Home Music NotesAppearing Live Tonight THE GREAT SOUTH BAY MUSIC FESTIVAL: 13 Years Strong


by Mike Cutino
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By: Frank J. Lombardo

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Even in a four day heat wave when the OZY Fest, a New York City Triathlon and events at nearby Jones Beach were cancelled, the 13thannual Great South Bay Music Festival went on without a hitch.  The cooling breezes coming off the Great South Bay made this festival enjoyable for the thousands that came out not only for the wide spectrum the musical genres but the food, the arts and crafts and the all-important family festival atmosphere.   

This year marked the thirteenth year that Jim Faith and his family have produced one of the largest family oriented music festivals on the east coast. In addition to being a founding member of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame and member of its Board of Directors, Jim has been booking entertainment and producing live music for almost 30 years. In the close knit music industry, it’s been mentioned that he is one of the top, if not “the top”, concert promotor on Long Island and the New York City Metropolitan area. This year Jim Faith advised Appearing Live Tonight that the festival was becoming more ecologically friendly with a new recycling program. In its infancy this festival was held at The Brookhaven Amphitheater in Farmingville. As it matured and grew to its renowned popularity, The Great South Bay Music Festival has become Long Island’s largest and longest-running music festival and has found a home at the picturesque shores of the Great South Bay, or more specifically, Patchogue Bay, a cove/lagoon on the south-central shores of Long Island.

In keeping with the commitment to preserving the tradition of the “great lawn” concerts filled with families and young concert goers, this year the festival included four days of musical celebration featuring over 75 performers on four stages.  Each day on any stage one may experience the live performance of a new and upcoming local or national artist or an international recording/touring band. In addition to the many levels of the talent there is also an array of musical genres including classic and contemporary rock, folk, punk, blues, Indy, jam-band, reggae and funk, just to name a few.  

This year’s featured A-list artists and music legends included Long Island’s own, Taking Back Sunday who was inducted this year to the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, Sublime with Rome, Pink Talking Fish, an extraordinary band that combines music from Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Phish, Slightly Stoopid, Dweezil Zappa, who performed Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels and Lotus with an incredible lightshow. If that didn’t do it for you there was also Blue Coupe with three iconic rock stars and founding members of Blue Oyster Cult and the Alice Cooper Band, Dennis Dunaway, Joe Bouchard and Albert Bouchard that mixed the greatest hits from their respective bands. The festival goers also experienced 15 year old recording artist and Broadway performer, rocker, Brandon “Taz” Niederauer perform on the same stage with long established music pioneer, Edgar Winter Band, American funkiest band, War and to close out Sunday’s events the perennial classic-rock favorite, America whereby Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell performed all of the bands favorite chart topping hits from the seventies and eighties.  

During Saturday events, we happen to cross paths again with Jim Faith who had just seen Sweetwater of Woodstock fame perform on the Jambalya Stage and on his way to see Dweezil Zappa on the Coors Light Main Stage.We also had time to sit with one of our favorites, Michael Falzarano of Hot Tuna and New Riders of the Purple Sage was found performing on both Saturday and Sunday with different bands. Local artists, such as main stay, Kerry Kearney, who has performed at 11 of the first thirteen festivals, new comer Walkabout, Joplin’s Pearl, Rorie Kelly, Oogee Wawa and Funkin’A not only add to the diverse musical lineup but are the major components that make up the “family festival” vibe.     

It is not only the live music atmosphere that brings tens of thousands to this event every year it is also the arts and crafts and food vendors that add to the festival’s spellbinding experience. The festival hosts The Artisan Village where one can shop for rare collections of interesting handmade and freshly blown glass items, jewelry, oils and incense or the ever must have, festival commemorative t-shirt. 

In addition to the music and festival souvenirs the food court offered delectable eats for everyone, from the health conscience to the junk food junkie. From the simple hot dog to your very own barbequed turkey leg one can find something from the eclectic mouthwatering menus. From sweet to savory no taste gets forgotten at this festival. In fact, Popei’s Clam Bar was serving some pretty awesome Lobster Rolls right next door to The Taco Stand where you can get three tacos and large lemonade for only $15.00. Of course you will need to wash down the delectable food with a craft beer or wine or the newly presented “spiked seltzer.”

The Great South Bay Music Festival is the longest running, and largest four day, “American Themed” music, art & cultural family event, on Long Island. This year, even with “above average temperatures” Cynthia and Tom from Delaware, Elizabeth and Debbie from Connecticut and Mark and Harry from South Jersey could not be kept away from seeing their favorite artists perform while over-looking the bay and feeling the ocean breezes. Local residents, Jaclyn and Steve from Patchogue brought their 10 month old daughter, Angelina to her first music festival and the toddler was seen dancing and singing to the music while being fascinated by the festival’s many sights.

Great music, lip-smacking food, shopping and family fun, all with breath taking views of one of Long Island’s most famous bays, what more can one ask for in the longest running music festival right here in our own back yard? Bring your friends, bring your family and experience this “Family Friendly Music Fest.” We can’t wait until next year where Appearing Live Tonight has learned there will be some very special and surprise performers that will make this festival one of the best of 2020.   

For more information: http://www.greatsouthbaymusicfestival.com

Keep on the lookout for more Appearing Live Tonight and remember, support live music and enjoy your “NIGHTLIFE.”