The local music lowdown: Outdoor music resurges on Martha’s Vineyard

Since we heard Flatbread would not reopen this summer, The Times Calendar section has been lamenting the loss of Martha’s Vineyard music venues. There was a time when you could catch big-name acts weekly at Flatbread (or Nectar’s, or Outerland, or the Hot Tin Roof — depending on how long you’ve been around). Sadly, the end of Flatbread finalized a fizzling-out of that music scene we once knew.

But we don’t bring that up just to bum you out. The truth is, while the concert halls and world-famous acts were dwindling, the local music scene has been heating up.

The local talent pool is evident in our Island bars, but also in the resurgence of outdoor concert series. These open air venues offer a chance to enjoy local music without getting a beer spilled on you. Between the summer weather, scenic locations, and food truck offerings, these shows are a great way to start the evening. The best part is many start early, so you can hit the bar for more music afterward. Then you can get a beer spilled on you.

And don’t get us wrong, there are a few great big-name acts coming our way this summer. Stay tuned at to find out more.

The Tabernacle The Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association and TPS Productions are teaming up this summer to present a Sunset Concert Series in Oak Bluffs, Friday evenings from 6 to 7:30 pm. Catch the Mike Benjamin Band July 1, Phil daRosa & Co. July 8, Nina Violet, Fiddler and Friends July 15, Anthony Basini and Friends July 29, Nancy Jephcote August 5, and Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish August 12. Bring a picnic or purchase one from the new Offshore Ale Catering Truck. Free. For more information, visit

Memorial Wharf “Dock Dances” at Edgartown’s Memorial Wharf are an Island tradition dating back to the 1960s. The makeup of the band has changed several times since then, but the vibe has retained its youthful, slightly raucous energy. In its most recent iteration, the band includes Adam Petkus, John Stanwood, Niko Ewing, Jaime Greene, and Alex Karalekas. They will kick off their season this Tuesday, June 21, under the full moon of the summer solstice, and continue playing every Tuesday evening throughout the summer.

Featherstone Featherstone Center for the Arts’ Musical Monday series showcases local talent plugged in on an outdoor stage. This year’s lineup includes Kevin Keady on June 20, Jon Zeeman and Friends on June 27, Tristan Israel, Nancy Jephcote, Paul Thurlow on July 11, the Jemima James Variety Show on July 16, Dana Edelman and his Slammin’ Band on July 18, Joanne Cassidy on July 25, Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish on August 1, the Mike Benjamin Band on August 8, the Grateful Dread on August 15, and Entrain on August 22. The stage also hosts Thursday-evening jazz shows. Music starts at 6:30 pm. Admission is $10 for adults (over 14), or $5 with Island Club card. Find more information at

The Edgartown library will host outdoor concerts on the lawn every Tuesday evening at 6:30 pm, July 12 through August 30. It’s a great way to catch an earful of Island musicians free of charge. Performers include Jon Zeeman on July 12, Joel Harrison on July 19, Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish on July 26, Sabrina and the Groovers on August 2, Tom Major, Wes Nagy, and Jon Zeeman on August 9, Kevin Keady and the Cattledrivers on August 16, Goodnight Louise on August 23, and the Grateful Dread on August 30. Call the library at 508-627-4221 for more information.

Noepe: The Noepe Center in Edgartown is known for its support of the literary arts, but their charming Thursdays in the Garden series of readings and talks also includes live music. On the docket so far are performances by Pick Pocket on July 7, and David Wolff on July 14. For more events, visit


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