Blues at the Beach is an annual music festival in Virginia Beach highlighting one of the most popular and lasting music genres ever conceived. John Lee Hooker headlined the society’s very first festival in Norfolk, called Elizabeth River Blues Festival.
It is promoted and presented by Beach Street USA, a local organization featuring events along the beach at different stages and parks all year. Another major supporter of the festival is the Natchel Blues Network, a society with the main goal of keeping blues music alive and well-promoted with the Hampton Roads region in Virginia (from southern Virginia to Norfolk, and Virginia Beach). NBN has worked with national and local blue artists, bands, festivals, and blues venues since the mid-1980s.
Three full days of blues concerts featured on an outdoor music stage with a backdrop of blue sky and ocean is what’s in store at one of the best summer festivals in the area. National, regional, and local music artists join forces to perform an outstanding series of concerts commemorating the sounds, sights, and soul of country. Plenty of blues music stars have graced the festival’s oceanfront stage.
Blues at the Beach kicks off each year in the second week of September at the Virginia Beach oceanfront located at 17th Street and Atlantic Avenue. Along with hundreds of other blues music festivals around the country, Blues at the Beach offers more to do and see than blues music, although that is the certainly the focus. There is an arts and crafts marketplace offering a host of unique works, including photography, paintings, sculptures and more with free demonstrations for both young children through to adults.
Food is another big component of the large, open-air celebrations Blues at the Beach festival Virginia. Food vendors tend to hail from the immediate area and offer a spread of their most popular eats, from barbeque to cultural treats. There is even ample opportunity to taste craft brews from some of the local breweries. There are also a series of instrumental workshops sponsored and led by both festival performers and the Natchel Blues Network and are offered free of charge to festival attendees.
The best thing about Blues at the Beach festival Virginia, besides the great music of course, is that the entire event is free of charge to all who come out to enjoy it. The food, crafts, and drinks are not free, but the entire three-days of music along with the things to do in workshops are all complimentary, solely for the purpose of fostering the love of blues music. There is really nothing better than coming out to the beach to enjoy a night of music and ocean breezes. But go prepared for the event is rain or shine.
If visiting just for the weekend, there are several good hotels located along the shore within walking distance of the festival including Holiday Inn Hotel Virginia Beach and the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront. The area is also laced with local attractions including beaches, parks, and museums, and the well-known Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center southwest of the Blues at the Beach venue.