Wilmington, N.C.- It was only a few years ago that I developed and rehearsed an answer for all my friends in other parts of the country. Many of them had never heard of Wilmington, North Carolina- or the Cape Fear Region- and so they’d ask “So, what is it like.”
Obviously you have to talk about the proximity to the ocean. That portion of the answer is mandated, regardless of how much time you actually spend on the beach. People want to know that you take advantage of something that maybe they only get to see once a year on vacation. Depending on where the friend lived, you’d probably also talk about the mild winters, and charming southern downtown.
And then they’d ask the follow up, the question that was always meant to stump me, “Is there anything you don’t like.”
“Yeah,” I’d tell them, “I miss big concerts. I miss live shows.”
Again this was a few years ago.
Back then we did have the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, which is a wonderful place to see a show but seems to mainly book performers who are on the way up. For bigger names there was The Azalea Festival, but that was only once a year. If you wanted to see a headliner, in those days, you had to either drive to Raleigh or maybe down to Myrtle Beach.
The Live Oak Pavilion changed all that. In my opinion, the outdoor state-of-the-art concert venue, with a capacity of 7,200, is the best thing to happen to Wilmington in years. It opened during the middle of the pandemic but still managed to book high profile names- both in music and comedy.
In recent years Live Oak Pavilion has brought in Josh Groban, Darius Rucker, Miranda Lambert, Santana, along with funny men Jim Gaffigan and Trevor Noah.
Even though no shows are scheduled during January or February, this is a fun time of the year because the spring and summer shows are announced. Shows are still in the works, but here is the list of spring and summer shows that have already been announced.:
- Chase Rice April 22
- Walker Hayes April 29
- Robert Plant May 10
- Incubus May 23
- Dave Matthews May 30 & May 31
- Parker McCollum June 3
- Rebelution June 16
- Barenaked Ladies July 14
- Tyler Childers August 18
The upcoming show that seems to be getting the most attention and anticipation locally are the two performances by The Dave Matthews Band. Tickets will go on sale on February 17. To purchase tickets for any of the other shows, and for more information check out the Live Oak Pavilion website.