This summer, music at the Jersey Shore features a perennial punk-rock festival making its first appearance on the Atlantic City beach, a casino getting back in the music game, and a season’s worth of quality shows in concert halls and barrooms from Asbury Park to Cape May.
There’s even more going on up and down the coast than what’s listed below. Smooth R&B hitmaker Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds is at the Tropicana in Atlantic City on June 8. Pop duo Twenty One Pilots play Boardwalk Hall on June 18. Folk songwriter Steve Forbert visits the Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts & Sciences on June 20. And Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre performs on June 21 as part of the Somers Point Concert Series.
In Delaware, besides the Firefly Festival, is the Bottle & Cork in Dewey Beach, the busiest music venue in the 302. It brings in the contemporary country band Midland on May 31 and American songwriting hero Steve Earle on June 16.
OVATION HALL AT OCEAN RESORT
When the Revel casino opened in Atlantic City in 2012, it made a splash with the biggest of names, with Beyoncè and Kanye West breaking in the resort’s Ovation Hall. But since Revel went bust and the property reopened as Ocean Resort last year, the entertainment agenda has been nearly nonexistent.
That will change with Ocean luring a handful of marquee acts from the Hard Rock and promoter Bowery Presents booking the room. On the schedule are the country duo Brooks & Dunn on June 7, funk maestro Charlie Wilson on June 29, rockabilly revivalists Stray Cats on Aug. 13, and enduring country star Reba McEntire on Aug. 31. oceanac.com
Wu-Tang Clan’s breakout hip-hop debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), turned 25 last fall, and the entire Staten Island collective kicked off the 2019 celebrations of the RZA-produced opus with two shows in January at the Franklin Music Hall in Philadelphia. Now, the Shaolin crew’s tour brings Wu-Tang Clan to Atlantic City on June 15 at the Event Center at the Borgata.
The Las Vegas residency has become a standard career move for pop stars tired of touring. But then they get itchy to get back on the road. Last summer, Britney Spears left the desert for the Borgata. This year, it’s Aerosmith. After parking itself at the Park MGM in Vegas for a couple of months, the Steven Tyler- and Joe Perry-led Boston band plays the Event Center at the Borgata on Aug. 16 and 18. Finally at the Borgata, Miranda Lambert stops by the casino on the tail end of her summer tour, Aug. 31. theborgata.com
The biggest annual camping and music festival on the East Coast will celebrate its eighth year in a bucolic setting just off Route 1 on the way to the Delaware beaches, June 21 through 23 at the Woodlands at Dover International Speedway. The setting is the main attraction at the exceedingly well-run Firefly Festival.
This year’s headliners — Panic! at the Disco, Travis Scott, and Post Malone — aren’t so impressive, but there are worthy acts on the undercard, from Odd Future rapper-producer Tyler the Creator to Aussie wordsmith Courtney Barnett to the Philly rock quartet Hop Along. fireflyfestival.com
VANS WARPED TOUR
In 2018, the traveling punk-rock summer camp known as the Vans Warped Tour hung up its skateboard shoes as a full-scale touring enterprise. But is the last time ever really the last time? This year, Warped is back for a 25th-anniversary go ‘round, making one of its only three stops on the Atlantic City beach.
The multistage, 50-plus-band bill includes Circa Survive, the Starting Line, Blink-182, the Offspring, the Menzingers, Bad Religion, and many more, playing June 29 and 30. Look for carnival-like attractions between sets, such as a human cannonball. There are no plans to revive the Atlantic City’s fabled Diving Horse, however; PETA is a sponsor. vanswarpedtour.com
OCEAN CITY MUSIC PIER
The boardwalk concert hall built in 1929 has a strong selection of baby-boomer acts this summer. There’s a one-two punch with two of the most dazzling guitarists alive playing on back-to-back nights: blues great Buddy Guy on June 24 and British songwriter (and Montclair resident) Richard Thompson on June 25. Boz Scaggs delivers the dirty “Lowdown” on July 1, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers the Zombies play on Aug. 19. ocnj.us
CAPE MAY CONVENTION HALL
The indomitable Mavis Staples is turning 80 in July, an anniversary the gospel-singing life force has been celebrating with Mavis & Friends tribute shows in New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles. The voice behind such Staple Singers hits as “I’ll Take You There” and several recent albums with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy has another new one in We Get By, a collaboration with Ben Harper. Hear Staples on July 31 in Cape May. capemaycity.com
STONE PONY, ASBURY LANES, & ASBURY PARK CONVENTION HALL
A trip to Asbury Park, the “boardwalk town where almost everything is tinged with a touch of fraud,” as Bruce Springsteen put it in his Born to Run memoir, is a visit to the busiest non-casino Shore-town music scene on the Mid-Atlantic coast.
The Mavericks do the Stone Pony on June 1 and 2, and the legendary club’s Summerstage has Southside Johnny on July 6. Asbury Lanes hosts Mountain Goats on July 22. And the Paramount Theatre at Asbury Park Conventional Hall brings in Electric Hot Tuna and the David Bromberg Quintet on Aug. 16. stoneponyonline.com, asburylanes.com, asburyparkhall.com
HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO
In its second summer, the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock is again full-up with contemporary country and pop acts and baby-boomer bands. The season starts off with 1990s nostalgia: Collective Soul and the Gin Blossoms on May 25, and Live and Bush on June 7. The Nashville quartet Little Big Town arrive June 8, a cappella quintet Pentatonix play June 9, Beach Boy Brian Wilson is June 14, and Yes is June 15. Tim McGraw performs June 28 and 29, Earth Wind & Fire blazes on July 6, and two big country stars arrive in August: Brad Paisley on the 9th and Keith Urban on the 17th. Mary J. Blige rolls into town on July 20. hardrockhotelatlanticcity.com
LIZZY ROSE MUSIC ROOM