Get ready for ‘Jetty Jam’

Town leaders will decide on new concert series to be held throughout the summer on Wednesdays at Oak Bluffs Harbor.

Oak Bluffs will decide on the Jetty Jam concerts for this summer on Wednesday nights. -Brian Dowd

The Oak Bluffs select board will hold a special meeting next week to possibly give final approval to Jetty Jam, a concert series proposed for Oak Bluffs Harbor on Wednesday nights this summer.

At their meeting Tuesday evening, the board heard from event organizers Kathleen Cowley, Sophie Green, and Henry Wallace.

According to Wallace, the event would be held from 8 to 10 pm on Wednesday nights at the loading zone of the Island Queen, and feature live music. The concerts will be open to the public at no charge. He anticipates at least 100 people may attend.

“We thought that would be a good way to give back to the community and provide a fun, magical evening in Oak Bluffs that people can look forward to, specifically young people. It would be geared toward them. It would be a good way to get everybody into one area away from the bars,” Wallace said.

Police Chief Erik Blake told the board he would work with Cowley, Green, and Wallace on any police presence needed, pending the board’s approval. “Once it gets approved, we’ll be happy to assist them and get it done,” Blake said.

Board members Jason Balboni, Gail Barmakian, Emma Green-Beach, and Ryan Ruley were in support of the event in theory, but wanted to see more detailed plans. 

Balboni and Ruley added they were more comfortable trying the concert out before giving approval for the entire summer.

The event will be similar in design to Edgartown’s summer dock dances at Memorial Wharf. Ruley, an Edgartown Police officer, said underage drinking has been an issue on multiple occasions in Edgartown.

“We can’t support something like that on town property, especially near the water, that’s when things get dangerous,” Ruley said. “If at any time we have underage alcohol events down there, I will ask that it be ceased right away.”

Oak Bluffs resident Dawn McKenna said she had no major objections to the event, but asked it to be held on Tuesdays. “If the noise does become a problem, it’s going to most affect the Campground,” McKenna said. “The Campground has had a tradition on Wednesday nights of a community sing that begins at 8 pm. While this doesn’t attract the same crowd, if there is a problem and there’s noise, it’s definitely going to affect that.”

Board chair Brian Packish said that if the sound from the Jetty Jam at the Island Queen loading dock reaches the Tabernacle, where the community sing is held, the event would be stopped.

While the Jetty Jam organizers have reached out and gotten support from some abutters, the board wanted to see them get in contact with Jason Lew, whose home sits at the corner of Circuit Avenue Extension and Seaview Avenue.

Wanting to see a vote on the event before the board’s next meeting on July 13, Packish suggested holding a special meeting on Monday at 5 pm to give the organizers a chance to develop a comprehensive plan for crowd control, parking, police presence, and power-related issues, as well as conversations with harbormaster Todd Alexander, and Lew.

Balboni said he liked the idea of the event once the organizers tied up a few more loose ends, but added there was one part of the application he didn’t like. “Can we just take the ‘dancing on the jetty’ out of there,” he said, while laughing. “It’s just a bad idea in so many different ways.”



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