As the return of Gathering of the Vibes slowly approaches, some are left wondering about the hold Seaside Park has on this festival. With a great majority of attendees traveling from out of state, Bridgeport oftentimes remains a mystery. The transformation of Seaside from a quaint park to a burst of colorful energy is a fascinating thing, but when the tents are all packed up and the music has ended, Seaside’s beauty remains.

With Long Island Sound acting as both the cool relief from summer temperatures as well as the backdrop of festival-goers’ camping grounds, Seaside proves to again be the ideal location for this year’s festival.

Bridgeport Mayor, Bill Finch, says there is always a spot for Vibes in his city.

“We are looking forward to the return of Gathering of the Vibes to Bridgeport this summer. The Vibes has been an exceptional addition to Bridgeport’s burgeoning arts and entertainment scene, and allows us to showcase the Park City to visitors from around the state and country,” he said.

Getting to know the area from the account of a local can hone you in on the little known aspects of this popular recreation spot. Growing up in the area, Seaside Park has been a warm weather destination for not only city residents, but those coming down from their inland homes to enjoy a relaxing “daycation” and people have been making the trek since the mid 1800s.

The development of Seaside stems back to the tail end of the Civil War era, when a wealth of the park’s land was donated by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus founder, Bridgeport resident and former mayor, P.T. Barnum. Plans to expand the small park spread wildly throughout the community, as Bridgeport saw the need to construct more recreational meeting places for residents. As a devoted citizen who loved his city, Barnum’s vision was to help build and strengthen Bridgeport’s financial state and notoriety. His name is prominent throughout Bridgeport, and Vibes attendees and locals alike can be reminded of it with his honorable statue inside the park. His legacy in history remains as he played an integral role of leadership during an era of mass industrialization.

Long after the days of Barnum, Seaside Park is still a big hit among Southern Connecticut residents. With the arrival of Gathering of the Vibes coming in five months, taking advantage of this time away from the festival to learn more about your stay will enhance it when the time comes.

Located in the South End section of the city, a portion of Seaside Park ends in Black Rock Harbor, a historic part of Bridgeport that is now a populated neighborhood with access to fishing, shopping, nightlife and of course, great restaurants.

Before, after or during your stay at Vibes this year, pencil in Captain’s Cove to the itinerary. The seafood restaurant is nestled on a marina overlooking Long Island Sound in Black Rock. Enjoy two stories of dining area right on the water. The Cove is wildly popular during the summer months due to their fresh lobster, clams, fish, full bar, and the array of live entertainment playing on the deck.

Hosting the music and arts festival at Seaside has had a direct effect on Bridgeport’s overall relationship with music. The park’s impressive role in the community through Vibes has sparked the interest of bar owners who saw the impact of music in their city. The growing number of music showcases and art festivals in Fairfield County can likely be attributed to the success of Bridgeport’s years hosting Vibes festival.

Bridgeport offers what festival goers need. The urban area adds spice and pizzazz to the outlying coastline where Gathering of the Vibes is held. There is both a natural beauty of Seaside Park, its beaches; access to sports fields, hike trails and great biking backdrops along the beach, as well as the convenience of nightlife, a plethora of dining options and family-friendly access to Bridgeport stapes such as the Beardsley Zoo, The Discovery Museum and summertime AAA baseball team, the Bridgeport Bluefish.

The quick type of a few words in your search engine can bring up some truly fantastic information that can alter your stay at Vibes this year for the better. Beyond the gates of historic Seaside Park proves a good time waiting to be had.

As we sit in anticipation for the summer months, Mayor Finch can assure prospective festival goers that having Bridgeport host the Vibes is always a wonderful decision.

“Seaside Park — one of two Frederick Law Olmsted designed parks in our city — provides a beautiful venue for music lovers. What better place is there to listen to great music and enjoy natural beauty at the same time? Welcome back, Vibes!”