Southern Sounds: Hampton Beach hosts a week of live country music

While 10-gallon hats and cowboy boots aren’t something you see every day in New Hampshire, the Hampton Beach Village District brings the spirit of the south to the Seacoast every summer with Country on the Coast week, this year happening Sunday, July 7, through Thursday, July 11.

That week a miscellany of country music acts will perform from 3 to 9:30 p.m. each day at the Sea Shell Stage on Hampton Beach. WOKQ radio station will be broadcasting the entire week and doing giveaways; local

Hampton restaurants Boardwalk, Purple Urchin and McGuirk’s will host and sponsor different days of the event, and headlining act William Michael Morgan, a country singer and songwriter from Mississippi whose top music video for the song “I Met a Girl” has over 17,000,000 views on YouTube, will close out the week on Thursday night. All of the music and entertainment will be provided free to the public by Hampton Beach Village District.

John Kane, the Marketing Director at Hampton Beach Village District, said the performers are well-known in the country music scene but their fame doesn’t stop them from interacting with the crowds at Hampton Beach.

“They’re all headliners; these guys are all big,” Kane said. “They’re not off-limit acts, even though they come from Nashville; they’re great to deal with. William Michael Morgan will come down and talk to everyone, have his picture taken with everyone, shake everyone’s hands. … They don’t have the attitude; they’re just down-to-earth people.”

One of the performers, whom Kane called “a great personality,” is Michelle Jackson-White, a line dance instructor who has taught in New Hampshire and Massachusetts for more than 20 years but recently relocated to Nashville, Tennessee. She will be returning to the Granite State to lead an hour-and-a-half-long line dancing instructional session each day of Country on the Coast from 5:30 to 7 p.m. It is her second year performing at the event, as she was part of last year’s inaugural Country on the Coast. Her husband, Kevin White, will also be performing at the event on Monday night from 7 to 8 p.m. and from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. as part of his Kevin White’s Tribute to Garth Brooks band.

Kane said that he didn’t expect huge crowds for Jackson-White’s country line dance sessions last year, but he was in for a surprise.

“At first we thought we’d only have a few,” he said, “and then there were like 40 people up there and they’re all really into the country line dancing.”

Jackson-White’s line dance sessions will consist of beginner-friendly dances, which she said will be different from the dances at last year’s event. No dancing partners or previous dance experience is needed. Every session has its own feel and flow, she said, because of the fresh crowd that floats in each day.

“Every single lesson was different because there were different people, so it was kind of neat, because people that were vacationing would come, but locals would come as well,” she said.

“It’s fun; the dances are really easy, and then, when we all do it together, that feeling when we all dance together [is] just nice.”

Country on the Coast has one big change this year: the start time. Each day events will begin at 3 p.m., instead of noon.

“It was a little too warm, you know,” Kane said of the noon start time last year. “If the sun hits it right on that stage, you feel it.”

According to Kane and Jackson-White, the people involved with organizing Country on the Coast strive to provide free, high-quality entertainment for all ages and a little slice of country for New Hampshire.

“The hats are there, the ladies have the boots on, they line dance, they have a good time,” Kane said.

“I feel like a lot of people under [age] 21 don’t always get to experience live music,” Jackson-White added. “Kids love music. … It’s neat that everybody of all ages can go and sit outside and get some live entertainment. It’s a great opportunity that they provided for people.”

– Caleb Jagoda



Sunday, July 7
3 p.m. – Angela West and Showdown
5:30 p.m. – Michelle Jackson-
White line dance instruction
7 to 8 p.m. and 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
– Kenny Chesney Tribute

Monday, July 8
3 p.m. – Martin & Kelly
5:30 p.m. – Michelle Jackson-White line dance instruction
7 to 8 p.m. and 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
– Kevin White’s Tribute to Garth Brooks

Tuesday, July 9
3 p.m. – Maddi Ryan
5:30 p.m. – Michelle Jackson-White line dance instruction
7 to 8 p.m. and 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
– Nick Drouin

Wednesday, July 10
3 p.m. – Houston Bernard Band
5:30 p.m. – Michelle Jackson-White line dance instruction
7 to 8 p.m. and 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
– Timmy Brown
9:30 p.m. – fireworks

Thursday, July 11
3 p.m. – Kevin Herchen
5:30 p.m. – Michelle Jackson White line dance instruction
7 to 8 p.m. – Old Town
8 to 9:30 p.m. – William Michael Morgan