Great South Bay Music Festival


By: Frank Lombardo

Celebrating its 12th Anniversary

The Great South Bay Music Festival is the longest running four day music, art and cultural family event on Long Island. With this four day musical celebration being held on the picturesque shores of the Great South Bay or more specifically, Patchogue Bay this “Family Friendly Music Fest” is now attended by tens of thousands and truly a unique music festival that stands out from all the others.

Year after year the festival features approximately 60 music artists on four stages over four days, and hosts iconic musical legends as well as local emerging artists in all genres of music, not to mention many vendors selling a diverse collection of handmade items and services. The food vendor’s court is as diverse as one will find at any outdoor music festival.  You can feast on anything from Jamaican jerk chicken, a grilled chicken Caesar wrap, BBQ turkey legs, gourmet grilled cheese, wood stove pizza, Italian zeppoles with lots of powdered sugar as well as a deep fried Oreo or Twinkie.  To wash it down you have just as many choices- old fashion soda, fresh squeezed lemonade and for the adults, many craft beers and wines to choose from.

It seems that every year, Jim Faith and his daughter Jamie produce one of the most diverse music festivals in this part of the world.  This year drawing near capacity crowds every day.  “This festival is the true definition of an independent, family run music festival. We are not a festival coming to a community- we are part of the community!”  Jim told Nightlife Magazine. 

This year the festival hosted such international recording and touring acts such as Thrice and The Front Bottoms on opening night to Sublime with Rome, as well as local acts, Oogee Wawa, Us & Floyd and Gnarly Karma on Friday.  Saturday featured the unique infinite style of Umphrey’s McGee, an American rock band from South Bend, Indiana, with local musicians, Andy Falco & Friends, The Almost Brothers and young up and coming artist, Lexy Cassell. 

But for some of the classic rock music fans such as Diane from Smiths Point and Ira from Queens,  it was the final day that brought out near record crowds to see locals such as Miles to Dayton, Kerry Kearney and his “psychedelta” orchestra, and a local Long Island band about to leave for Europe, Memphis Crawl.  Matty “SoulMan” O’Brien as usual had his large audience not only dancing to Memphis Crawl originals in front of the stage but on it as well. International recording and touring artist, the swiftly rising Devon Allman Project would have blown the roof off the venue if it had one.  The ladies in the audiences swayed along with him during his rendition of The Spinners’ classic, I’ll Be Around.  

Devon Allman ignited the crowd with long time classic rock greats such as Little Feat and Hot Tuna and for the finale, one of the greatest guitarist of our time, and one of the remaining founding members of the Allman Brothers, Dickey Betts and his band.  Nicole from Smithtown was smiling ear to ear during the Devon set as well as Hot Tuna while Tommy from Miller Place was hanging on every note heard from Little Feat.   But it was most of the entire audience standing in front of the main stage, shoulder to shoulder, that was waiting for iconic superstar, Dickey Betts to perform legendary Allman Brothers classics.   

Nightlife Magazine caught up with Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady from Hot Tuna during the Kerry Kearney set and it was interesting observing Jorma and Jack watch Kerry and nod with approval following one of Kerry’s famous guitar slide solos. Jorma was proud that this was Hot Tuna’s third appearance at this festival and is looking forward to coming back again in the future.

As awesome as the music is, Cindy and Loraine from Stony Brook were there more for the arts and crafts located at the Artisan Village where they were shopping for that unique  piece of jewelry as well as the ever must have, festival commemorative t-shirt.  

Keeping with the “family theme,” The Great South Bay Music Festival offers free admission to children under 10 years old and has just as many educational activities for the children as they have music for the parents.  For the kids, not only were they entertained by the Pirate Encampment and Parade but The MickMags the original children’s comedy rock group that not only entertained the children but reached the child in all of us!

Although this is a music festival, Jim Faith and the Great South Bay Music Festival have an impassioned commitment to community support & philanthropy.  Money generated from ticket sales, private and sponsored donations as well as the infamous, ‘Sticky Finger Motorcycle Run: To Fight Breast Cancer’ have raised not only awareness of these programs but also raises funds to support breast cancer programs and services at the Stony Brook Cancer Center.   Over the past years, hundreds of thousands of dollars from this festival have been raised to support breast cancer programs and services at the Stony Brook Cancer Center.

Next year plan on blocking off July 18th to the 21st for 13th Annual Great South Bay Music Festival to once again enjoy great music, food, shopping and family fun, all with breath taking views of one of Long Island’s most picturesque bays.  Jim and Jamie will surely place the artist lineups on their website as soon as all the bands are booked. 

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

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