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Music Scene on Hilton Head Island

By Erin Laytham Lentz

There’s something about an island, swimming pools, cold concoctions, sandy beaches and live music. One cannot deny the happiness a good, live music act can bring while guests enjoy happy hour or dinner on vacation. The Lowcountry is jam-packed with musical talent and on any given night there are solo, acoustic acts, duos, small ensembles and full out rock bands playing a variety of genres in bar and restaurant venues all around town. If you dig, laid-back island tunes, classic rock favorites, jazz, country, metal and alternative rock your stay on Hilton Head will be very satisfying.

Known as an island favorite, Gregg Russell has been performing for vacationing families in Harbour Town under the Liberty Oak Tree for decades. Many come back with their own children to clap, laugh and sing along to his entertaining show that is meant for kids but full of adult humor. Under that same tree on Saturday nights is an energetic new local band called the Nice Guys that play pop hits that get any crowd dancing. Harbour Town is a great stop to grab a bite, take beautiful photos, shop and catch a live music show.

In an area known as the Triangle (Reilley Plaza) exists several restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Home to favorite late night spot, The Boardroom (serving drinks only), a true music fan and party goer will enjoy music every night of the week featuring national/regional acts coming through on tour as well as local favorite rock bands, Groove Town Assault and Naytiv. It is a hip, late night club that is usually packed and the music acts play until 1am. Just around the corner, and very well-known for their award-winning burgers, is The Charbar. The music acts that come through are very talented and draw crowds to their outdoor patio equipped with fire pit for cooler winter nights.

The Coligny area is a fantastic one stop spot bustling with Happy Hours, seafood restaurants and music at every turn. Musical acts perform at restaurants: Rockfish, Frosty Frog, Big Bamboo and on the mainstage in Coligny Plaza. There are so many great local bands; many bounce around to their favorite venues on rotation. It is not unusual to hear the popular band Cranford Hollow or be meandering by a crowded,  outdoor patio catching the sweet sounds a local acoustic solo act such as Ben Hughey or Taylor Kent. Across the street sits the infamous Tikihut, a beach bar that makes fancy frozen drinks with cherries, hosts sand volleyball tournaments and faces the ocean. The popular beach hangout is also home to a full music calendar both day and night. The variety of music that comes through Tikihut is a load of fun. Picture lots of vacationers in bathing suits, sunny skies, frozen daiquiris and live music.

Scattered all over the island are more than 250 restaurants. A large percentage of them offer some sort of music on their weekly calendars. A local musician named Panchengo can be heard singing and beating steel drums with his Spanish inspired, upbeat music at Aunt Chillida’s. A Lowcountry Backyard is a southern-inspired, casual restaurant where guests listen to musicians performing in the courtyard.  Up on the North end, sits a little gem called Ruby Lee’s where some of the island’s best jazz flows nightly.  The Hilton Head Distillery features a Friday Night Flights Happy Hour with local duo, Baby Gray & The Hippie.  Shelter Cove Towne Center, which aside from its’ individual restaurants having live music, also hosts a weekly Saturday Night Concert Series on the green. This is a fun family event where you get to be outside and for children to play and run around.

Want to stay dialed in? The Hilton Head Islandcast-Powered by Palmera is a new and exciting resource to uncover all things Hilton Head. Weekly podcasts feature local musicians who perform live and are interviewed by show host, Mandyislandcast Rosenberry. Show segments are recorded on the island and produced by Chris Rosenberry. Visitors can subscribe and archive past podcasts as well as tune in regularly for weekly updates. There is also a great music resource used mostly by locals, a Facebook page titled, Who’s Playing In The Hilton Head Area Tonight? Utilized by the musicians themselves, it is an up to the minute listing of who is playing where. Once you’ve grown familiar with some of the venues and the acts, you can check their music calendars on their websites or download the music app, Bandsintown to receive notifications and track the artists you wish to see. The music in Hilton Head is nothing short of amazing. You could spend a week just heading out to hear a different act each day and night. Chances are even if you aren’t looking for it, the music will find you as you explore the shopping, activities and sights the island has to offer.

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