OCEAN CITY — While mum’s the word on potential acts, the resort’s 2020 special events package presented this week could include two significant concerts next summer.
During Monday’s Tourism Commission meeting, TEAM Productions’ Bob Rothermel outlined plans for a series of fireworks shows, special events and summer concerts potentially slated for next year. On Monday, although he played the details close to his vest, Rothermel outlined plans for two potential ticketed concerts on the beach in the downtown area.
“I have offers in for beach concerts for the first weekend in July and the last weekend in August,” he said. “Unfortunately, I can’t divulge any names at this point, but I can tell you the acts I’ve had cursory discussions with could be significant additions to the town’s special events calendar.”
Rothermel recalled a time in the 1990s when he planned to bring significant beach concerts to Ocean City as part of the larger special events calendar during the summer season. He said he was at a critical point in the contract negotiations with the major acts when he was pressed by a then-city councilmember to divulge the name and it ended up backfiring on him and the town.
“After getting pressed for a name, I gave up that it was Alan Jackson, who was extremely popular at the time,” he said. “All of the papers reported Alan Jackson was coming to Ocean City and I got a call from his agent that very day and it all fell through. That’s why I can’t publicly divulge any names at this point.”
Mayor Rick Meehan said he remembered that situation from the 1990s very well.
“We were trying to bring Alan Jackson and the Beach Boys for two different concerts, but the council at that time turned them down,” he said. “There was such a public backlash that we were able to bring the Beach Boys back, but we never were able to bring Alan Jackson back.”
While it was too soon to divulge any names associated with the potential concerts, Rothermel said the acts with which he has had contact represented considerable draws for the resort. In the 1990s, the Beach Boys concert on the beach drew close to 10,000 and Rothermel said the tentative acts with whom he has had discussions could approach that number.
“I’m estimating each artist would draw around 6,000 to 7,000 attendees,” he said. “I’m not sure at this point if we would want to have the concerts at night or in the daylight. When we brought in the Beach Boys in the 90s, we did a mid-afternoon show and people were really receptive to that.”
Rothermel said if it all worked out, he would consider bringing back the popular beach chair concept from the Beach Boys concert back in the 1990s. Attendees who paid a premium ticket price for that concert was given a beach chair for reserved seating with the artist’s name on it and the date along with the logo for the summer concert series.
“I’d like to bring back the reserved seating beach chair concept,” he said. “We might not have the artist’s name on it, but we could have the town’s logo and the summer concert series logo.”
Meehan said those reserved seating beach chairs from the Beach Boys concert decades ago still popped up on the beach 20 years later.
“For I’d say 20 years, those chairs kept showing back up on the beach,” he said. “That’s how long people held onto them. I think that’s a great idea.”
While not finalized, the first proposed beach concert would be held during the week following the Fourth of July from July 5 to July 10 with a preferred date of Thursday, July 9. The second ticketed beach concert is tentatively slated for the last week before Labor Day from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3 with a preferred date of Thursday, Sept. 3. The package proposed by Rothermel on Monday also includes the usual free concert at Northside Park in connection with the ArtX 2020 event on Aug. 22, but the act for that free concert has not yet been nailed down.
The summer concerts are just part of the larger package of special events proposed by Rothermel and TEAM Productions next summer. The package also includes fireworks every Sunday night in the north end of town in conjunction with the popular Sundaes in the Park event from June 14 to Sept. 6, along with fireworks in the downtown Boardwalk area every Monday night from June 15 to Sept. 7.
In addition, Rothermel on Monday proposed changes to the increasingly popular OCtoberfest events next fall. In recent years, OCtoberfest has been spread over two weekends loosely around Halloween including the beach maze, the pumpkin races and Boardwalk pet parade along with other events.
However, because Halloween falls on a Saturday next year, Rothermel proposed consolidating the OCtoberfest events on a single weekend. The thinking is many families that typically attend the events will be trick-or-treating or going to other Halloween events on the actual holiday and consolidating the events might draw more visitors while reducing costs etc.