Great South Bay Music Festival Jams On Patchogue, NY 7-15-17

There is nothing nicer than a sunny Saturday afternoon in the summer. Especially true after two straight days of rain and clouds, on the third day of the Great South Bay Music Festival the weather finally turned for the better. Held on Saturday, July 15th, the festival offered a slew of national and local acts such as Lennon & Katie, Lofi 3, Baked Potatoes, Ancient Tongue, Quarterhorse, John Pagano Band, The Kerry Agnew Band, Cassandra House, Halfstep, The Allmost Brothers, The Electrix, and Wonderous Stories. In addition, making an event for the entire family, there was Kidzone stage to entertain kids of all ages.


While opening day was filled with Pop Punk, Day 2 filled with Reggae Rock, Day 3’s vibe was mellow as fans packed the festival grounds for a day filled with Jam bands on the Coors Light Main Stage. Kicking this jam-packed day off was a Long Island favorite, Soundswell, around 2:15 PM. Based right in the village where the festival is held, Patchogue, they had a nice crowd early on to help get the day’s party started. 

With the sun soaking the field, cheers erupted as duel Vocalists Corey Swinson and Sydney Swinson joined by Annie McInerney (flute, sax, vocals), Keenan Boyle (bass, vocals), Evan Hammer (guitar, vocals), Brady Wilkins (percussion, vocals), Mike O’Rourke (drums), Steve Mall (guitar, vocals), as well Fred Diekmann (keyboards, vocals) came out on stage. Quite a large band, they played to the crowd for a solid forty-five minutes, stimulating their senses with original tunes such as “Water In The Valley,” “Look Out!,” and “Gratitude.” Also playing a track called “Coming Home,” among others, Soundswell made the most of their return to Great South Bay Music Festival. 

Zen Tricksters

Between acts on the main stage, the festival goers roamed the grounds, checking out other stages, and all the vendors had to offer, but everyone quickly returned at around 3:30 PM when the Zen Tricksters took over. Also originating on Long Island, they began as a Grateful Dead cover band, and while they have seen several lineup changes over the years, they have always stayed true to their roots.

With an unmistakable Dead vibe and a rich history with the Long Island scene, for a full hour set, they enticed the crowd to dance and sing along to Dead covers such as “Sugar Magnolia,” “Sunshine Daydream,” and “Ripple.” Also Great South Bay Music Festival alumni, they were all smiles during their gig on the main stage, having a delightful time with fellow Long Islanders.


As the hard working stage hands cleared the platform and prepared for the next act, people wandered about the grounds, some stopping at the food court for an early dinner while others headed straight for the beer tent for a refreshing summer brew. Getting their fill, everyone gravitated back to the main stage around 5 PM for the Electro Funk therapy band Spafford.

Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Spafford have been changing lives one show at a time since 2010. Known for blending a wide variety of genres, Brian Moss (guitar, vocals), Jordan Fairless (bass, vocals), Andrew “Red” Johnson (keyboards, vocals), and Cameron Laforest (drums, vocals) began the musical journey with a ton of enthusiasm. Keeping it up, for the next hour they treated the crowd to an awesome selection of songs including “Shake You Loose,” “Electric Taco Stand,” and “All In.” Filling with improv and delightful instrumentation, it was very much a music therapy session everyone enjoyed.

Rusted Root

With the temperatures still high, as the sun blazed, many fans made another trip to the beer tent, wandered off to the other stages to hear the great sounds before migrating back to the main stage area and setting up blankets for the final three big acts of the night. Of those three was the smooth Jam band known as Rusted Root.

Coming together back in 1992 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rusted Root has attained a great deal of success in their time together. From the multi-platinum success of 1994’s When I Woke to the list of chart-topping records to follow, Rusted Root are one of America’s top Jam bands. Familiar with Long Island, visiting venues like The Paramount often, Michael Glabicki (lead vocals, guitar), Liz Berlin (vocals, guitar, percussion), Patrick Norman (vocals, bass, guitar, percussion), Dirk Miller (guitar), and Zil (percussion) got right down to business around 6:30 PM. Inspiring a sea of cheers from the start, spectators swayed and danced along to the beat of not only their original songs such as “Man Not Machine,” but also a jazzy rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds.”

Living up to their reputation as a spirit lifting live act, they also treated fans to a brand new song entitled “Such A Man.” Always up for performing, Rusted Root will be gracing various festival grounds throughout August before returning to the New York area coming October, so do not miss out. 

G. Love & Special Sauce

As the eight o’clock hour approached, the day’s heat was starting to subside and a gentle breeze would occasionally come off the water. By this point, the grounds surrounding the main stage were packed nice and tight excited for the evening’s direct support, G. Love & Special Sauce. A little different than the other acts, the next hour would be a little more just jamming, as G. Love & Special Sauce treated the large gathering to their own brand of Hip Hop Blues.

With big smiles on their faces, Garrett Dutton aka G. Love (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Jim Prescott aka Jimi Jazz (bass) and Jeffrey Clemens aka Houseman (drums) all came out ready to rock. Starting off the set, seated in a chair, G. Love had a harmonica in place and guitar in his lap. Quite laid back, several songs in, he was on his feet taking command of the entire stage. A picturesque portion of the day, as the sun was setting, G. Love commented on what a beautiful night it was, taking it all in.

Keeping the vibe cool, the audience was entranced as they dished out original tunes including “Baby’s Got Sauce,” “Hot Cookin’,” and a fantastic version of the Beatles’ “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” All in all a relaxing set, G. Love & Special Sauce fit the bill to a T, making for one of the most enjoyable performances of the day. 

Gov’t Mule

Now, as night completely set in, the time had arrived for the moment everyone was waiting for, around 9:30 PM when Gov’t Mule were set to arrive. A Southern Rock Jam band that originated as a side project of The Allman Brothers Band Guitarist Warren Haynes years following their reformation in 1989, Gov’t Mule has built their own legacy over the past two decades. Recently releasing the exciting new album Revolution Come…Revolution Go back in June, Gov’t Mule was ready to offer a lengthy set no one would soon forget. 

Chomping at the bit, the crowd huddled closer and closer to the stage moments before the band came out. Then, as the stage lighting and fog created a dense atmosphere, Haynes (vocals, guitar), Danny Louis (keyboards, backing vocals), Jorgen Carlsson (bass) and Matt Abts (drums) came on to screaming and adoring fans. The smooth jamming commenced with “Railroad Boy” and continued on with “Thorazine Shuffle,” “Time To Confess,” “Doing It To Death,” “Sarah, Surrender,” and “Stone Cold Rage.” After new album title track “Revolution Come, Revolution Go,” to everyone’s delight, G. Love joined the band on stage with harmonica for a jam of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” inspiring a sing along out in the crowd. 

Keeping the good feelings flowing, they played “Traveling Tune,” “Come And Go Blues,” “Dreams,” and “Mule.” Each song filled with impeccable musicianship and passion, Haynes and company concluded their 90 minute set with an encore of The Allman Brothers Band cut “Soulshine.” Appreciative of the audience’s positive reactions, Haynes ended the evening by thanking everyone for their support while confessing how much fun they had playing for them. A mutual feeling of thanks, judging by the shouting and cheering, no one wanted the show to end, but were more than satisfied with Gov’t Mule’s performance. 

Filled with melody, rhythm, and all around positive feelings, Day 3 of Great South Bay Music Festival was a wonderful success. The first day of good weather, it merely added to the overall good time had by all. With the final day of 2017’s Great South Bay Music Festival hours away, there was just no telling what would be in store with the lineup of Classic Rock scheduled. One thing is for sure, it would certainly be exciting. 

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