Story By Jenny Bowman
The Sunset Beach Concert Series does a lot more for the Brunswick community than provide a fun way to spend a summer night.
Community is the backbone that holds individuals together, whether it’s a family, church, town, school, government or social community. One community offering that not only benefits the locals and visitors, but also helps people in need is the Sunset Beach Concert Series, part of the Free Brunswick County Parks and Recreation Summer Concert and Movie program. This event serves the community in a down-home way, while offering nothing short of good-time music to be enjoyed by all.
Since 2012 the Sunset Beach Concert Series has been in full swing between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Concerts take place each Wednesday at 6:30 pm in Village Park. The concerts are family friendly and free to the public. Audience members often bring lawn chairs, a picnic and something to drink while they take in the show.
The series has 15 concerts scheduled for 2014, and each concert benefits a different local charity. With corporate, business and individual sponsorships, as well as some funding from the Town of Sunset Beach, the series is able to host different bands each week in addition to paying for the concerts’ production costs. Proceeds made at the concert go to the selected charity of the week.
But the concerts are free, right? Absolutely! The charities obviously don’t get money from admission fees, but they can raise funds in any way they choose, and most opt for a raffle. The charities simply sell raffle tickets for a number of prizes such as gift cards and even cash with numerous lucky winners, and then the charities keep the remaining proceeds.
The Sunset Beach Concerts are an example of how a few individuals, local businesses, musicians and a small community can come together to do something big.
In the past the South Brunswick Islands Shrine Club, Brunswick County Homeless Coalition, Communities In Schools, The First Tee of Brunswick County and many others have benefitted from this fantastic fundraising opportunity.
“The concerts are a great way to bring people together for a nice evening to listen to some music,” says Bill McGee of the South Brunswick Islands Shrine Club, which supports the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children across the nation.
“Everyone brings lawn chairs, they get together, sit and chat, eat a sandwich and lots of people get up and dance. It’s just a fun evening for everyone involved.”
Fred Thorne of Fred Thorne Realty coordinates the Sunset Beach Concerts each year, and he says that the committee tries to keep everything local. Thorne has been running the concerts since 2012 with committee members Wilson Sherrill, Anita August, Janie Withers, Steve Mullins and Denise Williams, who just showed up in Thorne’s office one day saying, “I want to help you with these concerts.”
Brunswick County Homeless Coalition, a nonprofit that raises money for people in emergency situations, participated in 2013. Board member Barbara Serafin says, “Not only is it a fun event, but it’s wonderful to see people who are compassionate and giving, so generous for giving to people in need or in homelessness, all come together for a fun evening. The committee members are a wonderful group of people to work with.”
In order to benefit from the concerts’ fundraising opportunities, organizations must be a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization and are required to complete an application to be considered for selection. The committee cooperatively selects the charities that will be featured each year based on qualifications, need and the organizations’ willingness to be involved and present during their event.
“They put in a lot of work!” Serafin says about the concert committee and participants. “And just to see the joy in us and the joy in Fred and to see all those people come together to help others, it’s just a wonderful experience.”
You can help, too, just by attending the concerts and enjoying a free show. If you purchase a raffle ticket and take part in the fundraiser, you are supporting local nonprofits that do great things for the Brunswick community.
As it turns out, more than 90 percent of the audience members are locals rather than visitors. Many of the booked musicians are local to Brunswick County and the surrounding areas. In addition, seven of the bands this summer are playing their only local shows at the Sunset Beach Concerts. The artists and music vary from country to bluegrass, hip-hop to jazz to rhythm and blues, beach music to party bands and much more. This summer The Embers featuring Craig Woolard (beach & variety), The Fat Jack Band (rhythm & blues), The Fantastic Shakers (variety & party) and Darrell Harwood (country) will be playing, to name a few.
This is a great way to spend a summer evening — pack a picnic, bring the family and even the dog — and stop by Village Park this summer for some great music and good times. Hope to see you there!
To learn more about the concerts visit SunsetBeachConcerts.com .
May 28: The Embers featuring Craig Woolard
June 4: Fat Jack Band
June 11: The Ginger Thompson Band
June 18: Jim Quick & Coastline
June 25: Tim Clark Band
July 2: Hip Pocket
July 9: Jackass Flats
July 16: Smokin Hot
July 23: Duke Ladd Band
July 30: Mark Roberts Band
August 6: The Dickens
August 13: Six Stylez
August 20: Darrell Harwood
August 27: Carolina Breakers
September 3: The Fantastic Shakers