Whatever Floats Your Boat


By Dave Good
Photos by Brevin Blach

When Adele arrives in San Diego June 8, the Grammy Award-winning soul singer will be crooning to a sold-out house at Humphreys by the Bay.

No ticket? No worries.

That is, if you happen to own a kayak, inflatable raft, dinghy, inner tube, or, better yet, have a friend with a big, bad-ass boat docked at Shelter Island (the private marina that surrounds Humphreys).

During concert season, the inlet between the marina and the concert venue is typically packed with picnicking and partying music fans-all floating the ticket price in exchange for being a little farther from the stage.

Katy Kellers often experiences Humphreys’ shows from her friend’s sailboat, which is docked at Shelter Island and has a fairly decent view of the stage.

“Sometimes we sit on the dock and listen to the music,” she says. “It’s like being on vacation.”

Humphreys’ management and artists give people rockin’ in yachts and rowboats free reign. Performers often banter back and forth with drifters from the stage, ripping on how they can afford to buy a boat, but not a ticket.

“It’s all in fun,” says Humphreys concert manager, Bobbi Brieske. “The boat people add a fun and unique element to the series, and they seem to have a good time. There aren’t many places where that can happen.”

While the view is a far cry from the front row, the sound out on the water can be spectacular.

Before attempting an evening concert launch, concertgoers are advised to dress appropriately, should the wind kick up or they take an unexpected swim. Kellers has seen people capsize their crafts in the knee-deep water.

“This chick came paddling by us all dressed up for a concert and spent the rest of the night soaking wet,” she says.

Joel Kmak, a drummer for local country-rock band, The Farmers, has experienced Humphreys shows both as a performer and as a boat person, which he likens to tailgating at a Chargers game.

“You could smell the barbecues lighting up and hear beers cracking,” he says. “Nobody got naked and jumped in the water, though. I was very disappointed.”