For many local Virginia Beach locals, summer means backyard barbecues, lounging by the pool, or eagerly waiting for the familiar sound of the ice cream truck. And while the ice cream truck does play a pretty catchy tune, the happiness it brings usually only lasts for as long as it takes you to finish your chocolate crunch bar.
What can you do to ensure a summer filled with happiness for the whole family? One that’s worthy of being called the #bestsummerever? The answer is much simpler than you may think. All you have to do is go out and listen to live music. Yes, it really is that simple!
Music to your ears
A recent study has shown that people who attend concerts once every two weeks lead happier lives, and that “attending a concert for just 20 minutes increased participants feelings of wellbeing by 21%.”
What’s even better news is that you don’t need to pack up and travel far this summer to get your live music fix. All you need to do is take a trip to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
This summer Live! On Atlantic – formerly known as Beach Street USA – will transform Atlantic Avenue from 7th Street to 34th Street into an energetic and dazzling stage, showcasing hundreds of music acts of all genres including rock, jazz, country, 80’s pop, Latin, and hip-hop.
Same, yet different
Live! On Atlantic will still offer the same types of free family-friendly programming visitors and residents have come to expect and enjoy over the years in the Fun Zone on Atlantic Avenue at 19th and 20th Streets (jugglers, face-painters, balloon artists, magicians and more), but this year marks a decided shift to provide more robust, live music.
“Our goal is to provide a fun and exciting destination at our Oceanfront which presents a unique experience making Virginia Beach more relevant and interesting – for visitors as well as residents,” said Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Brad Van Dommelen.
Those experiences include free concerts for visitors and residents nightly now through August 26. The music starts at 7:30 p.m. and is scheduled to end at 11 p.m. From local favorites to nationally recognized artists, this year’s lineup is bigger than ever.
“This year we have expanded the musical offerings not only on the streets, but in the parks and at other stages as well,” said Live! On Atlantic Director Mike Hilton. “We’re expanding and spreading the music out.”
The expansion marks the return of live music to the Virginia Legends Walk on 13th Street. “Several years ago we had a great show on that stage called The Life and Music of Ella Fitzgerald. We’re looking forward to the Legends Walk stage coming alive again with big band and classical music,” said Hilton.
In addition to the free nightly concerts and entertainment Live! On Atlantic will also host many summer festivals including:
- Latin Fest: June 22 to 23; a celebration of the sights and sounds of the Latin experience.
- Sandstock – A Tribute to Rock & Roll: June 29 to July 1; a beach inspired variation on “Woodstock”.
- Stars & Stripes Explosion: July 4; a star-spangled salute to America.
- Family Great Adventure Series: Thursdays from June 5 to August 9; eight evenings featuring a different movie with a corresponding family activity prior to the film.
- Chalk the Walk ARTsplosion: July 7; the boardwalk will be turned into an impromptu canvas of color.
- Virginia Beach FunkFest Beach Party: August 24 to 25; featuring music by influential legends such as James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, and George Clinton.
- American Music Festival: August 31 to September 2; the largest outdoor music event on the East Coast.
The Stars and Stripes explosion will feature a dazzling fireworks display at 9:30pm. Fireworks will continue every Sunday and Wednesday night after 10pm through August 22.
Also in July, two live shows will start their summer runs. Valor: the Story of the U.S. Navy SEALS will be performed at 25th Street by the Naval Aviation Monument Park, and at 26th Street you can watch the Witch of Pungo, an original 30-minute musical based on the story of accused witch Grace Sherwood.
“With our programming we’ve tried to tie in some of the rich history that we have in this area, and also our military connection. It’s a good way to not only educate but entertain as well,” said Hilton.
It’s worth mentioning again that Live! On Atlantic is free entertainment for the whole family. Speaking of something worth mentioning, here’s a perk for Virginia Beach residents: parking in city facilities is a low $3.00 after 5 p.m. New this year are two more discounted parking options: a season pass and a loyalty card program. While Live! On Atlantic the best entertainment deal in the area so is parking in city-managed parking lots and garages. A trip to the movies this summer will easily cost over $40 for a family of four, and that’s not including any popcorn or drinks. Not only will getting out to the beach and listening to music makes you and your family feel happier, you’ll also be giving your wallet a break. Win-win!
To get the latest LIVE! On Atlantic event information right at your fingertips, you can download the Virginia Beach events app from the iTunes store or Google Play. You can also view the online calendar here and signup for newsletter updates.
Here’s to a great Virginia Beach summer!
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