Quint. Hooper. Chief. Edgartown. Gay Head Light. Big Bridge.
It was all on display at the start of Beach Road Weekend Friday night. The gates opened a little later than anticipated, but when they did customers were treated to a transformed Veterans Memorial Park in Vineyard Haven with a lighthouse and other art installations, as well as places to cool off and even to play corn hole while music played in the background. There were dozens of food vendors selling everything from gyros to sweet potato fries and, yes, there was beer, wine, and spiked seltzers for sale so long as you purchased food first thanks to Tisbury’s strict alcohol laws.
But it was “Jaws,” that Quint-essential Martha’s Vineyard movie and the Cape Symphony Orchestra that shined.
Jung-Ho Pak, conductor of the Cape Symphony, told The Times that his musicians would only need one rehearsal before the performance and he — and they — nailed it. The music was vibrant and haunting and energizing.
Beach Road Weekend is the inspiration of Adam Epstein, the Chicago promoter with a second home in Edgartown, and from the beginning he talked about pairing this iconic (yes, the overused word applies in this instance) Martha’s Vineyard movie with the Cape Symphony.
Under perfect conditions Friday night, it worked well. The loud squealing of ospreys in a nearby nest seemed to add to the ambiance.
There were laughs at some of those familiar “Jaws” lines. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” for example. And the crowd chuckled when Chief Brody said, “You open the beach on the Fourth of July, it’s like ringing the dinner bell for Christ’s sake.”
People in the crowd could be heard pointing out familiar landmarks. And there were most certainly folks in the crowd who either knew extras in the movie or were extras themselves like our very own Rich Saltzberg who Tweeted about seeing his father-in-law Richard Cohen on the big screen in the 1975 blockbuster. Even the Steamship Authority had a cameo that had the knowing crowd chuckling a bit.
There is something about watching the movie outdoors, within just a few hundred feet of the water, that made it even more suspenseful than usual.
“Jaws” can feel campy at times, but at others it is poignant like when Quint talks about what happened to the American servicemen responsible for dropping the bomb at Hiroshima.
It was probably a smaller crowd than promoter Adam Epstein had hoped, but it was enthusiastic nonetheless.
As the final note was played by the orchestra, there was wild applause for Pak and his musicians before people began streaming out of the venue for their shuttle buses or a short walk to the Vineyard Haven ferry terminal.
As a kickoff, it was a great beginning to the three-day Beach Road Weekend music festival, which features two more complete days of concerts.
As word spreads of how much fun people had at Friday’s event, Epstein’s gonna need a bigger venue.