A guide to Beach Road Weekend

What to expect, where to park, where to sit, and no, you cannot drink.

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I have a group of off-Island friends with a summer radar for anything Dispatch — an indie/roots rock band from Middlebury, Vt. When word got out they have a show coming up in August as part of Beach Road Weekend, a three-day music festival at Veterans Memorial Park in Vineyard Haven, I received a thread of messages that looked a lot like this: 

“Dispatch on Martha’s Vineyard!”

“Tickets are $75.”

“I’m in.” 

“Booking.”

I sent a message back: “You guys know this is part of a festival, right? Not just a Dispatch concert.”

In short, the answer was no. And while my friends may have neglected to read the fine (or bold and underlined) print that clarified exactly what it was they were buying tickets for — they missed the memo, and I wondered if anyone else did too. I reached out to festival founder Adam Epstein to clarify as many Beach Road Weekend details as I could. We’re about one month away from the festival, and ready or not, here it comes. 

What time does Beach Road Weekend start and end?

The festival starts Friday, August 9, at 6:30 pm, with a screening of the film “Jaws,” accompanied by a live performance by the Cape Cod Symphony. Friday’s performance will end at 9 pm. 

Gates open at noon on Saturday, August 10, and Sunday, August 11. John Fogerty is the final performance on Saturday, which will end at 9 pm. Phil Lesh & Friends is the final performance on Sunday, which will end at 8:30 pm.

When does the last boat leave?

The last boat from Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole leaves the Steamship Authority terminal at 9:30 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Beach Road Weekend partnered with Hy-Line Cruises to provide an 11 pm service from Oak Bluffs to Hyannis on Friday night (ride with members from the Cape Cod Symphony!), and with the SeaStreak to provide a 10 pm service from Vineyard Haven to New Bedford on Saturday and Sunday nights. Reservations are required for SeaStreak late-night services, and details and price will be posted on beachroadweekend.com when they’re available, according to Epstein. “We’re hoping to work out a group rate,” he said. 

What are the ticket tiers, and what do they get me?

General admission tickets give you open lawn access. Day passes are $35 on Friday night (kids 12 and under $17.50), $75 on Saturday, and $75 on Sunday (kids 12 and under $37.50).

Reserved lawn tickets are a section of beach chairs situated closer to the stage. Day passes are $55 on Friday, and $95 on Saturday and Sunday. 

Reserved seats start in row 6 and go up to row 40. Day passes are $75 Friday, and $175 on both Saturday and Sunday night.
VIP seats are the first five rows from the stage. Friday passes range from $185 to $195, and Saturday and Sunday passes range from $325 to $500. VIP tickets include access to “the Beach Club,” a shaded lounge with private deluxe restrooms, complementary soft drinks and water, exclusive culinary and refreshment options, and access to phone-charging stations. 

Tickets are also available at a number of partnering restaurants and shops. If you buy through a local merchant (see below) save $10 per ticket. 

Who are the participating merchants?

51art Gallery, Airport Fitness, Althea Designs, Bad Martha’s Brewery, Brickman’s, Callari Robinson Consulting, Catboat Charters, CB Stark Jewelers, Coop de Ville, Copper Wok, Crocker Inn, Cronig’s, DaRosa’s Corp., Driftwood Jewelry, Hertz Rent-a-Car, Homegrown Tours MV, Island Alpaca, Island Art Gallery, Island Music, Island Puff n’ Pass, Jerry’s Place, the Chappy Kitchen, Life at Humphreys, Middletown Nursery, M.V .Sharks, Martha’s Vineyard Screenprinting Co., M.V. Escapes Concierge, Nobnocket Boutique Inn, Rainy Day Gifts, ReFabulous Decor, Rocco’s Pizzeria, Salt M.V., Simon Gallery, Slip77, Sports Haven, the Green Room, the Barn Bowl & Bistro, Cera & Alex Childrenswear, Waterside Market, and Woods Hole Inn.

Can I leave the festival and come back throughout the day?

Yes. Everyone will receive bracelets so they can come and go. 

How many stages will there be?

Two. The main stage for national bands, and a second, smaller stage for local bands. “We agreed to invest $20,000 in a second stage, facing the general admission area,” Epstein said. “A national band will finish their set on the main stage, and then it will launch straight into a local band performing on the second stage.” It will take 15 to 30 minutes for national bands to swap out on the main stage, according to Epstein. 

What local bands will perform?

TBA. 

Will there be alcohol?

“We’re still in hot pursuit of that very elusive opportunity,” Epstein said. Vineyard Haven has its own special alcohol licensing law, and is figuring out whether or not they can obtain a beer and wine license for the festival. Stay tuned, the Tisbury Board of Selectmen meets again July 9.

Can people BYOB?

No. “We don’t want people bringing things we don’t understand, so we can’t allow that,” Epstein said. If the festival secures a beer and wine license, people who are 21 and over will have a wristband that will get one hole punch for every drink he/she orders.

What can people bring inside the festival?
Blankets, beach mats, reusable metal or plastic water bottles, strollers, umbrellas, binoculars, blankets, cameras without a detachable lens, and bags smaller than or equal to 18 inches x 12 inches x 6 inches, with the exception of diaper bags.

What can’t people bring inside the festival?

Weapons of any kind, folding/beach chairs (they will be available for rent at the festival), pets, unless a licensed service animal, coolers/food/beverages, glass containers, smoking or tobacco products, outside instruments, tents/canopies, totems or flags, AV equipment, professional grade radios/walkie talkies.

What kind of food will be available during the festival?

Local restaurants will sell food during the festival. There will also be a food truck area. Restaurant partners will be announced when they are finalized, according to Epstein. 

How can people get to and from the festival?

“We have 23 shuttle buses running to and from the Edgartown School, P.A. Club, and one other location in West Tisbury (TBA),” Epstein said. Shuttle buses will run every 10 minutes. Epstein hopes the festival’s proximity to VTA bus stops and the Steamship Authority terminal will prompt people to walk. Beach Road Weekend also partnered with local bike shops, and is offering a food and beverage coupon to anyone who rides their bike. “There’s going to be free bike parking at the festival for 600 bikes,” Epstein said. 

Are there any places to park cars on-site?

No. 

What roads will be closed during the festival?

Causeway Road, which abuts Veterans Memorial Park. 

Will there be police, fire, and EMS services onsite?

Yes. “Police will monitor entryways and make sure traffic flows well,” Epstein said. “There will be officers at Five Corners to keep congestion at a minimum. Additionally, we created a route for shuttle buses that keeps them out of Five Corners.” 

What if it rains?

“It depends on the intensity of rain,” Epstein said. “We have cancellation insurance in case it gets bad. We’d do the responsible thing and cancel the festival.” Everyone would get their money back. 

Do you need volunteers/employees?

Beach Road Weekend is looking for both paid workers and volunteers to assist at the festival. More information is available at beachroadweekend.com.

For more information on Beach Road Weekend, visit beachroadweekend.com.