Cape May Singer Songwriter Tourism Niche

Cape May Singer Songwriter Tourism Niche

The 11th annual Cape May Singer Songwriter weekend is in the books. Creating a Cape May singer songwriter tourism niche in its wake. Nearly every performer I follow on social media is bragging what a great time they had in Cape May and at the festival.

Carl Behrens, didn’t realize, he practically gave me the lede for this blog. “Singer songwriter weekend is like bird-watching,” Carl said. “Sometimes you go traipsing through the woods looking for birds and find good ones, other times you stake out a spot and wait for the birds to come to you.”

What Carl was referring to is the 1st world struggle of trying to hear as much good music as possible. Myself and a few faithful attendees, are guilty of both practices. Both nights I hit three venues. When I sat still the longest, I heard some really great performers.


Friday night in the Mad Batter and caught Brianna Vacca from South Jersey.¬†Brianna’s vocal strength seemed beyond her years. She played all original tunes which are available on Sound Cloud


Following Brianna, was a duo called Almond and Olive. This pair travelled from Chicago to New York, then to Cape May to perform at the festival. Musical style similar to local favorites the Bastard Sons of Captain Mey. Banjo, guitar, harmonica and base drum made for soothing and sometimes energetic music.

Saturday night I traipsed through Cape May. Listening to only one performer in each place. Cabanas¬†hosted Danielle and Jennifer, sisters and singer songwriters. At Delaney’s I heard Devix and at Fins Bar and Grille I caught the Originaires.

Nearly every venue hosting the 150 artists had engaged listeners. Especially significant since some stages were competing with NCAA Basketball. That can be stiff competition.

Cape May’s Home Base Listening Room

Sunday night, though not officially connected to the Singer Songwriter Festival calendar, brings the weekend to a climactic conclusion.¬† Hosted by M.Q. Murphy, the Mad Batter becomes Cape May’s premier listening room. A Sunday night destination in the Cape May singer songwriter tourism niche, the Mad Batter is the place to be.

Dave Bern one of the keynoters of the singer songwriter weekend wrote in a blog post that he played open mic nights seven nights a week in his early years.

There is always an engaged and supportive audience in the Mad Batter. Whether a performer is making his debut or returning for an annual visit, the place provides a welcome reception.
Cape May has an emerging tourism market in booze. Wineries, distilleries and breweries are attracting people in droves. The Singer Songwriter Festival run by John Harris is making a bold mark in Cape May.

With more and more establishments offering live music seven nights a week, I feel like it’s time for Cape May singer songwriter niche to take center stage.

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3 Comments

  1. Bill
    March 28, 2018 / 9:42 am

    Were all the performers paid ?

    • March 28, 2018 / 10:15 am

      Hello Bill,
      Thanks for reading and for the question. In this case the performers are actually in town for the conference. The have speakers and workshops by day and then look forward to gigs at night.
      In the normal day to day performances they are most likely paid by individual venues.

      • Bill
        March 28, 2018 / 10:47 am

        Its wonderful that the preformers get to attend a conferance and learn more about their craft. What I question is the venes who use them to preform for free with the promise of the dreaded E word. “Exposure” I used to live in CM and can name at least one place where this was the case. As for paying preformers any other time of the year ? “On no, we can’t give up that one table in the corner for a stage” Or another where the drinks are super expensive but live band was replaced by a cheaper DJ.
        A lot of these Battle of the Bands and Singer events are not fair to preformers. Do the venues give free drinks and food for exposure to their menus, don’t think so.
        Live music is dying and business owners don’t realize if used effectivly can be a big boost to their business. There was an old newspaper artical about the late great pianist George Mazerhousy (Spelling ? ) and how when he started playing at the struggling Merion Inn it boosted the business tremendously. We used to go there just for him.
        OK, off my soapbox, thanks for the reply.