The seventh annual Port Jefferson American Music Festival is coming back to the village on Sept. 29 and 30 to kick off another free weekend full of musicians from all genres ranging from rock, folk and blues.
All proceeds from the festival will go to the completion of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame museum.
“Last year, we started incorporating the Long Island Music Hall of Fame into it because the building is in Port Jefferson. We figured we would use it as a fundraiser also to raise money to build the museum,” James Faith, organizer of the festival and Chairman of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, said.
Before Faith began running the event, it was known as a maritime festival and generated little recognition. “I came on board and made it a jazz festival. Then the next year I made it an American music festival so I could incorporate jazz, blues and a little bit of everything,” he said. “I made it a little more accessible to a lot more people.”
Today, the festival consists of four stages, all of which play music at the same time. “There is one stage in Memorial Park across from Village Hall, another stage is on the ferry dock on Saturday night, another in front of the library and one more behind Chase bank,” Faith said.
The ferry dock stage on Saturday night will feature the band River City Slim & The Zydeco Hogs at 8 p.m. “The dock is kind of a cool place to have a concert. We have a well-known zydeco band that comes and plays,” Faith said. “There are a few thousand people on the ferry dock, it’s a lot of fun.”
Other musicians performing at the festival include the Queens-based band Beyond Belligerent. “We have never played at the Port Jefferson Music Festival, but we have only heard good things about it,” Michael Guzowski, the lead vocalist and guitar player of Beyond Belligerent, said.
Guzowski defined the sound of Beyond Belligerent as an alternative rock band, with an influence from the 1970s. “We have a method to our set list that will mostly keep our audience rockin’ out, with some songs that are more upbeat than others and some that are much deeper than others,” he said. “We hope that our audience not only enjoys our performance but also grasps some meaning behind the music.” Beyond Belligerent will perform on Saturday at the Memorial Park Stage from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Jem Warren, a New York based acoustic singer and songwriter, is no stranger to The Port Jefferson Music Festival. “I did it last year and had an awesome time. People really appreciate live music out there,” Warren said. Warren described his music as “acoustic rock with a touch of alternative and a pinch of indie,” and will be performing solo for the festival. “It will give people a chance to hear my songs in their raw form,” Warren said. Jem Warren will be performing on Saturday at 2:40 p.m. on the Library Stage.
The festival will provide two full days of music and an opportunity to experience the Port Jefferson area. “We’d like people to come who maybe haven’t been in the village before, so they can come see what a beautiful village Port Jeff is,” Faith said. “It’s a free day of music, which is great.”