The Martha’s Vineyard Concert Series continues through the summer season with a number of national touring artists coming to music venues across the Island. From Grammy Award winners to the best regional acts around, this year’s series has something for everyone.
According to Joe Chambers of CK Communications group, a media representative for the concert series, Innovation Arts and Entertainment CEO Adam Epstein launched the string of concerts a few years ago. The initiative intends to build support for the live music scene on Martha’s Vineyard, and has since grown from a few concerts in the summertime, to more than two dozen concerts split between the Loft, the Old Whaling Church, and the Performing Arts Center (PAC).
“During the pandemic, the M.V. Concert Series and Adam’s team partnered with the Loft, they did about $100,000 in renovations — a full sound and lighting overhaul to really transform the space so it is a professional performing space unlike anything else in the area,” Chambers said. A number of artists will perform at the Loft for the concert series, with an immense range of different genres and eras being represented; Chambers said “there’s something for everyone this summer.”
“It’s not just for the young crowd, it’s not just for the year-round residents either. It’s a bit of everything to just support live music in general on the Vineyard,” he added.
For Chambers, the Island is such a special place — he wants to highlight the beauty of the Vineyard by establishing it as a place for people to come and experience music of all kinds. With multiple Grammy Award winners on the lineup, including not just album awards, but Lifetime Achievement Awards, the series is studded with stars: The Blind Boys of Alabama and Don McLean, just to name a couple.
Coming up in the series is Los Angeles band Andy Frasco and the U.N. playing their spin on American blues rock on Sunday, August 14, at the Loft with special guest The Outskirts. On Monday, August 15, Ryan Montbleau and his band will perform some folk, blues, and funk at the Loft alongside The Ghost of Paul Revere. Special guest Wolftrap will also play that evening. On Sunday, August 21, punk reggae band Bumpin Uglies will draw a younger crowd to the Loft. Dalton and the Sheriffs perform on Monday, August 22, and Low Cut Connie follows up on Wednesday, August 24. On Friday, August 26, Ripe brings the funk to the Loft alongside special guest The Collection. Sammy Rae and the Friends team up with Neighbor for a legendary show on Saturday, August 27, and finally, alt rock band Guster will wrap up the performances at the Loft on Sunday, August 28.
At the PAC, five-time Grammy Award-winning singing group Ladysmith Black Mambazo gets on-stage on Tuesday, August 16, then Mr. American Pie himself, Don McLean, will be at the PAC on Saturday, August 20. World-renowned gospel group the Blind Boys of Alabama head to the PAC on Sunday, August 21, then the shows at the PAC conclude with Indigo Girls on Tuesday, August 23.
A few special performances will also be held at the Old Whaling Church — Livingston Taylor and Isaac Taylor take the stage on Thursday, August 11, and Chris Thile will be live in concert on Monday, August 15, to benefit MVYRadio.
Chambers said the Patriot Party Boat is partnering with the concert series to provide transportation to and from the Cape after shows at the Loft. The private charter accommodates those who want to come and see the shows by picking up a group prior to the concerts and shuttling the same group back to the Cape afterward. “It’s nice because you can get back the night of the concert instead of trying to figure out the Steamship or having to stay overnight,” Chambers said.
According to Chambers, bringing national attention to the unique nature of Martha’s Vineyard and highlighting all the different music venues are some central goals of Innovation Arts and Entertainment and the concert series. “It’s a big celebration — it allows us to connect with a broader audience, and is a little more of a diverse offering than we do at Beach Road Weekend,” Chambers said. “We want to make this place a real destination for folks who are touring New England and want to make a stop to play on the Island.”
The concert series goes through the end of August. Check out the lineup and get tickets by heading to mvconcertseries.com.