For Ryan Hunter and Brian Byrne, following their hearts has worked out well in the past two years.
Since unexpectedly deciding to resurrect Long Island scene heroes Envy on the Coast in 2016, they have completed a sold-out tour, released a well-received new EP, and are now set to play their biggest Long Island show in years on Thursday, July 13, an opening-night spot for this year’s Great South Bay Music Festival.
Though they are in the middle of recording their comeback album, they jumped at the chance to play the festival, even if the timing didn’t make much sense.
“It’s a prestigious thing based on the lineup,” Hunter says. “We haven’t played a festival in a while. But it’s a big deal to play on the bill with a band like The Get Up Kids, who were an iconic band in the scene we came up in. Playing with Thrice is the same deal.”
“We thought it was weird that we hadn’t played it since we’re from here,” adds Byrne, noting that their friends Taking Back Sunday headlined the festival last year. “It’s time for us.”
So Hunter and Byrne will tear themselves away from Tone House Studios in West Babylon, where they have been holed up for months working on the first Envy album since 2010, to do the only show they have planned for the year.
“We wanted them for what they mean to Long Island,” says Jim Faith, the festival’s founder and co-producer. “We are so glad we get to bring them to the festival for their fans.”
The Get Up Kids’ frontman Matt Pryor says the band was happy to promote its new EP, “Kicker” (Polyvinyl), at the festival, a much different environment from the Long Island bars and VFW halls it played with The Movielife and Brand New. “We played Long Island a lot, especially when James [Dewees, the band’s keyboard player] lived there,” Pryor says. “We are ready to fill that stage up.”
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Envy on the Coast is also eager to make a strong impression. “It’s really heartwarming to know that so many people still thought of us,” Byrne says. “We are lucky in that respect.”
The Great South Bay Music Festival’s biggest booking coup this year is landing the Dickey Betts Band to close out the four-day festival Sunday night.
The former Allman Brothers Band guitarist is making only two festival appearances this summer, after coming out of retirement to pay tribute to Gregg Allman with his current tour – the Peach Festival, which the Allman Brothers Band founded in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the festival in Patchogue.
“I think that night could be something special,” says Jim Faith, the festival’s founder and co-producer, though he said he is proudest this year of packing the festival with Long Island bands.
“We had over 500 submissions this year,” Faith says. “But if there was a band that really knocked me out, we put them on somewhere.”
Here’s a look at some must-see Long Island artists playing the festival, alongside headliners the Front Bottoms, Sublime With Rome and Umphrey’s McGee:
KING NEPTUNE (5:40 p.m. Thursday): Long Beach’s Ian Kenny has one of the best local singles of the year so far with the rocking “Terrify Me.”
OOGEE WAWA (5:15 p.m. Friday): The Suffolk County quartet has the right reggae-rock vibe for a summer festival.
DANNY KEAN (8:30 p.m. Sunday): The Farmingdale singer-songwriter brings bits of rock and R&B into his soulful originals.
WHAT Great South Bay Music Festival
WHEN|WHERE 3 p.m. Thursday, Juy 12 and Friday, July 13 ,1 p.m. Saturday, July 14, Noon Sunday, July 15, Shorefront Park, Patchogue
INFO $40.50-$43.50, daily; 888-512-7469, greatsouthbaymusicfestival.com