After a number of lean years, the Nice South Bay Music Pageant scales up


The Village of Patchogue will as soon as once more be the middle of the realm’s music universe this month because the annual Nice South Bay Music Pageant rolls into city.

Now in its fifteenth yr, the occasion’s organizers have invested extra money than ever earlier than to deliver larger acts that purpose to attract extra folks to the four-day pageant.

Organizers Jim Religion and Larry Weinberger stated expertise spending for this yr’s music pageant has elevated by about 25 p.c, boosting its 2023 leisure finances to round $1 million. And that doesn’t embody this yr’s larger manufacturing prices for all the things from restrooms to salaries for festival-days assist workers of not less than 100 folks.

As with different dwell leisure occasions and venues, the previous few years have been difficult for Lengthy Island’s largest music pageant. In 2019, the occasion was held throughout a warmth wave when temperatures soared above 100 levels for 3 of its four-day run. The pageant needed to be cancelled for the following two years as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

LARRY WEINBERGER and JIM FAITH: The pageant organizers on a stage at Patchogue’s Shorefront Park. Photograph by Judy Walker

“For the pandemic years once we couldn’t maintain the pageant, we needed to ship again a ton of refunds, practically $200,000,” Religion informed LIBN. “Our ticket firm held on to all the cash in our account. They wouldn’t give us the cash to present again the refunds. It took a yr to get our cash.”

And when it resumed final yr, attendance was down, as folks had been nonetheless COVID-wary of being in massive crowds.

“We misplaced distributors, and we misplaced sponsors, as a result of they weren’t snug about what was going to occur, particularly the artists on the highway,” Religion stated. “Artists’ costs went up, in some circumstances double. They’d suffered too, and so they had been simply making an attempt to make it up.”

The pageant barely broke even in consequence. And whereas it’s by no means been an enormous cash maker for organizers, it’s estimated that the occasion generates greater than $5 million for the native financial system.

“It’s the artists and staging, turbines, staffing. We now have over 100 staff working for us, union carpenters and electricians and stagehands, the police, EMTs, the distributors, and that’s simply contained in the pageant,” Religion says. “Exterior the pageant there’s the eating places and the accommodations, the truckers, the journey, and all the things else. There’s some huge cash due to our pageant.”

A crowd surfer taking a selfie.
Courtesy of Nice South Bay Music Pageant

Religion, who runs Island Artists Company, is aware of the music enterprise. A co-founder of the Lengthy Island Music & Leisure Corridor of Fame, he has been producing exhibits for greater than 35 years and is presently the unique expertise purchaser for The Iridium in Manhattan and The House at Westbury.

For the final 10 years or so, Religion’s associate for the Nice South Bay pageant has been Larry Weinberger, an actual property developer and principal of Bellmore-based MGD Investments, which owns dozens of business properties on Lengthy Island. His daughter Gabrielle Ross is a singer/songwriter, who helped introduce him to the music business and its trials and tribulations.

“I noticed the pageant as a means for me to assist younger artists, each native and from around the globe, as a result of being round my daughter’s profession, I all the time noticed the battle that younger creating artists undergo. So I considered pageant as a means for me to assist the humanities,” Weinberger stated. “After all, we’ve our established artists, and any artist that will get on our stage have to be very gifted, but it surely’s such a thrill to present up-and-coming artists some stage time and the assist they deserve.”

Skilled clown and stilt-walker Cheryl Schruefer makes some pals. Courtesy of Nice South Bay Music Pageant

Over time, the pageant held at Patchogue’s Shorefront Park has featured some main acts, together with B.B King, the Doobie Brothers, America, Tedeschi Vans Band, Graham Nash and extra. This yr, the star-studded lineup options Phil Lesh & Pals, Gov’t Mule, Electrical Sizzling Tuna, Dave Mason, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Soiled Heads and plenty of extra among the many 62 acts scheduled to carry out.

The pageant has a foremost stage, two secondary phases and a fourth stage for kids’s leisure. There will likely be 50 merchandise distributors providing crafts and artisan gadgets, together with a number of company cubicles and 20 meals distributors. As well as, Manhattan Beer Distributors can have a tent to showcase a lot of its manufacturers, together with Modelo, Samuel Adams, White Claw Seltzer and others.

The presenting sponsor of the Nice South Bay pageant is Island Federal Credit score Union.

“As a result of we’re a credit score union and a part of our mission is to present again to the communities that we serve, we do numerous native charity work within the space and supporting one thing like this, a celebration of each nationwide and native artwork, music and meals, is mostly a house run for us,” stated Chris Murray, vp of promoting for Island Federal. “We’ve seen how the Nice South Bay pageant has grown during the last 15 years and turn into a staple occasion right here, so we jumped on the probability to associate up with Jim and all of the work that they do.”

This yr, Island Federal will donate a few {dollars} to Lengthy Island Cares the Harry Chapin Meals Financial institution for each ticket bought. Because it has for a few years, pageant organizers will proceed to donate $1 from each ticket to Stony Brook Most cancers Heart, which has obtained greater than $250,000 up to now in consequence.

Tickets begin at $65 for a one-day basic admission and go as much as $225 for ultra-VIP tickets, the place folks can park shut, sit below a raised tent, get present baggage, and air-conditioned loos. The pageant runs from Thursday, July 20 via Sunday, July 23.

Regardless of some short-term inconvenience for householders on Patchogue’s south finish, Mayor Paul Pontieri says the pageant has been good for the village, which will get a number of {dollars} from each ticket bought.

View of the gang from the pageant’s foremost stage.
Courtesy of Nice South Bay Music Pageant

“It brings a pleasant crowd to the village. Jim Religion and his group put collectively the safety, the performers. It’s an actual asset,” Pontieri stated. “We’re simply ending up a significant redevelopment of our parks down there and it lends to that. It’s numerous laborious work by the village. We do all of the fencing, we work with them on safety, we work with them on all of these issues to make it the success that it’s. Total, it’s excellent. It’s been a pleasure to have.”

Sparked by his involvement with the pageant, Weinberger says he’s invested in Patchogue, buying a number of properties within the village over the previous few years.

“I fell in love with it, the vibrance, the village administration, the mayor. It’s so cohesive there they make issues occur and it’s very spectacular to actual property builders,” he stated. “I look ahead to probably doing extra.”

And Weinberger says the pageant ought to proceed for years to come back.

“This yr is our greatest finances and I believe we made the dedication to go massive or go house. We’re bringing the very best degree of musical expertise to Lengthy Island that we are able to probably deliver,” he stated. “It’s a ardour greater than it’s a cash maker. Now we’re on the level the place we’re shopping for top-flight acts. It’s a steady reinvestment to the purpose the place perhaps someday we’ll be capable to see a revenue, however that’s by no means been the precedence.”


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