For many Charlestonians, summer means outdoor celebrations with live music and cold drinks, preferably with a view. Luckily, the city overfloweth with perfect such scenarios this year. From cruisin' through the harbor to the sounds of bluegrass and fireworks to boozin' at al fresco music festivals, there are plenty of ways to make sweaty music memories this season; here are five of those:
Sat. June 24
The Royal American
If you love what the local and regional music scene has to offer, then the Summer Shindig is the show of your dreams. Also, this is possibly the most diverse lineup on a festival bill in Charleston's history: hip-hop, indie, country, punk, hardcore, rock 'n' roll, electronic, pop, soul — you name it. On two outdoor stages at the Royal American (970 Morrison Drive), you can catch these headliners: Athens psych-country band Futurebirds, Charleston hip-hop artist Matt Monday, and Johnny Delaware's the Artisanals, who've opened for Band of Horses several times this year. The lineup also includes Young Mister, the Very Hypnotic Soul Band with hip-hop artist Benjamin Starr, Zack Mexico, ET Anderson, DUMB Doctors, Grace Joyner, Riot Stares, Jordan Igoe, DJ Party Dad, and Crab Claw. And if you're smart, you'll get in on the cocktails served in coconut cups for some uber summer feels.
Thurs. July 6
The Bend (3775 Azalea Drive) is a brand new venue on the beautiful banks of the Ashley River that debuted on Thurs. June 1 with the first Marsh Jam, a monthly outdoor performance of local musicians, poets, and more. The guys at Awendaw Green are behind it and have enlisted local greats for the remaining summer sessions, including singer-songwriter Tim Easton, bluegrass trio the Lowhills, fusion funksters the Howling Moon Pimps, and hip-hop artist Benjamin Starr for the next Jam on Thurs. July 6. The Aug. 3 lineup hasn't been announced as of yet but you can expect a baller mix of genres and talent and a Lowcountry view you cannot beat, all beginning at 6 p.m. Oh, and it's free.
Sail On: The Beach Boys
Fri. Aug. 4
Charleston Music Hall
If you've ever heard the uncanny Beach Boys-esque sounds from the Explorers Club, you know that frontman Jason Brewer knows his way around a harmony. Now living in Nashville, the former Charlestonian presents Sail On, a full-on, no-doubt-about-it Beach Boys tribute band. Members of Sail On have performed with musicians from Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson's band as well as the Zombies and Earth, Wind and Fire, and have produced recordings for Micky Dolenz of the Monkees. This is the band's first Charleston performance, and it promises to be one that will leave you in a California state o' mind.
Red, White, and Bluegrass Cruise
Tues. July 4
This two-hour cruise in the Charleston Harbor is the perfect way to let freedom ring on the Fourth of July. Not only will you have a perfect view of the fireworks (really, you're likely to see them everywhere you turn), but you'll also get to hear local bluegrass heroes the Bluestone Ramblers pick and croon the night away. Boarding begins at 8:15 p.m. at the Aquarium Wharf (360 Concord St.), so you'll be cruising along, drink in hand, just in time for sunset.
Sat. June 24
Celebrate the Caribbean's Carnival right here in Charleston as Carifest honors Caribbean American Heritage Month. The fest entails three days of creative Caribbean expression for your taste buds as well as your ears, with Sat. June 24 being the flagship event. That day comes complete with masquerade fun, Haitian food, a parade (4 p.m. from John Street to Brittlebank Park), a carnival village, and, yes, live soca, reggae, and steel pan music from Scrouge, Reggae Infinity Band, and Haiti Children's Choir. There's also an after-party that eve at Reggae Grill (4226 Rivers Ave.) in case you wanna stir it up a little more.