The free Music by the Sea concert series kicks off tomorrow evening with a special 10th Anniversary concert beginning at 6:30 pm at the St Johns County Pier Park and Pavilion at St Augustine Beach, according to an announcement received by Historic City News from Civic Association Vice President Bill Jones.
The free concerts have been funded by the non-profit St Augustine Beach Civic Association with help from the St Johns County Tourist Development Council; but, Jones says the future for those grants is not so clear.
“The TDC grant process is being revamped and we are not sure how, or if, the concert series will fit into the new guidelines”, Jones said. “We are trying to be supportive of that process and remain hopeful that our free concerts will still be eligible for funding.”
What started a decade ago with a band and about 50 people has evolved into a twenty-two week free concert event that can attract crowds of a thousand or more, Jones said.
Robert and Andrea Samuels had the idea that a weekly free concert, featuring a local band and a signature meal from a local eatery, would be a combination people could not resist — ten years later, people park blocks away to join in the fun each Wednesday from mid-May until October 1.
“We wanted to enhance the tourist experience for our visitors and showcase local music and food”, said St Augustine Beach Civic Association President Robert Samuels. “With the support of our members, local musicians and our free concert series has become a summertime tradition.”
This week’s local restaurant is the Purple Olive and dinner is served beginning at 6:00 p.m. Patrons are reminded to bring a lawn chair or blanket.
Except for a couple of rare occasions, Robert and Andrea Samuels have attended the concerts every Wednesday for the last 10 years and they have always been the “driving force” behind the Music by the Sea concert series.
“Their level of commitment to the community is nothing short of incredible,” Jones said of the couple. “Besides playing host and hostess for the free concerts, they also schedule the bands and restaurants for the concerts and book the restaurants for the annual Taste of the Beach.”
This year, when the county raised the fees it charges the Civic Association for use of the Pier Pavilion, TD Bank and The Bailey Group stepped in to offset the increase.
“Our show will start 30 minutes earlier and will end 30 minutes later than normal and features three different acts that are a “little bigger than usual,” according to the announcement. “It will be an evening full of surprises for our concert guests and will be our way of saying thanks to the people that have been coming every Wednesday for the last decade.”
The complete Music by the Sea Concert schedule is available online at www.thecivicassociation.org