Grooving into its third year, the Sag Harbor American Music Festival is celebrating this whale of a town with free live performances and one special kickoff concert to promote Sag Harbor as a cultural destination on September 27 and 28. The music ranges from local to global, jazz and blues, roots and folk, pop and more. The festival kicks off with a Main Stage concert from Grammy winners Beau Soleil (“The best Cajun band in the world” says Garrison Keillor of The Prairie Home Companion) featuring Michael Doucet at the Old Whalers’ Church on Friday night, followed by a day of free music on Saturday with dozens of acts.
“We were really lucky and happy to get Beau Soleil to perform this year,” says Kelly Connaughton, President & Co-Artistic Director. “They have not performed on the East End in over six years, and our low ticket price of $25 for a six-piece band of this caliber is really a big score. They have the same manager as John Hammond, our featured performer last year, so that connection helped this happen. This is the only concert with a ticket, every show Saturday on Main Street is free.
“We have a new stage this year also as the festival has grown so much,” Connaughton continues. “The Off Main Stage is located in the alley next to The American Hotel. It’s
150 feet long, so it can hold over 100 people. We needed the space, as some of the stores could not hold that many people for their performances and we needed to accommodate them all. The Hoo Doo Loungers and the Soul/Jazz Train Express with special guest Randy Brecker—the Grammy Award winning trumpeter who has played with everyone from Jaco Pastorious to Lou Reed to Blood, Sweat and Tears—will be performing there. Brecker is a local now, so it’s really exciting to have him play here.”
Galleries, restaurants and businesses all along Main Street will serve as free, intimate venues, along with a few outdoor locations. These venues are open to the public, with costs covered by sponsors and donations.
“The stores will be opening early and staying open late with sales and specials on food and drinks,” Connaughton adds. “The farmers market will also be happening on Saturday, which is always a big draw for the community. This is our third year for this festival, we want it to be a destination weekend for visitors and locals to enjoy.”
The festival encourages a collaboration between professional musicians, businesses, educators, community organizations of Sag Harbor, and media outlets of the broader East End community. Donations to the festival will also be used to support live music performances throughout the year.
On Saturday, September 28, free performers include Escola Samba de Boom—a 30-piece percussion band—at Windmill Beach; Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks at the Off Main Stage; and the Complete Unknowns—a Bob Dylan tribute band—at Muse in the Harbor.
Venues throughout Sag Harbor Village include Dodds & Eder, GeekHampton, Life’Style, Grenning Gallery, The Cuddy, Romany Kramoris Gallery, Muse, LT Burger, La Superica, Page at 63 Main, John Jermain Memorial Library, Old Whalers’ Church, Norma Jean Pilates, American Legion, Windmill Beach and more. In case of rain some of the performances will be moved inside the Bay Street Theatre.
The official After Party at Bay Street Theatre on Saturday night features Dan Bailey Tribe and Joe Delia & Thieves from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., $10 tickets available day of the show at the Bay Street Box Office.
Get the complete festival schedule at sagharbormusic.org, or call 917-715-4116.