Beach Road Weekend opened Thursday evening with a Jaws screening, and then switched over to three days and nights of music that saw more than 30 acts travel to the Island to play back-to-back sets on two stages. Despite a Friday-night downpour, Vineyard Haven's biggest event went off with few hiccups.

Many visiting acts remarked from the stage that it was their first time on the Vineyard, and some musicians could be seen off-stage and in town, mixing with the tourists along Main streets, or playing the bars after their sets in Veterans Park.

Punctuated by headliners, up-and-comers and after-hours sets by local bands, Beach Road Weekend put an exclamation point on the last weekend of August, picking up where it had left off before the pandemic and reaching new heights.

Laura Lee, bassist for Khruangbin, mesmerized the crowd. — Mark Alan Lovewell

With crowds estimated at more than 10,000 on Saturday, the busiest night, local law enforcement had a substantial task but had good reports after the event.

“It went relatively smoothly — a couple minor incidents but nothing major," said Tisbury police chief Chris Habekost. “Plans were pretty well laid out and for the most part we were able to stick to those plans."

The biggest challenge came after Friday night's headliner the Avett Brothers had wrapped, when lighting flashes appeared and rain started falling at about 8:15 p.m.

“It’s hard to get people to cooperate with corralling and crowd control when people are getting drenched,” Chief Habekost said, though he noted the efforts were successful and everyone was moved to safety.

Veterans Park was packed with music lovers from all over. — Ray Ewing

Traffic “was at very select times heavy but largely was manageable,” said Chief Habekost, who credited the concert's shuttle buses and locals simply avoiding the area for the lack of congestion.

Another concern of organizers and law enforcement was the possibility of concert-goers, who primarily came in via ferry, getting stuck on the Island after the evening's last boat. That, as with other possible problems, didn't materialize.

The department did respond to some noise complaints from neighbors, which mostly occurred during sound check the day before the event, and also had a few incidents of intoxicated or disorderly festival-goers, but Habekost said overall the atmosphere was best described as family friendly.

“It’s hard to know exactly what to expect, but the crowd was upbeat, happy and cooperative,” Chief Habekost said.

Ben Schneider, lead singer for Lord Huron. — Mark Alan Lovewell

The crowd, over three days of performances, had a lot to be happy about.

Khruangbin, the psychedelic three-piece funk band from Houston, let their instruments do the talking on Friday afternoon. Bassist Laura Lee captivated the audience with groovy bass and smooth, understated choreography, punctuating every strum with a hip sway and a wry smile.

“It’s almost leopard-like, the way she moves,” one audience member observed.

While most festivals stretch into the late hours of the night, Beach Road Weekend wrapped up around 8 p.m. to accommodate the ferry schedules. Patrick Shaughnessy of Annapolis, Md. wore a shirt that made the promise: “Most Likely to Be in Bed by 9 p.m.”

Avett brothers closed out Friday, just before the rain and lightning arrived. — Mark Alan Lovewell

When asked how likely he was to succeed, he responded, “Most likely. I’ve got to take the boat to Edgartown, but I’m sure going to try.”

People arrived by the Steamship ferry, by bus, by car, by sailboat, by bicycle (the bike racks were overflowing and bikers received vouchers for discounter merchandise).

Booths were set up throughout the venue, selling food, drinks, even hemp hats hand-made in Kathmandu. The hats, and any type of covering, came in handy as days were hot and sunny.

Locals and off-Island crews helped keep the operation running smoothly, and many local workers opted to have their pay go to local nonprofits, an option made available by the concert producers.

It was an all ages music festival. — Maria Thibodeau

On Saturday, fedora-clad John Dutton of the Vineyard praised the festival as he prepared for day two.

“It’s great for the Island, it’s great for businesses, and the logistics where phenomenal,” he said.

“Lord Huron blew the roof off last night” Mr. Dutton continued. “In fact, they blew the sky off, because of the rain after.”

That downpour, nearly an inch and a half of total rainfall, flooded the park, necessitating the cancellation of the first five shows on Saturday (The Collection, Crooked Coast, The War and Treaty, Sammy Rae & The Friends and Bahamas).

The cleanup was thorough. When the gates opened on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. the grass was still green and the ground was only minimally muddy. The park was patchwork-carpeted with beach towels and folding chairs, and the crowd was a kaleidoscopic with psychedelic T-shirts.

Music started at 2:15 p.m. with the jam-funk stylings of Lettuce, before turning things over to the twangy, soulful folk rock of Dawes. There was slow dancing in the crowd, and acrobatic yoga and hula hooping back in the open lawn. Dawes brought up Bahamas to perform a few songs with them (the bands tour together), before ending their set with the iconic All Your Favorite Bands.

Taylor Meier, lead singer for Camp. — Maria Thibodeau

“This song goes out to every person out in the audience,” said front man Taylor Goldsmith. “See you all on the road!”

The performance rolled straight into Guster on the second stage. Multi-instrumentalist Ryan Miller took the stage wearing a vibrant white-pineapple suit.

“This place is amazing” Mr. Miller told the crowd, gushing about the Vineyard’s conservation properties. “I thought it was one thing and now I know it is something completely different.”

Mr. Miller even made an overture to the VIPs on the central Sky Deck, offering his musical services in exchange for some yacht time. To prove he was serious, Mr. Miller even waded out through the crowd to the base of the deck, testing the length of his microphone cord.

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit keeps the energy high. — Maria Thibodeau

“We’re here until Sunday if anyone wants to invite us out,” Mr. Miller entreated.

Guster ended with an encore and drum solo from Brian Rosenworcel, who plays his instrument with his bare hands, and then turned the show over to Billy Strings, a bluegrass outfit with an improvisational flair. Their classic grouping of upright bass, mandolin, fiddle, banjo and guitar transported the crowd to Appalachia.

Beck closed out the night, alternating between mellow grooves and a hard-driving band. And as day turned to night, Beck’s full-on light show lit up Veterans Park.

On Sunday, Emmylou Harris referred of one of the event’s sponsors, noting she was performing on the Black Dog stage. She then played her song Big Black Dog, a tribute to her rescue pet, introducing the song with a brief talk about the origins of her dog shelter at her Nashville home.

“Thank god for dogs,” she said. “And we all know that dog is god spelled backwards.”

The performance turned even more intimate when Ms. Harris eschewed her bluegrass band for an acapella performance, followed by some acoustic numbers.

“It’s only when I’m amongst friends that I go above the third fret,” she said.

Ms. Harris was followed by folk band Caamp of Upper Arlington, Ohio. They had been watching the iconic Ms. Harris’s performance from the wings of her stage, then swaggered onto the adjacent stage with cigarettes hanging between their lips. The crowd’s teenage component rushed to the front for a good view of the band and lead singer Taylor Meier.

Jason Isbell and his band The 400 Unit then brought the sounds of Southern jam rock to the festival stage, slipping freewheeling guitar solos and drum-kicks into country ballads. Mr. Isbell brought out songs from his recent cover album Georgia Blue, which tackled some of Georgia’s most iconic country standards and devoted its proceeds to Georgia voter registration programs. Explaining the aim of the album, Mr. Isbell was met with wild applause.

Wilco closed out the three-day music festival with a marathon two-hour set. They brought Jason Isbell back onto the stage for a rendition of California Stars.

And then it was over. The crowd moved as one toward the exit as they had each night for three days, to board shuttle buses for all parts of the Island, or walk to the ferry to return to their mainland lives, or retrieve bicycles and two-wheel it to bed or to town to see which band might show up in Oak Bluffs or Edgartown.

The promoters have not yet announced the lineup for summer of 2023, but many concert-goers could be heard saying as they walked away, “let’s do it again next year.”

Noah Glasgow, Thomas Humphrey and Brian Boyd contributed reporting.

More Friday night photos. 

More Saturday night photos.