City
Summer Concerts Under the Stars, 7:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays to Aug. 30 at Promenade and JFK Boulevard. Call 609-263-TOUR.
7:30 p.m. Mondays to Aug. 30 at Crest Pier facing Ocean Avenue. Call 609-523-0202.
7 p.m. Fridays at Sunset Lake Gazebo, Miami Road and New Jersey Avenue. Call 609-523-0202.
Summer Concert Series, 7 p.m. Saturdays to Sept. 4 at Municipal Dock, Bay Avenue. Call 609-698-0080, ext. 122 or 130.
7:30 p.m. Aug. 12 and 19 at Bay Dock between Ninth and 10th streets. Call 609-494-9196.
7:30 Wednesdays to Sept. 8 at Veterans Bicentennial Park, Engleside and Beach avenues. Call 609-492-2739.
Sunset Park Concerts, 7 p.m. Wednesdays to Aug. 18 at Sunset Park, Holly and West Salem avenues. www.harveycedars.org
6:30 p.m. Fridays to Sept. 3 at Tuckerton Seaport, 120 W. Main St. Call 609-296-8868.
Concerts by the Bay 7:00 p.m. Thursdays to Aug. 19 at Waterfront Park, 10th Street and Shore Avenue. Call 609-494-2171, ext. 116.
7:30 p.m. Mondays to Aug. 30 at Ocean First Theater, 1000 McKinley Ave., Manahawkin. Call 609-978-5700, ext. 2000, or visit www.njstac.com
Sunday Night Concert Series, 7 p.m. Sundays to Aug. 15 on the riverfront between Route 49 and East Commerce Street. Call 856-451-9208.
Concerts in the Park, 7 p.m. Thursdays to Aug. 5 at Corson Park Route 49 and Wade Boulevard. Call 856-825-7000.
7 p.m. Mondays to Aug. 30 at Enrico Serra Band Shell, Giampietro Park, 3231 E. Landis Ave. Call 856-794-4144.