Oceans Calling 2023: Day Three

Never miss a Sunday show.

This particular Sunday will forever be etched into Ocean City, Maryland’s music history as the cherry on top of the extremely successful inaugural Oceans Calling Music and Arts Festival weekend. Music lovers from around the world flocked to the shore of the Delmarva Peninsula to once again dance in the sand with the likes of Weezer, G. Love & Special Sauce, Dirty Heads, The Lumineers, and many more. OCMD’s iconic boardwalk and amusement park rides created a majestic backdrop for an already magical weekend.

To say Oceans Calling was a success would be a massive understatement. Lee, owner of local surf shop, Malibus, went as far as to say,

“This event has been the single greatest event in the history of Ocean City, Maryland”.

Patrick Martin and Joe P kicked off the day but it was legendary lap steel guitar virtuoso Robert Randolph & The Family Band that got the crowd at the Sea Bright stage moving while California natives ALO, rocked out on the Rockville Stage. 

G. Love & The Special Sauce, are no strangers to OCMD, as front man Garrett Dutton told the audience at the Sea Bright Stage reminiscing about playing all over OCMD for over the past two decades, so much history on this boardwalk. I’m not sure anyone had more fun than Dutton throughout the weekend.

This years Oceans Calling line up paid homage to millennial nostalgia as The Wallflowers embodied the inner 90/2000’s kid in us all on the Carousel Stage located in the heart of the inlet pier surrounded by amusement park rides and the truly divine aroma of Thrasher’s french fries. 

Adjacent, on the Rockville Stage, you couldn’t help but dance to future-funk-soul-pop veterans Fitz & the Tantrums. The lively Sunday congregation was led by the energetic powerhouses Michael Fitzpatrick & Noelle Scaggs. Meanwhile over on the Sea Bright Stage, Huntington Beach OGs, Dirty Heads reminded fans that everyday is a vacation. Jared Watson and Dustin “Duddy B” Bushnell seamlessly dropping hip hop verses over reggae vibes backed by 50,000 adoring fans belting out every word.      

Festival co-host and Maryland natives, Of A Revolution, better known as O.A.R. took over the Rockville Stage for the second time of the weekend billing a very special O.A.R. & Friend’s line up where they invited a variety of musicians, such as G. Love, Robert Randolph, RUN-DMC, Richie Sambora (to name a few) to join them onstage covering decades of classic anthems. Super jams are the real MVP and this jamboree was one for the books!

Is a festival even a festival if there isn’t a gut wrenching schedule conflict?

While Grace Potter took on the Carousel Stage, Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats mesmerized fans over at the Sea Bright Stage with the most intoxicating performance of the weekend. Sorry Grace, Nathaniel and his band of musical bandits won the day. Frontman Nathan Rateliff’s raw lyrics and the spiritual performance of The Night Sweats appeared as if they were exercising a demon, and winning. Keep an eye out for this band, they’re a whole vibe.

Speaking of sweats, we rushed back over to the Rockville Stage to catch a legendary performance by Weezer. Rivers Coumo’s voice is the soundtrack to my youth, and in some “Benjamin Button” fashion Weezer has been majestically preserved while standing the test of time. I had to pinch myself singing “Beverly Hills” along with a sea of people illuminated by the boardwalk I grew up on. What a time to be alive. Someone hold this thread as we walk back over to the Sea Bright Stage for the grand finale. 

Set up on a plank, at the end of a long runway, jettying 100 feet into a sold out crowd, like a band of gypsy pirates The Lumineers closed out the weekend. Not a single ticket holder was concerned about the impending workday. This wasn’t just a concert, it was the ending of a festival season as The Lumineers helped us say goodbye to summer. What better way to experience the closing of a truly monumental festival than to watch the final moments from the ferris wheel.

Thank you Oceans Calling. Until next year.

Photography by Jenna Shaw

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