The Best Music Festivals on the Beach in Florida
Tortuga Music Festival, Fort Lauderdale
Packing a serious punch of superstar performers every year, the Tortuga Music Festival is the ultimate three-day live music concert series directly on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. Featuring a toes-in-the-sand mix of country, rock, and roots, big headliners have included Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Sheryl Crow, Flo Rida, Zac Brown Band, and more. The annual spring concert is held in April and raises funds for the Rock The Ocean Foundation, an ocean conservation initiative. So not only do you get to listen to great live music with a killer view, the funds raised by ticket sales go toward a good cause.
SunFest, West Palm Beach
You can arrive by land or sea to Florida’s largest music and art waterfront festival in West Palm Beach. SunFest is a four-day extravaganza of international recording artists from a range of genres. Big names have included Snoop Dogg, 311, Lenny Kravitz, Earth Wind & Fire, Ed Sheeran, Pitbull, Beach Boys, Michael Bolton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Santana, and more. Held along scenic Flagler Drive on the waterfront in downtown West Palm Beach, day-to-night concerts are the main attraction, but there’s also an art district, floating cocktail bars along the seawall, and a spectacular fireworks show on the water. SunFest takes place every year in May.
Ultra Music Festival, Miami
Miami is grand central station for live music in Florida, and all the biggest superstars in the industry include the city on their concert tours. But for EDM fans, one of the hottest tickets every year is Ultra Music Festival. The festival outgrew its former location along the bayfront in Downtown Miami and has moved to the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park & Miami Marine Stadium — located on a tropical island just off the coast of the mainland. The multi-day electronic music event happens every March and attracts more than 150,000 fans from around the world to hear performances by David Guetta, Tiësto, Afrojack, deadmau5, The Chainsmokers, and more.
Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Clearwater
What first started out as a concert on the back of a flatbed truck 40 years ago has turned into a world-class international jazz festival on the Gulf of Mexico. The Clearwater Jazz Holiday is a four-day event that draws tens of thousands of attendees to beautiful Coachman Park. Held every year in October, the festival’s diverse line-up includes everything from smooth jazz and blues to rock and folk sounds. Expect performances by an impressive combo of new comers and seasoned pros. Legends who have graced the stage include Tony Bennett, Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago, Bonnie Raitt, Trombone Shorty, The Avett Brothers, Esperanza Spalding, and more.
Key West Songwriters Festival, Key West
The largest songwriters festival in the world takes place on the funky island of Key West, known for its creative community of musicians and artists. Featuring more than 200 artists and more than 50 shows, the Key West Songwriters Festival takes place every year in May over the course of five days at a variety of venues throughout the island. Artists perform on the waterfront at the Sand Bar Ocean Pavilion at the Southernmost Beach Resort, at the Ocean Key Resort Sunset Pier, at the Truman Waterfront Amphitheater, and at the many infamous bars and restaurants on Duval Street. There’s even a sunset performance aboard one of Fury’s sprawling catamarans.
Springing The Blues Festival, Jacksonville Beach
Kick off the balmy springtime season at the beachfront Springing The Blues Festival at the Seawalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach. Directly on the Atlantic Ocean, the three-day festival brings together local and national talent on two scenic stages with views of the sand and sea. First established in 1990, the annual April festival draws hundreds of thousands of fans each year. Kick your shoes off and dance in the sand. And good news: it’s free.
Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam, Panama City Beach
The biggest names in country music descend to the sandy shores along Panama City Beach for a blockbuster waterfront concert series. Because of it’s amazing location on the Gulf of Mexico and huge headliners, the three-day Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam is always well-attended and attracts crowds far and wide. Headliners have included Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, and more. The music festival takes place every year on Labor Day Weekend. What a spectacular way to close out summer on the coast.
30A Songwriters Festival, South Walton
Instead of one giant concert in a single location, every year the ingenious promoters of the 30A Songwriters Festival book more than 175 artists to play in 25 venues all along scenic Highway 30A—that gorgeous stretch of road that separates the aquamarine Gulf of Mexico from land. Think laid-back, stripped down performances where songwriters get to perform their poetic ensembles for intimate crowds at places like the Old Florida Fish House in Seagrove Beach, Bud & Alley’s in Seaside, the Rosemary Beach Town Hall and the Gully Amphitheater at Gulf Place. It’s the perfect opportunity to hop around to the 16 unique beach neighborhoods in South Walton along the 30A Highway. Happening each year in January, the festival helps fund artist education and programming in South Walton County.
Sing Out Loud Festival, St. Augustine
Florida’s Historic Coast transforms into the ultimate live music destination for four consecutive weekends every fall. Taking place at a variety of venues along the St. Augustine waterfront and beyond, the Sing Out Loud Festival showcases diverse musical genres ranging from soul and bluegrass to indie pop and punk rock. The best part? Almost all of the performances are free. The main concert is the only ticketed event and is held at the outdoor St. Augustine Amphitheatre in Anastasia State Park, a venue built to commemorate St. Augustine’s anniversary as our nation’s oldest permanent European settlement.
Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival, Pensacola Beach
The fine folks in Pensacola Beach take live music very seriously—so seriously that they want you to experience as many concerts as humanly possible. The Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival features performances on boats courtesy of Pensacola Bay Cruises, as well as other great waterfront venues. Every Tuesday from April to October, grab your beach chair and cooler for Bands on the Beach, a free outdoor concert series at the scenic Gulfside Pavilion overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. And the waterfront amphitheater at Pensacola’s Community Maritime Park is home to Blues on the Bay concerts throughout the summer. On this gorgeous stretch of coast, the summertime concerts churn out hit after hit.
Symphony on the Sand, Anna Maria Island
A 45-piece orchestra on the sand? Brilliant idea! Every year Anna Maria Island’s picture-perfect pearly white sand Coquina Beach sets the stage for the Symphony on the Sand. The elegant affair features performances by the award-winning Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra. Bring your own beach blanket and sway to the classic sounds of Mozart, as well as showy Broadway tunes and dramatic Opera pieces. It’s all for a good cause. Ticket sales benefit local youth music programs.
Ringling Underground, Sarasota
Overlooking Sarasota Bay, The Ringling Estate is home to an art museum, circus museum, gorgeous waterfront mansion and expansive gardens. It’s also home to the annual Ringling Underground series—live concerts held on the first Thursday of the month during the school year. Each concert features three indie bands including local emerging artists, as well as regionally and nationally known musicians. And The Ringling keeps several of the galleries open late, so in between sets in the al fresco courtyard, you can browse works of art. If you’re a student or a museum member, the concerts are free.
Rock By The Sea, St. George Island
In an area known as Florida’s Forgotten Coast (because of its unspoiled beaches), St. George Island is a hidden gem tucked inside the Apalachicola Bay. It’s the perfect place to listen to live music by the beach. Every spring, the island hosts a multi-day Rock By The Sea music festival featuring dozens of up-and-coming songwriters, as well as more well-known headliners like former American Idol winners. Ticket sales benefit the University of Florida’s cancer program as well as other local charities.
Bradenton Blues Festival, Bradenton
Overlooking the picturesque Manatee River on Florida’s central west coast, the Bradenton Blues Festival takes over the picturesque streets along the Riverwalk and Downtown. The three-day festival kicks off with a free concert on Friday, followed by a lineup of talented blues musicians on the big stage on Saturday, and a soulful blues-style brunch on Sunday. Taking place every November, the Bradenton Blues Festival is produced by Realize Bradenton, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for youth music programs.
Bandshell Summer Concert Series, Daytona Beach
Perhaps the best bandshell on any beach worldwide, the scenic amphitheater located in Daytona Beach’s Oceanfront Park on the north end of the Boardwalk amusement area overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and hosts regular free outdoor concerts. The Daytona Beach Bandshell Summer Concert Series is held every Friday and Saturday night from May through September and features a funky lineup of tribute bands (think Jimmy Buffett, Aerosmith, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and more). And stick around for the free fireworks show over the water.