Wilmington’s signature sunshine beams across Pier 33, highlighting the clean lines of Port City Marina’s new soundstage. As the sun sinks lower, strands of twinkling lights illuminate the oncoming dusk, which falls later and later these days. Overhead, the new band shell stretches its open limbs, its sleek, modern lines accenting the unparalleled views of the Cape Fear River.
Concert season is upon us, and Port City Marina is ready to Rock the Dock.
Starting with March 17’s Shamrock and Roll, Rock the Dock will cater to concert-goers keen on outdoor festivals, those who like their music against a natural backdrop. As the music lineup gains momentum, new artists and name-brand musicians across a multitude of genres, will find their way to Pier 33, with featured shows slated for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and of course, over Labor Day weekend.
BMG and Full House Productions, behind some of North—and South—Carolina’s most vibrant events, are filling the band shell with music. From Myrtle Beach’s Carolina Country Music Fest, including artists like Tim McGraw and Keith Urban, to Charlotte’s hip après-workday concert series, Alive after Five, BMG and Full House Productions will amplify the sound, and the energy, around Pier 33’s floating festival venue.
“BMG’s Bob Durkin has really brought Charlotte night life to life,” says Shannon Elmore, of Whirlwind Promotions, “and we’re excited to enhance the scene around Wilmington’s Northern Riverfront.”
The sound quality will be stellar, with state-of-the-art equipment ensuring a well-rounded sound show, both fore and aft; and happily, size won’t matter— small bands will sound bigger, while big bands will sound just right.
The energy’s contagious, and the buzz surrounding Port City Marina keeps growing. Slated for a summer arrival, well-known restaurants Blackfinn Ameripub and Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina will bring affordable food, signature cocktails, and a lively waterfront vibe, while the extended Riverwalk will run beside the two venues, before meandering past the up-and-coming City Park.
Rock the Dock shows will house up to 4000 concert-goers, festival style—milling about under the twinkling lights; singing and dancing; wandering the perimeter to enjoy the panoramic views of the Cape Fear River. There’s talk of a “Country Fest” at the Pier, with household names being tossed around—“nothing confirmed yet, but we’re smiling,” says Elmore— and Vida’s Tequila Bar will boast the most scenic deck in town, overlooking the sights and sounds of Pier 33.
The USS North Carolina looms in the distance, as though presiding over the merriment, while the Cape Fear River flows alongside Stage Left. Stage Right, it’s the floating VIP section, the bobbing backstage pass—Rock Star parking, in one of Port City Marina’s 145+ boat slips.
Sure, walking and biking there’s a cinch, and rocking across the dock is always recommended, but as the sun sets across the Cape Fear River, and those lights start to twinkle, there’s nothing like sailing to the show.