Now in its eighth year, the Montauk Music Festival has become a sure sign that summer is about to unfold on The End.
For 2017, the festival will host 100 acts across 40 venues in and around Montauk, featuring a comprehensive mix of songwriters and bands from both Montauk and points west starting on Thursday, May 18, and continuing through the weekend.
“Each year the festival extends the summer season by one weekend,” festival organizer Ken Giustino said. “The festival takes place the weekend before Memorial Day, giving restaurants, bars and hotels an extra weekend to fill their venues.”
Some must-see local acts this year are Megan Leonardo, The Realm, Jim Turner, The Montauk Project, Molly Adele Brown, and Hopefully Forgiven.
New to the festival this year? Attendees will be able to vote for their favorite band or songwriter on the festival website, montaukmusicfestival.com, and a free shuttle bus will be provided by The Hopper.
Staring on Friday morning and running through Sunday, The Hopper will make multiple pick-up stops including the Hampton Bays and Southampton LIRR stations. There will also be shuttles throughout the weekend making stops in East Hampton and Amagansett, as well. Once in Montauk, the shuttle will make a loop of sorts hitting several stops along the way: Gosman’s Dock, Montauk Lighthouse, Montauk train station, Duryea’s, and the Montauket, just to name a few.
“We’ve extended the reach farther up-Island this year for people who don’t want to make the drive and or worry about parking.” Mr. Guistino said. “It will be great for day trippers, it will lighten up traffic on 27, and a timetable will be provided at each stop, so people can make the most of their time at the festival.”
The Village Green—in the center of downtown Montauk—will be put to good use over the weekend, equipped with two stages under a large tent. The Montauk Friends of Erin will sell hot dogs, hamburgers and beverages, and proceeds will support the local little league team and local families in need. “It’s a great way to spend the day and to support a good cause; families set up lawn chairs and blankets with live music being the main draw,” Mr. Giustino said.
For guitar enthusiasts, Rudy’s Music, a mecca for all things six-string-based in Manhattan, will set up a tent on the green with some of the most sought after vintage guitars ever made. There will also be a stage and microphone provided so musicians can perform songs with the various guitars on display. But no “Stairway to Heaven”!
Keeping in the spirit of Montauk’s natural beauty, live performances will be held at the base of Montauk Lighthouse during the weekend; with the Atlantic Ocean serving as backdrop. Performances start after 4 p.m., and for motorists there is an $8 parking fee.
Last year, Hampton Bays resident and singer-songwriter Molly Adele Brown played the festival for the first time.
“The great thing about the festival is that I got to immerse myself in not only playing my music, but meeting other songwriters, exchanging ideas about music and the craft of creating a song, and playing with one another impromptu,” Ms. Brown said. One of the highlights for Ms. Brown last year was playing on the Village Green. “It took playing outdoors to a whole new level; all the faces out in the crowd enjoying the music-bopping and dancing around in the sun—it was such a great vibe and as a performer taking that all in was a true Montauk-style thrill,” she said.
Other local performances of note: The East Hampton Jazz Band will lend their talents to an outdoor concert at Gosman’s Dock on Friday afternoon, while the East Hampton Fiddle Band will kick things off on Sunday morning on the Village Green.
The opening night party will be held at Gurney’s Montauk on the evening of Thursday, May 18, and will feature local brews, finger food, and some of the bands and songwriters featured at the festival.
“The amazing thing about the festival for me is that it brings the entire community together for the love of music,” Mr. Giustino said. “And something unexpected always happens.
“Last year a band called Remember September was playing an afternoon show outside on the Village Green. Mid-song the band stopped playing, and the lead-singer dropped down on one knee, and proposed to his girlfriend standing in the audience. There was a hushed silence, and when she said, ‘Yes,’ the whole place went nuts. The band finished their gig by-the-by,” Mr. Giustino, added with a glowing laugh.
Tickets to the opening night party are $45. All other events and performances are free to attend. For more information about Montauk Music Festival and a full schedule of artists, venues and the Hopper Shuttle bus schedule, visit montaukmusicfestival.com.
One fine body…