The 11th annual Sag Harbor American Music Festival started with a boom. Kicking off the festival local group Escola de Samba Boom led an ever-growing parade from Ryland to Marine Park on Bay Street in downtown Sag Harbor. Despite poor weather throughout the day on Thursday, the late summer sunset drenched the pastel blue sky turning leftover clouds into billows of rosy cotton candy. Booming drums and laughter filled the streets of Sag Harbor as the roving troupe made their way through the village.
An opening ceremony like this—public, engaging, unpretentious—set the tone for a weekend filled with local and national performances throughout the Village. The festival highlighted a wide spectrum of roots, music, and fusion of all kinds—from local Long Island acts, to global, jazz and blues, folk, rock, pop, and more.
Two main stages were erected, John Steinbeck Waterfront Park Stage and a tent stage at Marine Park. The impressive performance stages made the village feel like Gov Ball or other larger festivals. Highly visible (and audible) from everywhere in the village, these venues attracted plenty of listeners. The weekend was highlighted by two stand-alone evening concerts at Marine Park on Friday and Saturday.
Sag Harbor local, Sara Hartman, returned to the East End with an intimate performance at Baron’s Cove. Always a fan favorite, traveling all the way from Berlin, Germany where she lives and records, longtime listeners were treated to a mix of old and new songs. The lawn was packed with people and those eating at the restaurant had a great view of the free concert.
It’s awesome to see how many local Sag Harbor businesses participated in hosting events. Concerts and events were held at Baron’s Cove, Sag Harbor Inn, LT Burger, Sen, Provisions, Sag Pizza, Matriark, Kid Squid, K Pasa, Long Wharf Shops, and Whaling Museum. More than listening to music, the weekend’s activities included drum classes and many local vendors were on-site to connect with the community.
September afternoons are often overshadowed by the summer months, but to me, this is the best time of the year. Still warm enough to walk around town, plus the people you run into are more likely to be neighbors and friends than tourists or vacationers. I loved seeing how many families came out over the weekend, a reminder of how important low-key, relaxed events like the Sag Harbor American Music Festival are for our community.
Free, community-based events like this are not possible without support from sponsors. SHAMF is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization supported by local businesses and people like you!