stage at oceanfront

Virginia Beach Entertainment & Events

The Event Capital on the East Coast

By Kelsey Thomas

Visitors from all over the world visit the city of Virginia Beach annually for the beautiful beaches, great hospitality and long lineup of incredible events throughout the year. It has grown to become a premier city for entertaining, from large scale beachside festivals to interactive street entertainment. 

The long, mild summers and short, easy winters keep people outside longer and create the opportunity to host more outdoor events. Quickly rising to become the event capital on the East Coast, Virginia Beach is a special place that will always have something to do for visitors and locals alike, day or night. William Younce, the Director of Beach Events and IMGoing provided an inside scoop on the background behind all of the magic. 

“The city is extremely helpful in saying yes to some of the nontraditional ideas,” he said, highlighting that their recent Bulls and Barrels Beach Rodeo event was a huge success. “We have over 200 musical acts throughout the year, and some of that is included in our biggest festival, which is FunkFest in August with over 4,000 people there a night, and some of that is all the way down to a sidewalk performer at Live! On Atlantic on a Tuesday playing in front of 7 or 8 people at one time.”

Every night from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Live! On Atlantic takes over the resort area with five musical acts a night on Atlantic Avenue, two large bands on 17th and 24th Streets and then interactive entertainment on the closed streets. Street entertainment typically includes shows like magic acts, juggling performances, hula dancers, pirate skits and more. Many musicians are also stationed or strolling on the sidewalks. 

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During a typical week in the summertime, the resort area is loaded with free things to do. The Oceanfront Concert Series takes place every Wednesday and welcomes nationally named artists, like Andy Grammer, Marshall Tucker Band, and so much more. There is also a Beach Blanket Movie Series every Thursday on 33rd Street, where families can watch free films under the stars and on the sand. Then on the weekends, bigger events that draw larger crowds take place, like the annual Chalk the Walk, Pungo Offroad Monsters on the Beach, Jeep Fest and more. 

While Beach Events is the main operator behind much of the action at the Oceanfront, other big names have also found it to be a prime event location. Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams attracted thousands in April during his massive Something in the Water Festival and Live Nation hand-picked the resort area as the birthplace for the Beach It! Country Music Festival. Virginia Beach also annually hosts big competitions and classics like the Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships or, new this year, the JACKALOPE Festival featuring Tony Hawk and friends

Younce also agreed that Beach Events and other events have grown to share the space and collaborate. Their staff coordinates with the city and others to help with existing infrastructure, booking musical acts, etc. 

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*Any of the events noted above or in the calendar may be subject to change