There’s no place better than Wilmington to get outdoors, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy live music this summer. Between the coastal flair courtesy of local musicians and the wide variety of national acts who take center stage, Wilmington’s music scene is buzzing with exciting performances. Plan a vacation to listen to all the live tunes.
Wilmington’s concert venues flourish throughout the summer season with lineups of can’t-miss performers. Managed by Live Nation, Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park features national acts from Widespread Panic to Maren Morris, with plenty of variety in between. The state-of-the-art boutique outdoor amphitheater hugs the Cape Fear River for spectacular views and boasts a capacity of 7,200 – including lawn ticketed options as well as seats – with on-site food and beverages. Check out the lineup for this summer on the website.
On select Fridays from Memorial Day through Labor Day, The Pier at Port City Marina offers free riverside concerts with Friday Night Live! on the Pier. Each concert features a tribute band representing some of your favorite artists playing your favorite songs in the open-air venue with expansive views of the Historic District and the water.
Tucked a bit further inland, Greenfield Lake Amphitheater is a magical setting nestled by the lake amidst hundred-year-old cypress trees. This recently renovated outdoor concert venue will spotlight artists such as Stephen Marley and Grace Potter with nature as your backdrop. Find out who’s playing this summer on the website.
Even Wilmington’s historical treasures play host to live music and outdoor entertainment. The Bellamy Mansion Museum of History & Design hosts a Summer Jazz Series at the Mansion each year on the second Thursday of each month from May to September. Bring the whole family to enjoy smooth jazz music on the historic property’s beautiful grounds.
Sit among the blooming flowers and enjoy live music at the Airlie Gardens Summer Concert Series. This family-friendly series takes place all summer long and features various local musicians, so pack a picnic, bring your lawn chairs and relax to live tunes while surrounded by 67 acres of natural beauty.
Music with a Meal
Some of Wilmington’s most popular restaurants are also home to a wide variety of live music performances. Ogden Tap Room and Reel Café’s rooftop bar are both known for specialty drinks and bar menus that pair perfectly with live music. Take it riverside at Marina Grill with the Saturday Sunset Series for locally sourced seafood and produce plus specialty craft cocktails, complemented by live music.
Every Sunday, Satellite Bar and Lounge hosts its Live Bluegrass Jam for guests to dance and drink both on the outside patio and in the funky indoor space featuring salvaged materials from the original 1940s structure. Enjoy a selection of nearly 250 craft beers in addition to gose, cider, hard seltzer, hard kombucha, champagne splits and a full bar in the dog- and family-friendly atmosphere.
Many local breweries, such as Waterline Brewing Co. and Edward Teach Brewing, are known for local live music as well. Waterline Brewing Co. even has an outdoor area with games set up for families. What better way to end the day than sampling a delicious meal and refreshing, craft drinks with loved ones to the sound of live music?
Stop into the CAM Café at Cameron Art Museum for live music Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. May through July. With art as your backdrop, enjoy delicious fare while jamming out to local musicians.
Performances for the Whole Family
In addition to concerts and local live music, Wilmington offers a myriad of live Broadway shows, symphonies and other indoor performances. Check out The Wilson Center, the most technologically advanced performance center in eastern North Carolina, for notable performances such as the Blue Man Group and “Weird Al” Yankovic. The venue also proudly presents performances from the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra.
Plan an evening at Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts, one of the oldest theatres in America. This historic venue hosts new performers and Broadway shows every year. Perfect for families and musical theater enthusiasts, be sure to secure tickets this summer when “Grease” and “Newsies” hit the stage.