By MADDY VITALE
The iconic Ocean City Music Pier has provided a memorable venue for talents to entertain audiences over the years.
But the historic building that dates to 1928 needed some improvements to keep it relevant as the city’s primary entertainment hub.
Continuing the improvements to the concert hall, the city will be brightening the facility with new LED lighting for the stage and the ceiling.
That follows up improvements to the sound system in 2019 and a new HVAC system in 2021.
In 2017, the Friends of the Ocean City Pops, the fundraising arm for the local orchestra, donated $150,000 to the city, making it possible for the city to buy large video and TV screens to further enhance the experience for concertgoers.
City Council awarded a contract during its regular meeting March 23 to Earl Girls Inc. (EGI), based in Egg Harbor City, to perform the new lighting work at the Music Pier. Funding is available through the city’s capital improvements budget. The contract awarded to Earl Girls Inc. is for $435,609.
“The stage lights and lights in the ceiling will illuminate the stage,” said Michael Allegretto, aide to Mayor Jay Gillian. “The lights will all be replaced with LED lights and different things to create better lighting for shows.”
Allegretto noted that it is all about enhancing the experience for the audience.
“It is the next step in improving the show quality for the Music Pier,” he said of the nearly 1,000-seat hall. “We started with the sound and now we are moving on to the lighting.”
The Music Pier is the hub of the city’s entertainment and concert scene, where many special events are held throughout the year. From beauty pageants to concerts, the venue is packed with activities for tourists and residents to enjoy,
Allegretto said the goal is to have some of the new lighting installed before the start of the 30th anniversary summer concert series presented by the city and BRE Presents and Bob Rose Productions.
“We want to make the venue the best show quality possible, especially with more shows on the anniversary,” Allegretto said.
In a memo to the city, Daniel Kelchner, director of Community Services, detailed why he was in support of the EGI contract for stage lighting improvements.
“(EGI) is a well-established firm and a leading vendor for live event equipment rentals and services in our region. They also have the knowledge, experience and expertise required to complete a stage lighting upgrade of this scale.”
Upgrades, according to the memo, include the removal of existing equipment, installation of new lighting fixtures, cabling and a control console.
“This is a much needed and long overdue equipment upgrade,” Kelchner said. “These upgrades will ensure that the historic Ocean City Music Pier has the necessary and appropriate equipment for modern live event productions in 2023 and beyond.”