Moonlight and Music, The Magic of Hollywood Beach

Free Entertainment Five Nights Per Week

Debbie Glade

It’s no wonder Travel & Leisure named the Hollywood, Florida Broadwalk “One of America’s Best Beach Boardwalks” in 2010. Its 2.5-mile brick-paved walkway is lined with parks, art deco hotels, outdoor cafes serving international cuisine and tourist shops selling beachwear and souvenirs. People from all over the world come here to swim in the Atlantic, stretch out on the sand and tan themselves in the Florida sun.

And that’s not all. The other Hollywood – as in California – likes to film movies here too. ​Body Heat, Bart Got a Room and several Bollywood movies have been shot along this beach. Most recently, Tom Cruise’s movie, Rock of Ages, also starring Julianne Hough and Alec Baldwin, was filmed here and in Fort Lauderdale.

Decades of Live Music

One of the top attractions on the beach remains the treasured Bandshell at Johnson Street, which has been a landmark since 1966. The year-round summer weather makes it an ideal spot for this open-air theater, because no matter how high the temperature may be, there’s always a nice breeze on the beach. For more than 15 years, the theater has come to life five nights a week, with free live musical performances. From jazz and big band to oldies and country music, the program known as “Dancing Under the Stars” has a sound to suit every taste.

“Our most popular concerts draw crowds of over 1,200 people, many of whom love to dance,” explained John Gronvold, Technical Coordinator for the Hollywood Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts. “As long as it’s not raining at 7:30 when it’s time for the music to start, the show goes on and people show up.”

The city relies on its database to choose the bands that perform, and many return time and again because the people of Hollywood request them specifically. “In addition to our regular bands, we allow new bands to submit demos. If we like what we hear and think our patrons will enjoy it too, we’ll give them a try,” said Gronvold.

Improvements Underway

Hollywood Beach has undergone significant revitalization, and there’s more to come. Adjacent to the Bandshell, five acres have been cleared, and a plan is underway to build the luxury Margaritaville Resort on that site. Raelin Storey, Hollywood’s Public Affairs Director said, “A complete facelift of the Bandshell is planned in conjunction with Margaritaville. We still want to retain the charm of the theater, but we’re looking forward to expanded seating, state-of-the-art lighting and acoustics, and of course updating the look of it.”

The concerts are made possible with funding from the city, through Community Revitalization Activities and the generosity of corporate sponsors. As long as there’s funding, there will be free concerts. “The Bandshell is part of the fabric of Hollywood Beach,” Storey explained. “Every week, people make plans based on which groups are performing, because they don’t want to miss a beat.”

If You Go

Hollywood Beach Theater, 101 Johnson Street, Hollywood, FL
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays
7:30 pm – 9 pm

Monday Nights - Dancing, big band, swing music
Tuesday Nights – Solos, smaller bands
Wednesday Nights – Biggest bands, largest crowds
Friday Nights - Jazz, International music
Saturday Nights - Bandstand, upbeat, rock and roll music