Fans watch the Dirty Heads perform during the annual Great...

Fans watch the Dirty Heads perform during the annual Great South Bay Music Festival in Patchogue on July 13, 2018. Credit: Johnny Milano

Celebrating its lucky 13th anniversary this year, the Great South Bay Music Festival continues its run as Long Island’s largest music event, a four-day extravaganza, July 18-21, featuring so many styles of rock and pop music.

But every year brings something new to Shorefront Park in Patchogue. Here’s a look at what’s in store this year: 

GETTING THERE

If you drive: Early arrivals can usually find some parking on the streets near the festival. There are also paid parking lots for $15 near the festival grounds.

If you take public transportation: The LIRR Patchogue station is less than a mile away from Shorefront Park.

If you take a car-sharing service: The drop-off/pick-up location is at the corner of Rider Avenue and Smith Street, half a block from the main entrance

GETTING IN

Tickets are $45 each day or $172 for the entire festival and are available through greatsouthbaymusicfestival.com. The festival will donate $1 from each ticket to the GSB Stony Brook Cancer Center Fund. So far, the festival has raised more than $250,000 for the center.

The VIP Treatment: VIP tickets are $80 each day and include seats in a raised, covered tent and wait service as well as a VIP parking pass and access to VIP restrooms. (VIP tickets for Friday are now sold out.) The Ultra VIP tickets are $170 each day and include everything the VIP tickets get, as well as access to a special viewing area in front of the main stage, lunch and dinner meal tickets, special tastings and access to air-conditioned private restrooms. 

Fans dance while Carrie & The Cats perform at the Great South...

Fans dance while Carrie & The Cats perform at the Great South Bay Music Festival in Patchogue on July 15, 2018. Credit: Michael Owens

ON STAGE/NIGHT BY NIGHT

THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS

The big draw is Long Island Music Hall of Famers Taking Back Sunday, who headline the night at 8:45 p.m., but the main stage bill is strong from start to finish. Long Island pop act Whatever We Are, who just released the catchy single “Limbo,” kick things off at 4 p.m., followed by Frank Iero & the Future Violents, the Menzingers and Long Island scene heroes Glassjaw.

Don’t miss: Long Beach’s King Neptune (5:30 p.m., Clamshell Bandshell) is a Great South Bay fest staple, with Ian Kenny bringing something new and noteworthy each time, like his standout “Everybody’s Falling in Love.”

Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday performs at the Rock...

Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday performs at the Rock on the Range Music Festival in Columbus, Ohio, on May 20, 2017. Credit: Invision/AP/Amy Harris

FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Headliners Slightly Stoopid and Sublime With Rome have that reggae-fueled rock fusion down, but so does Long Island’s Oogee Wawa, who will kick off the main stage music at 4:20 p.m. That sound also gets carried through the music of Long Island’s Gnarly Karma and Baldwin-based Nonstop to Cairo at the Clamshell Bandshell.

Don’t miss: Mount Sinai’s punk-popsters Patent Pending will close out the Jambalaya Stage at 10 p.m. before they head off for their U.K. tour. And Brentwood’s Dudley Music may reveal some of the music he’s been working on in his 6:15 p.m. set at the Clamshell Bandshell.

Brentwood's Dudley Music will release new music this summer, as...

Brentwood's Dudley Music will release new music this summer, as well as play high-profile shows at Great South Bay Music Festival opening for Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony. Credit: Amelis Dorville

SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS

The jam-band tradition continues with headliners Lotus, though Dweezil Zappa’s interpretation of his father’s work may give the night a bit more edge than usual. At the Jambalaya Stage, there will be a daylong Woodstock tribute.

Don’t miss: Cassandra House plays the Clamshell Bandshell at 7:30 p.m., showing how her album “The Roam” brings the singer-songwriter tradition of Patty Griffin to Long Island. 

Cassandra House to perform at Great South Bay Music Festival...

Cassandra House to perform at Great South Bay Music Festival in Patchogue this summer. Credit: Patrick Hughes

SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Classic Rock Day at the festival takes on new meaning this year, with teenage guitar phenom Brandon “Taz” Niederauer bringing his own spin on the classics, while Blue Coupe — featuring members of Blue Oyster Cult and Alice Cooper’s band — showing how those sounds fit together. And that’s all before America and War close out the festival main stage.

Don’t miss: Two of Long Island’s up-and-coming singer-songwriters, Pete Mancini and Travis McKeveny, will team up on the new Busker Stage at 7:20 p.m.

Guitarist Brandon "Taz" Niederauer, seen here at the Mountain Jam music festival...

Guitarist Brandon "Taz" Niederauer, seen here at the Mountain Jam music festival in upstate Bethel, will perform at this year's Great South Bay Musical Festival in Patchogue. Credit: Rob Seiden

THE BUSKER STAGE

The idea for the new stage for singer-songwriters came after Faith saw some impressive ones at a recent music conference. “I realized almost nobody’s ever going to go see them,” he said. “They usually play coffeehouses and hopefully they sell some CDs, but I think they are kind of one step over poets in getting work and getting their stuff heard. I just thought it’d be good to give them an opportunity to get their music out there.” The Busker Stage will be next to the Jambalaya Stage on Saturday and Sunday and performers will include Pete Mancini and Mark Newman on Sunday night.

Pete Mancini performs during the Great South Bay Music Festival...

Pete Mancini performs during the Great South Bay Music Festival in Patchogue on July 15, 2018. Credit: Michael Owens

THE WOODSTOCK TRIBUTE

Sweetwater, the first band to play at the Woodstock festival 50 years ago, will be the first to play at the Great South Bay Music Festival’s tribute on Saturday at 2 p.m. And they will be part of the festival’s first “Artist Q&A,” where fans can talk to them at 5:20 p.m. at the Busker Stage. Juma Sultan, percussionist in Jimi Hendrix’s Gypsy Sun & Rainbows band at Woodstock and the current Kiss the Sky — The Jimi Hendrix Re-Experience, will also have a Q&A period at the Busker Stage at 8 p.m., before Kiss the Sky closes out the tribute at 10:10 p.m. The bill will also include Grateful Dead tribute band Half Step, The Band tribute band The The Band Band, Janis Joplin tribute Joplin’s Pearl and The Who tribute Who’s Next. “There’s going to be a lot of great ones on the Island, but, in this case, we wanted to give people something that was more unique, different than the others,” Faith said. “I think this will be a fun one and more educational.”

Fans dance while the band Gutterlife performs during the Great...

Fans dance while the band Gutterlife performs during the Great South Bay Music Festival in Patchogue on July 12, 2018. Credit: Michael Owens

FOOD & DRINK

As it does every year, the Great South Bay Music Festival will feature food vendors from the Patchogue area — including Bobbique, That Meetball Place, 360 Taiko Sushi and Popei’s Clam Bar — as well as beverage vendors including Sail Away Coffee and Subtle Tea.

“We have a very diverse mix from funky traditional fare to sushi and plant-based foods,” says Jim Faith, the festival co-founder and producer.

In addition to the usual food stands, serving everything from gourmet pretzels and kettle corn to hibachi fried rice, there will also be a few food trucks, including the Wow Truck, serving smoothies and ice cream, and the Green Street Food Truck, which will serve tacos, nachos and Southwest-styled bowls.

(Patrons will not be permitted to bring their own food.)

Sharon Landon samples food at the Great South Bay Music Festival...

Sharon Landon samples food at the Great South Bay Music Festival in Patchogue on July 15, 2017. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

GETTING GREENER

The Great South Bay Music Festival has partnered with Patchogue Village’s Protecting the Environment of Patchogue (PEP) Committee to reduce the event’s eco-footprint. This year’s focus will be on reducing plastic usage and increasing recycling.

“I’ve been trying to do something about this for years,” Faith said. “We’re going to try this out.”

Because staying hydrated is important at an outdoor festival, drinking plenty of fluids is a necessity. However, all those single-use plastic cups and water bottles become an issue.

To address that there are several changes this year:

— You can bring either a sealed plastic water bottle or an empty one in with you. (It can’t be an open bottle because people could fill it with other clear liquids like, well, vodka. Yes, we were kids once, too.) There will be water fountains and water stations to refill your water bottles for free on site.

— When you need a beer refill, you can use the same cup. Just hand it to the bartender when you order. Beer refills, you may have guessed, are not free.

— You will have to request a straw to get one. And there will be no single-use plastic bags or Styrofoam used on site. All the trays used will be biodegradable.