While Jams on the Sand, Asbury Park’s summer concert series, may already be one of your annual traditions, each year it proves to keep things fresh and jamming with new lineups and additions and this year is no different. 

TOES IN THE SAND, JAMS IN THE AIR

Originally launched as an effort to build up weekday business, Jams on the Sand continues to build and grow year in and year out. Now in its fourth year, openers on the national level were also added to the weekly shows as well as official after-parties at The Wonder Bar each week. 

“Every year it’s a 100-percent new lineup,” said Edward Maier, events coordinator at Madison Marquette. “I try to do no repeats. There was a repeat from the first year to the second year and that was because of a cancellation.”

According to Maier, adding openers on the national level this year is definitely something new and these bands are either playing on the national circuit or are the biggest of the regional bands here. 

Jams on the Sand is for those 21 and over and is a free concert series held rain or shine. Each Thursday night it kicks off at 5 p.m. and The Anchor’s Bend offers happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. The music gets started around 6 p.m. 

“For the most part the headliners play two sets,” said Maier. “Unless there’s a split like there are a couple dates where I have co-headliners, which are Peter Moore and The National Reserve and the last one Bella’s Bartok/Kat Wright.” 

Jams on the Sand truly gets bigger and better each summer and the numbers speak for themselves. According to Maier, the number of attendees has grown by about 30 percent. 

While a summer concert series is not a novel idea, Jams on the Sand puts its own unique spin on the notion. 

“Well, I think that a lot of towns tend to do this, but it’s more cover bands or things that everybody knows,” he said. “I think there’s been a thing about people being able to not know the band, certain bands everybody knows, or a lot of people know, and they’ll come out and it will be extremely busy. But there’s a lot of bands that no one’s ever heard about and they seem to always enjoy it. 

“The series has definitely gotten a reputation for picking the talent,” he added.

THE LINEUP AND AFTERPARTIES 

While the first show of the series took place on Thursday, June 20, featuring The Main Squeeze with Ron Artis II and The Truth, concertgoers will keep dancing in the sand until Aug. 29. 

Each year the lineup encompasses not only all different bands, but also bands from all over the country. “This series has people from West Coast to Canada to Florida to Boston, from all over,” said Maier. “I have to start booking it out in September.”

“So basically, when the series ends I start booking because it seems to be bands are able to do it as an anchor in the festival circuit because they’re generally not playing on a Thursday.”

On June 27 enjoy Percy Hill with After Funk followed by Zach Deputy with The Shady Street Show Band on July 4. Next up will be Southern Avenue with MIke Montrey Band on July 11 and Brandon “Taz” Niederauer with Dogs in a Pile on July 18.

Cris Jacobs with Evanoff will jam the night away on July 25. The month of August will kick off with Peter Moore and The National Reserve with Aubrey Haddard. On Aug. 8 the show will be E.N Young with the Pembertones followed by Jazz is PHSH with The Funky Dawgs Brass Band on Aug. 15.

Mystic Bowie’s Talking Dreads with Secret Sound will perform on Aug. 22 and Bella’s Bartok and Kat Wright with The Artisanals will finish the series on Aug. 29. 

“Peter Moore is a personal favorite of mine,” said Maier. “So Peter Moore was brought to me by one of the agencies that I work with all the time and a couple people had written me online and said ‘you should look this guy up’ and then his album that just came out last year and his new EP was produced by Donald Fagen of Steely Dan.

“So I started listening to the album and I can’t get enough of it. It has a little bit of everything. It has a little bit of country twang, it has a little bit of old school rock n’ roll. It has some of that Steely Dan influence. And he’s from Fort Worth, Texas.” 

The after-parties at The Wonder Bar will follow each show, but will be ticketed unlike the free Jams on the Sand concerts. Although they aren’t completely free, Maier shares the tickets are pretty low-cost with ticket prices less than what they would normally be due to help from sponsors and everything else. 

After holding three or four after parties at The Wonder Bar last year with large turnouts of 200-250 people, it made sense to hold them after each show this year. According to Maier, bands kept asking him to play that had already played the beach so the after-parties allowed him to grant them another opportunity to perform. 

“Some of the bands had already played for the beach and this also gave me a way to either not do repeats on the beach and have the after-parties like Midnight North … the leader for that band is Phil Lesh’s son from the Grateful Dead, so they almost sell out every time they play The Wonder Bar, anyway, and they played the beach two years ago,” he said. “There was like a thousand people out there for Graham so it’s a good way to have them still play the night.”

While the after-parties are ticketed, concertgoers can still get a good deal. “There is an ability to save money by buying a season pass for the after-parties so I think the total was $120 something, so you could save like $50 or something like that by buying all because most of the people do come night after night,” said Maier.

Already in its fourth year with new additions constantly happening, like added after parties, Jams on the Sand isn’t slowing down anytime soon. 

“Yeah, you know, we’ve had great luck with sponsorship because of growth, which really, really helps,” said Maier in response to continuing Jams on the Sand for years to come.  “The more sponsors there are, since it is a free event and 21-plus, the ability to have those or the sponsors have the ability to keep bringing it back.”