Friday’s open-air screening of Jaws with the Cape Symphony drew an excited throng of Vineyarders and visitors to Veterans Memorial Park in Vineyard Haven, which has been transformed into a concert venue for the Beach Road Weekend music festival.

More than 1,000 people streamed through the festival gates at the Lagoon Pond Road entrance to the park, according to concert spokesman Joe Chambers.

That would make Friday’s audience the largest to gather for a single event on Martha’s Vineyard since the Livestock festival drew nearly 10,000 people to West Tisbury in 1995.

Maria Thibodeau

The 1970s lived again on the big screen Friday night. Forty-five years after Stephen Spielberg brought his production to the Vineyard, people who were there — and many more who wouldn’t be born for years to come — saw Edgartown as it was in 1974, only with Amity replacing the town’s name on all the signs.

We saw the younger versions of our friends and neighbors as well. Against Spielberg’s jigsaw-puzzle assembly of Island locations — one minute Chief Brody’s in Eastville, the next in Edgartown and a moment later, everyone’s up in Gay Head pretending they just went outside — there was John Alley striding down the dock in his rainbow suspenders.

The late Edgartown Dr. Robert Nevin, as the Amity medical examiner, put his hand to his chin as countless patients had seen him do in their appointments. During that scene in the selectmen’s office, a close look showed the clock that still hangs in the Edgartown meeting room, and Bill Smith wearing a T-shirt advertising his own clambake business.

And the late Craig Kingsbury would have relished the millionth — billionth? — time his appearance yanked terrified screams from the audience as the death mask of fisherman Ben Gardner looms out of his shark-ravaged boat.

Producer of the festival Adam Epstein welcomed the crowd. — Maria Thibodeau

The most powerful of all the actors Spielberg discovered on Martha’s Vineyard was Lee Fierro, whose short screen time barely contains her intensity as the mother of Alex Kintner. The Island audience applauded the scene when she slaps Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) on the Edgartown waterfront, but even in her first appearance on the beach, Ms. Fierro’s performance remains noteworthy.

But Friday’s biggest cheers went to the stars — particularly Robert Shaw, who was at the peak of his powers when he took on the role of swaggering shark hunter Quint, now as unforgettable a character as ever sailed a fictional sea. When he first struck a pose in the Orca’s bowsprit, rifle at the ready, the audience erupted. (By sheer coincidence, Shaw, who died at 51 in 1978, would have turned 92 on Friday.)

An ascendant Richard Dreyfuss and veteran Scheider, whose character’s street-honed cop skills are (almost) no good at sea, got their share of applause as well, and some audience members happily sang Show Me the Way to Go Home along with the tipsy trio in the last light-hearted moment of the story — just before the vindictive Carcharodon carcarias begins its final campaign against the Orca.

Nobody knew until after Jaws was released that the music, by John Williams, would join the three lead actors as one of the film’s greatest stars. On Friday, conductor Jung-Ho Pak, who is also artistic director of the Hyannis-based Cape Symphony, led his orchestra flawlessly through the score, working from a screen on his music stand that added a metronome and cues to the movie.

Maria Thibodeau

The live-orchestra version of Jaws includes an intermission, which Friday was generous in length to allow audience members to explore the new festival grounds. A food row, with booths from local restaurants and visiting caterers, offered street fare such as tacos and falafel. With food purchases and a wristband, light alcohol is available: beer, wine and vodka seltzer.

Festival-goers can purchase arts, crafts, jewelry, sun hats and parasols, apparel and beach chairs from a variety of vendors. A beer tent with a rooftop platform offers a bird’s-eye view of the scene, though not as expansive as that of the osprey family that returns each year to one of the park’s light poles. Throughout the evening, the birds’ cries from their nest added something that would have been missing in the 1970s, when ospreys had not yet made their come back on the Island.

Beach Road Weekend continues in the park through Sunday with live music on multiple stages. For more information, visit