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Great South Bay Music Festival draws appreciative crowd

Attendees cheer as Circa Survive performs its set,

Attendees cheer as Circa Survive performs its set, at the Great South Bay Festival. The first day of the Great South Bay Festival, July 18, 2014, hosted at the Shorefront Park in Patchogue, also featured Taking Back Sunday. Credit: Johnny Milano

Much like the concert series at Jones Beach Theater, the Great South Bay Music Festival has become synonymous with summer on Long Island.

The three-day festival at Shorefront Park in Patchogue, ending Sunday night, features a variety of artists -- Taking Back Sunday, moe., B.B. King -- drawing a multigenerational audience.

"It's a nice crowd," said promoter and creator Jim Faith. "These are peaceful, creative people who are here for the music. They love the improvisational jams and the diversity of the bill."

Ann and Bob Dranoff of Sayville make a point to hit the festival every year. "We enjoy any opportunity to experience live music outside," said Bob, 58, from his lawn chair. "You can always find a place to sit and no one is really out of control. Plus, I like that they give Long Island bands a chance to perform."

Alternative-country band Butchers Blind, from the Bellerose/Floral Park area, made its second appearance at the event Saturday. The group is taking the opportunity to break in some new songs along with tracks from its critically acclaimed sophomore album, "Destination Blues."

"As a local band starting from scratch, these types of festival gigs are very important," said lead singer/guitarist Pete Mancini, 27, of Bellerose. "Everyone here is very receptive to new music."

Blues guitarist Kerry Kearney, 53, of Breezy Point, is a festival favorite who not only has a set Sunday afternoon but his own meet-and-greet booth.

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"This is always the best concert on Long Island," he said. "B.B. King is the highlight at the end. It's like getting to see Babe Ruth play."

Chris St. Hilaire, drummer for the groove rock band London Souls, returned to his Long Island roots Saturday afternoon, making his festival debut.

"I'm excited," the Huntington native, 28, said. "I like playing outside. You can project more."

People were enjoying the festive atmosphere. In the food court, they feasted on everything from barbecued turkey legs to deep-fried Girl Scout cookies. An artsy marketplace sold funky jewelry, tie-dyed clothing and glitter tattoos.

To the side of the stage, a 100-foot canvas was stretched along a fence where Studio E Art of Miller Place provided materials for adults and children to paint as the music played.

"People come here to escape and put a smile on their face," said Carolyn Miles of Huntington Station, who has sold homemade patchouli oil at the festival since its inception in 2007. "It's like a mini vacation."WHEN/WHERE: Noon-9:45 p.m. Sunday, Shorefront Park, Smith Street in Patchogue

INFO: 631-331-0808cq per website/kmd, greatsouthbaymusicfestival.comcq/kmd

ADMISSION: $36-$70

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