Venues for enjoying music this summer
By Jill Nossa
An abundance of lush parks, beaches and open spaces within our quaint downtown areas have helped inspire an outdoor concert scene that grows every season. From the Friday Night Promenade in Garden City to the Tuesday Cruise Nights in Oyster Bay, plenty of opportunities are available for enjoying live music from local talent while sampling fare from neighborhood restaurants this summer. The best part is, these amazing venues don’t cost a dime.
Friday night is the most popular evening of the week for outdoor music—and you can take your pick from a plethora of venues that suit your mood. Whether you choose relaxing with a picnic during a beach sunset or heading to a more urban setting, you can’t go wrong.
For the past 20 years or so, Sea Cliff Beach on The Boulevard has played host to free concerts on the beach, mainly featuring local musicians.
Several years ago, the Sea Cliff Beach Events Coordinating Committee raised money for a pavilion, complete with a stage and soundboard.
“It has made a big difference,” said Justin DiPietro, chair of the committee. “We now get bigger bands and with the soundboard, the music quality is also better.”
He noted that prior to the new structure, the stage was makeshift, with bands performing in front of the bathhouse. Now, listeners can enjoy a view of the water as well as the musicians. He said they give preference to Sea Cliff-based musicians and each Friday either features three different bands or one band playing two sets.
The season kicks off with a fundraiser for the Sea Cliff Volunteer Fire Department on May 30 with music by Live Stock, though the Friday night music series begins on July 10, which is free and open to the public. You can either pack a picnic dinner or purchase food from the Sea Cliff Beach Café. Bands typically play from 7 to 10 p.m. and rain dates are generally set for Sundays. Check www.facebook.com/beachseacliff for calendar listings.
The Village of Bayville’s recreation committee organizes weekly concerts on Friday nights, another place to enjoy live local music outdoors in July and August. The Music Under the Stars concert series begins July 10 and takes place every Friday from 8 to 10 p.m. at West Harbor Memorial Park at 10 West Harbor Drive in Bayville.
The free concerts are open to both residents of Bayville as well as nonresidents. Bring a blanket or beach chair; you might also want to pack a picnic so you can sit back, relax, have a bite to eat and listen to some great jams.
The musical lineup has yet to be determined, but the summer concert dates for this year are planned through August 21. In case of inclement weather, cancellations will be posted on the village’s website at www.bayvilleny.gov.
If getting out midweek during the hot and sunny months sounds appealing, Oyster Bay’s Tuesday Cruise Nights have become a draw for classic car lovers, as well as locals, who want to catch up with friends. Now in its tenth year, the weekly event begins on June 2 and runs through Labor Day. Audrey Avenue is closed off from 5:45 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday so car lovers can walk through downtown and view classic and rare autos. Sponsored by the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce, it’s free to walk in and $5 to show a car. Go to www.visitoysterbay.com for more information.
The event also features live music and raffles and local restaurants provide specials. Head to Canterbury Ales Oyster Bar and Grill at 46 Audrey Avenue for fresh seafood, sit outside at Jack Halyards American Bar & Grill at 62 South Street or grab a burger at Taby’s Burger House at 28 Audrey Avenue.
Finally, Friday Night Promenade in Garden City is an excellent way to hear live music and support local restaurants. The village sets up the stage for bands at each end of Seventh Street, between Hilton and Franklin Avenues, every Friday night from 6 to 10 p.m. in July and August. Visit www.gardencityny.net for details.
During July and August, Glen Cove’s Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) hosts Downtown Sounds in Village Square every Friday, closing off parts of Glen, School and Bridge Streets so crowds can enjoy music and dancing in the street. There are plenty of restaurants to try first, or make a reservation at Downtown Café to eat outside while listening to the tunes (see Dining Alfresco). The music begins at 7:30 p.m., providing ample time to grab a bite and then some lawn chairs to claim a spot near the stage.
The event is produced through a partnership between BID and the City of Glen Cove, and features jazz, rhythm and blues, rock, folk, salsa and other genres. Free parking is available in nearby municipal garages.
Look out for Swingtime Big Band on Friday, July 3, and The Glimmer Twins on Friday, July 10.
The concert rain location is Wunsch Arts Center at Robert M. Finley Middle School, 1 Forest Avenue, Glen Cove. Visit www.glencovedowntown.org for this year’s complete concert schedule.