Summer fun always includes at least one summer concert, but if that concert takes place over four days and includes over sixty performers on four stages, then you are really in for some good times. The event in question, Long Island’s most anticipated annual summer concert, the one and only Great South Bay Music Festival. Becoming an area tradition, the festival consists not only of music, it is a cultural family event with a large variety of artisans, quality food, local beer and wine, and fun for the children too at the Kidzone.
Now in its eleventh year, over time, Great South Bay Music Festival’s popularity has grown in leaps and bounds. With worldwide recognition, the largest Canadian based travel website FlightNetwork has ranked the Great South Bay Music Festival #7 in their “Top 36 Global Festivals We’re Most Excited For In 2017.” Not only does it host major musical acts, it is nestled in the quaint village of Patchogue not very far from the world renowned Hamptons.
In addition, the stages are merely feet away from the beautiful Great South Bay where one can see sailboats drifting by in the backdrop of the festival. There is also an Osprey family nesting high on a light pole in the middle of a ball field, which for the next four days would serve as the festival’s grounds. An unexpected nature sideshow for some, occasionally an osprey would leave the nest to go retrieve a fresh fish meal for their family right from the bay, but this is only part of the festival’s charm.
As people entered, ready for a good time, they were looking around to take it all in. Some stopped by the food court to grab a bite, some looked at all the amazing art, while others were going to the beer and wine tents for a refreshing drink prior to the lengthy list of artists set to perform. The first day of the festival, Thursday, July 13th, offered two stages, the main stage, known as the Coors Light Stage providing quality acts, as well as the Clamshell Bandshell stage where the Bohemians, Whatever We Are, King Neptune, and So So Glos were playing for the crowds as well.
Frank Iero and the Patience
All day prior to the opening of the festival the weather forecast was threatening rain and thunderstorms, thick clouds were overhead and the air was thick and warm. Thankfully the rain would not stop fans, in fact, the first night of the festival sold out, and many came prepared with plastic rain ponchos.
That in mind, people geared up and were excited as the main stage festivities started with Frank Iero and the Patience. A New Jersey based band, Iero brought tons of energy to the stage and belted out about a half hour worth of his original songs, many off of his new album Parachutes. Of the songs performed, the crowd was treated to “World Destroyer,” “Veins,” “Smoke Rings,” “Joyriding,” and a few more original songs. All in all Iero and his band definitely had the night starting on a high note.
Saves The Day
Between bands, the audience would wander and check out all the excitement found all around them on the festival grounds. Although, they made sure they would soon find their way back to the main stage for the exciting band everyone knows as Saves The Day. Pop Punk heroes, Chris Conley (vocals/guitar), Arun Bali (guitar), Rodrigo Palma (bass), and Dennis Wilson (drums) came out on stage, the impending doom of rain began to fall. Not allowing their spirits to be dampered, a mass of fans cheered for the New Jersey based quartet as they got the party going with “At Your Funeral.”
Full of energy, their set was nearly forty-five minutes long, with a steady rain falling most of the time while many sang along, having a blast with songs such as “1984,” “Jukebox Breakdown,” “Anywhere With You,” “Remember,” “Cars & Calories” and “Firefly.” Offering up six more crowd pleasing songs, during their performance Conley humbly thanked the audience for their support. Aware of how important the fans are, he acknowledge the fact that without them, the last twenty years would have meant nothing. True, but a great deal of it all is thanks to the fun-loving brand of music Saves the Day consistently pump out.
New Found Glory
As the rain let up to a light mist, festival goers packed tighter to the main stage anticipating the next act, New Found Glory. Also adored Pop Punk icons, just before the band came on stage, the sky darkened, and an announcement was made that if it began to thunder attendees would be asked to go to their cars for shelter in the event of lightening but would be able to return as soon as the threat was over. Naturally some boos could be heard coming from the crowd, but they quickly turned to cheers of joy just as Jordan Pundik (lead vocals), Chad Gilbert (guitar), Ian Grushka (bass), and Cyrus Bolooki (drums) came running out on stage amidst another downpour.
As the music played on during their hour long set, New Found Glory fans sang along to every tune, not at all bothered by what Mother Nature was dishing out. Supporting their latest album, 2017’s Makes Me Sick, New Found Glory played a balanced set of sixteen fan-favorites including “Understatement,” “Hit or Miss,” “Something I Call Personality,” “Listen To Your Friends,” “Call Me Anti-Social,” “Head On Collision,” “All Downhill From Here,” “Happy Being Miserable,” “Dressed To Kill” and “My Friends Over You.” Thoroughly drenched, the crowd had a great time and clearly New Found Glory had an even better time judging by their adrenaline filled performance.
Taking Back Sunday
Already a night to remember, closing out the opening day of Great South Bay Festival was fittingly Long Island’s own Taking Back Sunday. No strangers to the festival, Taking Back Sunday graced the festival grounds in 2014, and this time were honored as headliners once more. Fortunately the rain had finally let up as Adam Lazzara (vocals), Eddie Reyes (guitar), John Nolan (guitar/vocals), Shaun Cooper (bass), and Mark O’Connell (drums) came on stage to a fully packed festival ground. Filled with their hometown fans, as far as the eye could see, it was clear everyone was waiting with baited breath for the set to begin.
Getting to play for just over an hour, fans were pleased to hear their favorites including the title-track off their 2016 album, “Tidal Wave.” Moving about the platform with ease, after dishing several songs, “You Know How I Do,” “Error: Operator,” “You Can’t Look Back,” “Set Phasers To Stun,” and “Spin,” Lazzara took several minutes of downtime to address the crowd. Getting personal, he spoke about being home on Long Island and how the band practiced earlier in the day at a local studio. He made mention about how one of his first jobs as a waiter at the American Waffle House and how he stopped by there, but now it is a bank. Funny how the things we know change, but thankfully we have the memories. That in mind, Lazzara went on to give a heartfelt thank you to everyone for braving the weather to see them, confessing, “There is something special about being home here with you on Long Island.”
A sentiment everyone could agree with, louder cheers filled the air as the band kicked back into the music, continuing with “Flicker,” “Fade,” “Liar (It Takes One to Know One),” “Best Places to Be a Mom,” “Death Wolf,” “What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?,” “Stood a Chance,” “Call Come Running,” “A Decade Under the Influence,” “Better Homes and Gardens,” “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)” and ended the night with “Make Damn Sure.”
Finishing the set without a hiccup, luckily the thunder never arrived. Regardless of the weather, the first night of the Great South Bay Music Festival was high-energy and non-stop fun. The sold out crowd enjoyed the awesome food offerings, the best craft beers from Long Island, visiting the many arts vendors, and of course, the music. Only the beginning of a four day adventure, many departed from the festival talking about how excited they were to see what tomorrow’s show would bring. A hint, more great times.