Joe Bonamassa, left, and former Yes vocalist Jon Anderson are part...

Joe Bonamassa, left, and former Yes vocalist Jon Anderson are part of this year's Great South Bay Music Festival lineup, set for July 18-21. Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP; Mike Coppola/Getty Images

The weather may be cold, but tickets are currently being sold for the 16th annual Great South Bay Music Festival July 18-21 at Patchogue's Shorefront Park. The four-day event showcases more than 60 acts and has a theme for each day. This year there are many first-timers as well as a mix of returning favorites.

“Sonically we always make sure the music fits. We book our headliners first then add in our local bands to see who works in each day,” says founder/promoter Jim Faith. “People have been asking us for a little more classic rock, so we are delivering that.”

Kicking off the festival on July 18 are two guitar-heavy acts making their festival debut, Joe Bonamassa and Jim Messina, who are paired with local regulars Brandon “Taz” Niederauer and the Kerry Kearney Band.
Dix Hills resident Niederauer, now 20, has been playing the festival since age 9.
“We wanted to have Taz on the bill each year to nurture him and watch him grow,” says Faith. “He once said to me, ‘Someday I’m going to play that main stage.’ Now he is there.”

On July 19 get ready to dance as the theme is centered on rock, reggae and ska. Bands like Pepper, Streetlight Manifesto, Badfish, Tropidelic and Oogee Wawa will turn the main stage into a party.

“It’s a very open and free environment for musicians with positive energy,” says Oogee Wawa bassist Chad Chadwick of Selden. “Everyone is collectively there for the music and to have a good time.”

The festival's Saturday lineup is traditionally for jam bands and this year is no exception. Dark Star Orchestra returns after many years bringing a Grateful Dead vibe along with newcomers The Disco Biscuits, Dogs in a Pile, Karina Rykman plus Dopapod.

“Karina is from New York City and has great songs,” says Faith. “She was produced by Trey Anastasio from Phish.”

A strong dose of classic rock is headed for the final day on July 21, as Jon Anderson, formerly of Yes, comes to GSB for the first time as well as other fresh festival faces: Moody Blues singer Justin Hayward, Jethro Tull's Martin Barre and Talking Heads tribute Start Making Sense.

“Jon Anderson plays with a seven-piece band and his voice is still perfect,” says Faith. “Amazingly, he sounds exactly the way he always did on the classic Yes albums.”

Tickets (ranging from general admission $72.68 to ultra-VIP $265.98) are currently on sale at  greatsouthbaymusicfestival.com.

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