Apparently, neither dark clouds nor the threat of thunderstorms can slow down WBJB’s annual “Songwriters on the Beach” concert series, which kicked off in Belmar on July 9.
Hundreds of local music fans came out for this year’s inaugural performance, despite a change in location from the 5th Avenue boardwalk to the more waterproof Belmar Elementary School.
While one of the main selling points of the popular summer concert series is its seaside setting, WBJB Station Manager Tom Brennan said he wasn’t surprised to see such a strong turnout in spite of the weather.
“It’s a very unique series,” said Brennan, explaining that “Songwriters” performances can often draw crowds of more than 800.
“We pair national music acts with local songwriters, offering audiences the chance to expand their interests a little and maybe hear something they never heard before. And it doesn’t hurt that all of these acts are extremely, extremely talented.”
The free concert series kicked off with performances by New Jersey native Colton Kayser and nationally renown singer/songwriter Ari Hest, whose setlist featured fully acoustic and drum-accompanied songs spanning his 16 year career.
Neptune native Jonathan Tea, who will be performing with singer/songwriter James Maddock as part of the series on July 23, said he attended the show to see Hest in person and support his fellow musician Kayser.
“This is just a phenomenal opportunity for songwriters like us,” Tea said. “90.5 [WBJB] in general has always been great for the local music community.
“They play local musicians on the radio all the time, and they give us the chance to reach hundreds of new listeners with shows like this. It’s awesome.”
Prior to the show, members of Brookdale Public Radio were also treated to an invite-only kickoff party at 10th Ave. Burrito, while members of the Brookdale Alumni Association were invited to an exclusive welcoming reception.
“Songwriters on the Beach” will continue through the end of August, with performances held every Thursday night at 7 p.m. at 5th Avenue and Ocean in Belmar.
Upcoming headlining acts include Chadwick Stokes, Caitlyn Canty and Cheerleader, with opening performances by local acts such as Isadora, Cranston Dean and Ron Santee of the Battery Electric.
For more information visit the WBJB website.
Check out more photos of the “Songwriters on the Beach” concert here.