First Responders Day Added To Inaugural Jellyfish Festival

OCEAN CITY — Before there is a Fresh Friday or a Classic Saturday at the first-ever Jellyfish Festival in June, there will be First-Responders Day to kick-off the inaugural event after resort officials approved the change last week.

Last year, the Mayor and Council approved a roughly $198,000 investment in the proposed Jellyfish Music Festival slated for June 2019. The event will feature a town-wide live entertainment festival combined with action sports, family-oriented interactive entertainment and arts and culture. The Jellyfish Festival will utilize the town’s best assets including a state-of-the-art stage on the beach downtown featuring well-known acts along with other smaller concerts and other activities on the beach and at the Ocean Bowl skatepark and private venues.

The Jellyfish Festival is set for June 21-23 on the beach downtown in and around the Jellyfish Tentacle Village. The three-day event will be broken up into essentially three smaller-themed nights starting with Fresh Friday on June 21 with the scheduled entertainment catering to a younger, millennial crowd with acts such as Ballyhoo and Badfish, for example. The next day, the festival heats up with Classic Saturday, featuring acts catering to a slightly older demographic including Styx, Crack the Sky and the Rayvns, for example. On Sunday, the festival transitions to a family-friendly, “music with a message” theme with acts such as Newsboys and Crowder.

Before all of that happens, however, the inaugural Jellyfish Festival will feature a First Responders Day honoring police, firefighters, paramedics and armed forces servicemen and women, a late addition to the program approved this week. The main stage and fitness zone areas around the village will be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 20.

Jellyfish Festival promoter Brad Hoffman told the Mayor and Council on Monday the added First Responders Day came at the request of the Maryland State Fireman’s Association, which will hold its annual convention in Ocean City during the week leading up to the Jellyfish Festival culminating with the traditional parade on Wednesday.

“The mayor reached out to me and said the Maryland State Fireman’s Association expressed an interest in taking part in the festival in some way,” said Hoffman. “It’s going to be a great way to kick off the festival and celebrate our first responders. It will also provide a good stress test for the rest of the festival and create a great feel for the event.”

Hoffman said the First Responders Day will feature live music in the area of the main stage including a video slide show on the big stage honoring local and national first responders.

“It’s going to be a great look,” he said. “We’re going to have the honor guard bringing the colors into the festival area to kick off the event. It’s just going to be a great way to kick off the festival.”

Mayor Rick Meehan thanked Hoffman and the festival promoters for partnering with the town to include the fireman’s association in the event.

“I want to thank you for taking that ball and running with it,” he said. “The firefighters are one of our longest standing conventions and we’re proud to host them. This will be a great way of honoring them and all of the first responders and making them part of this great event.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.