Rehoboth Shuts Down Unsanctioned Bandstand Performer


City officials sent this man packing last Thursday evening after he had been playing tunes on the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand.

He is Dr. Michael Rawlins, a college professor, who says he had been entertaining visitors who would stop and listen to him strumming an acoustic guitar while singing classic rock tunes such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elvis, Johnny Cash, among others.

“It’s a great space and yeah… I was really quite surprised that they asked me to stop performing,” he said. Dr. Rawlins has been thinking about asking the town if he could host an open mic here, perhaps on slow nights like Thursdays, and this might be his opportunity.

He lived in western Massachusetts for years and recently moved to Lewes. He is a full-time faculty member at the University of Massachusetts where he teaches climate dynamics and has federal research grants to study the Arctic and Arctic hydrology. “We so understand climate change, climate variability, and things like that and this is my left brain, right brain, my other kind of artistic side,” he explained.

This isn’t the first time the city canceled unsanctioned performers here. Matthew Bennett Davey was shut down in 2017 after several performances here also on Thursday nights.

Lynne Coan, spokeswoman for the city, provided this statement on Friday concerning the use of the bandstand:

The bandstand is a city facility and is not open to use by the public for performances or events without an approved special event permit from the city. When organizations wish to engage in expressive activities at the bandstand, we ask that they complete an expressive activity permit application. This enables city staff to properly schedule these events while coordinating among the various city departments to minimize scheduling conflicts and traffic impacts and alleviate safety issues.