Cape May Singer Songwriter Weekend 2016

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Cape May, NJ – March can be a little bleak at the shore.  Weather is iffy.  Crowds are sparse.

But one weekend every March, dozens of earnest, talented singer-songwriters find their way to Cape May and juice things up for two nights.

This year, Cape May Singer-Songwriter weekend is March 18th and 19th.

The songwriters spend their days learning about the music biz and making contacts. At night, they pull out their guitars and head to local restaurants and bars where they perform all of their new stuff for free.

Two musicians get keynote status and perform at Congress Hall’s ballroom every year. The cost of those concerts is $10.

This year, Jill Sobule who sees herself in the same witty vein as Randy Newman steps up to the mike at 5:15PM and 8PM March 18th in the Congress Hall Ballroom. Sobule, who lives in Los Angeles, has released 11 albums and has performed with  Neil Young, Steve Earle and Cyndi Lauper, among others.

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Ben Arnold is the keynote musician on Saturday night, March 19th at 5:15PM and 8PM in the Congress Hall ballroom.

The Philadelphia musician has toured throughout the United States and Europe and has shared a stage with everyone from Ryan Adams, David Gray, and Lucinda Williams to Martin Sexton, Randy Newman and Jackson Browne.

Arnold’s latest solo release “Lost Keys” draws from the music of Motown, The Sound of Philadelphia and street corner Doo-Wop.singer-songwriter3

In addition to the two keynote concerts, 15 local restaurants and bars will host as many as 150 different musical acts Friday and Saturday nights.

Among the other venues:

The Mad Batter
Aleathea’s
Lucky Bones
Carney’s
Cabanas
Carney’s
The C-view
The Merion Inn
Elaine’s
Delaney’s

Concerts start each night at 7 or 8PM depending on venue. Each songwriter performs for about 45 minutes.

In a twist on the usual arrangement, the performers pay to take part in the Singer-Songwriter Weekend. Their performances at the local venues are free to the audiences.

About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak is a journalist, a gardener and a Cape Island resident. She's also Cape May Times' photographer. She founded Cape May Times after a long and lively career in TV news.