Music on the Outer Banks

A Community Introduction:  Music on the Outer Banks

By Derek Baker

On any given day throughout the summer, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, salt is not the only thing in the air.  There is something more, something that affects all of the senses:  Music. 

The Outer Banks music scene is an eclectic mixture of people, ideas and sounds. Ranging from acoustic singer-songwriter and blues, to Folk and Rock, the music “scene” on the Outer Banks provides something for everyone.  The Outer Banks is also the location of a few well-put-together festivals, including a relatively new festival that has made waves in the local and regional community:  The Mustang Music Festival.  Other festivals include The Duck Jazz Festival, Shallowbag Bay Beach Music Festival, and The Outer Banks Bluegrass Island Festival.  Along with these festivals, Roanoke Island Festival Park, in Manteo, also hosts a summer-long music series, The Brew-Thru Summer Concert Series, which brings national and regional acts to the Outer Banks.

Local music has become somewhat of a tradition on the Outer Banks, with major venues such as Kelly’s, Port O’ Call, The Outer Banks Brewing Station, The Pit, as well as others, hosting band nights.  Although many of these venues bring in regional and national acts, they stay true to their roots by hosting local bands and musicians throughout the year.  Some smaller venues include Art’s Place, Longboard’s Bar and Grill and Trio. These are only a few of the venues that host local music, with over thirty other bars, restaurants and pubs that contribute their spaces to live music.

Also among the venues the support and cultivate local music is the Outer Banks Jubilee.  Opening its doors last year, the Jubilee hosts its own variety shows.  These variety shows combine music from all genres and ages.  This venue has begun hosting an actual “Local Band Night.”  Local Band Night, in which local artists are invited to perform, gives musicians an outlet to creatively contribute with one-another and to gain publicity by working together with the theater to promote local music.  The next Local Band Night is scheduled for the seventh of June.   

There is something for everyone in the Outer Banks Music Scene.  For those who like classic rock, the bands High Tide and Betty on Patrol provide a taste of days gone by with their powerhouse female front-women.  Other full bands that have made an impression on the local music scene include:  Jonny Waters and Company, TR3, The Zach Mexico Band, as well as countless others.  For those with a taste for acoustic and solo music, a multitude of acts play on a regular basis at many of the venues around the Outer Banks.  A few of these musicians include Graham Outten, Phil Watson, Scott Franson, Jeremy Russell and Laura Martier.  These are only a few artists of note, joining numerous other acts in the local musical community.  To find out more about these artists, and other artists that supply their talent to the Outer Banks, you can visit

This article is an introduction of sorts.  Over the next few months, the Albemarle Tradewinds will be publishing a “local musician’s profile,” in which a band, or two, will be interviewed and written about; the purpose of this is to promote the local music scene, its members, and the very make-up of what creates such a powerful and entrancing community of artists.  It is the hope of this writer to make artist profiles a regular contribution to this magazine, to spotlight talent and to introduce the community to the musicians that may not otherwise be know.  Included in this article series will be coverage of the festivals listed herein, as well as other events that cultivate art and music on the Outer Banks.  If you are interested in being profiled, or have events that you would like to be publicized, please feel free to contact Derek Baker, at             

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