Concerts at Northwell at Jones Beach Theater are a highlight of...

Concerts at Northwell at Jones Beach Theater are a highlight of many Long Islanders' summer experiences.  Credit: Wayne Herrschaft

Every summer the Karp family, of Plainview, makes plans to hit multiple shows at Northwell at Jones Beach Theater. Each member has different musical tastes, but the venue’s diverse roster always seems to accommodate them.

“My son Danny is into modern alternative music. My other son, Sammy, is more of a traditional rock and roll person while my daughter, Olivia, likes pop music,” says father Scott Karp, 57. “But my wife, Pamela, is a huge Train fan, therefore every year the whole family plus my sister Shari goes to see them every time they play. We already have our tickets for this year.”

The family attends a minimum of six shows per summer.

“One summer we didn’t go away, we simply went to 11 concerts,” recalls Karp.

Scott Karp, 57, of Plainview (in back) with (counterclockwise) his son Sam, his wife, Pamela, his daughter, Olivia, his son Daniel and his sister Shari at Northwell at Jones Beach Theater. Credit: Scott Karp

Seeing concerts at Jones Beach Theater is a summer staple for Long Islanders. Many build their seasonal schedules around the shows, which begin this year on June 29 with the Outlaw Music Festival featuring Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Robert Plant with Alison Krauss.

“Jones Beach Theater is such a huge asset to Long Island. A show at Nassau Coliseum never came close to what you experience at Jones Beach,” says Jodi Posner, 61, of Merrick. “I’ll see anybody in that setting because it’s so beautiful. There’s something special being a Long Islander seeing a show on the water in open air with the sky above you while hearing great music.”

Philip Palladino, 64, of Massapequa, adds, “Going to shows at Jones Beach is a big part of my summer. The venue combines being at the beach with the music that I love. It’s a Long Island tradition.”

After speaking with local concertgoers, here are the Top 10 reasons why Long Islanders love Jones Beach Theater.


"The venue is breathtaking. Sometimes I prefer being up top,”...

"The venue is breathtaking. Sometimes I prefer being up top,” says Tod Cagan, of West Babylon. Credit: Wayne Herrschaft

Perhaps the biggest selling point of Jones Beach Theater is the vista behind the stage, which overlooks Zachs  Bay. Many concert attendees are drawn to the venue just for its view.

“I can’t pass up the chance to see a show under the stars and among the waves,” says Sarah Greller, 43, of Levittown. “There’s something more ethereal seeing live music outdoors. It’s about as good as it gets.”

Tod Cagan, 54, of West Babylon, adds, “It doesn’t matter if you are up at the top or in the orchestra, the venue is breathtaking. Sometimes I prefer being up top.”

“Before the main band goes on, the sun has just set behind you and all of a sudden you see the moon rising,” says Laura VonKampen, 59, of Sayville. “It elicits a great feeling.”


“They are making it more welcoming," says Laura VonKampen, of...

“They are making it more welcoming," says Laura VonKampen, of Sayville. Credit: Drew Singh

Last summer, Live Nation unveiled some new improvements that were made to the venue as part of its multimillion dollar four-year renovation plan. This included a new entrance way complete with food trucks, seating areas, various bars, lawn games, extra bathrooms and a big merchandise booth.

“The venue seems like they are going for more of a Forest Hills Stadium vibe with an open concourse and hangout areas,” says Karp. “It’s very comfortable because it gives you more room to wander around.”

Kari Tabag, 52, of North Massapequa, says: “I love how they have more food options as you go in. I have a lot of dietary restrictions therefore it’s good for me.”

“They are making it more welcoming with cornhole and photo-op areas,” says VonKampen. “Having the increase in bathrooms is a bonus, too. I’m excited to see what else they are adding this year.”

Matthew Glubiak, 39, of Mastic, notes, “Having an extra T-shirt booth outside helps cut down on the lines. The one inside can get crazy.”


“Being in the crowd and feeling that salt air is...

“Being in the crowd and feeling that salt air is the best when it’s hot outside," says Kari Tabag, of Massapequa. Credit: Newsday/Cory Schwartz

Being on the water, concertgoers get an extra boost of oxygen with the air coming off the bay.

“I love breathing in that seawater air,” says Jeremy Burd, 21, of Holtsville. “Plus, having that breeze blow on you is such a nice feeling.”

Tabag adds, “Being in the crowd and feeling that salt air is the best when it’s hot outside.”

“The air is fresh and clean,” says VonKampen. “It’s not like being at Nassau Coliseum or UBS Arena. There’s no noise or car pollution around you.”


“I saw Ozzy Osbourne in 2018 during a rainstorm and...

“I saw Ozzy Osbourne in 2018 during a rainstorm and the way the lights and the lasers were coming through precipitation made the visuals even more incredible," says Mark Bistro, who grew up in Northport. Credit: Michael E. Ach

Holding concerts outdoors on the shoreline provides a certain sense of adventure that can impact the course of the show. Every performance is vulnerable to the elements of Mother Nature, which can sometimes increase the entertainment value.

“My husband, Eric, and I once saw Stevie Nicks and Chris Isaak in 2007 in the 20th row with water above our knees when we were on the floor,” recalls Susan Tartaglione, of Centereach, who is in her 60s. “The high tide came up and we rolled our pants up. Security had to escort us out of the orchestra because we were soaking wet. It was crazy but kind of fun.”

Mark Bistro, 56, who grew up in Northport, notes, “I saw Ozzy Osbourne in 2018 during a rainstorm and the way the lights and the lasers were coming through precipitation made the visuals even more incredible.”

“Once Frank Zappa was playing and we could see a storm with lightning dancing in the background miles away,” says Scott Staszak, 61, who grew up in Huntington. “It never hit us but it made for an interesting evening. Frank even addressed it on stage.”


“We make it a whole day affair,” says tailgating fan...

“We make it a whole day affair,” says tailgating fan Jeremy Burd, of Holtsville. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Long Islanders love to tailgate. Very often they will arrive several hours before a show to set up their stations in the parking lot. Out come the lawn chairs, the umbrellas, the lawn games along with the spread of food and beverages where massive socializing occurs before each concert.

Burd tailgates with his buddies or his family every year.

“We make it a whole day affair,” he says. “I’ll even cook hot dogs and hamburgers in the parking lot.”
Greller claims, “We bring a portable pizza oven. The dough gets stretched with all the toppings. Each pie only takes 5 minutes to cook.”

Tabag is part of the WLIR Facebook group that typically draws up to 100 people to shows like last year’s triple bill of Culture Club, Berlin and Howard Jones.

“We have a designated area where we all meet up and we fly the banner,” says Tabag. “We put up overhangs, play cornhole and everybody brings their own chairs and food.”


“Not charging for parking shows that they are keeping it...

“Not charging for parking shows that they are keeping it about the fans and the music," says Bill Donnelly, of Patchogue.

One of the most appreciated elements of attending concerts at Jones Beach Theater is the free parking. This is a rarity in the concert industry as most venues charge drivers exorbitant fees.

“Not having to pay a parking fee is important because it makes it more inviting,” says Kathleen Vaughan Ware, 60, of Seaford. “Tickets are not cheap and to have to pay for parking on top of that can be frustrating.”

Glubiak adds, “The free parking is absolutely amazing. If you go to UBS Arena it will cost you $50 to park.”

“Not charging for parking shows that they are keeping it about the fans and the music. They are not looking to do a money grab every chance they can,” says Bill Donnelly, of Patchogue. “It’s one of the defining elements of the theater.”


“There truly is no bad seat at Jones Beach,” says...

“There truly is no bad seat at Jones Beach,” says Matthew Glubiak, of Mastic. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Jones Beach Theater has a reputation that every seat is a good one because despite holding approximately 15,000 people, the venue has an intimate feel to it.

“There truly is no bad seat at Jones Beach,” says Glubiak. “No matter where you sit, you’ll have a good time.”

Colleen McIntyre, 48, of East Moriches, adds: “I always get the seats at the top. I enjoy those more because I can see everything and the acoustics are great. Plus, the people up there are fun. I’ve never had a bad experience.”

“If it’s an artist that I really like I’ll treat myself and try to get as close as I can. But I’ll sit in the cheaper seats if I’m just going to hang out and jam with my friends,” says Ware. “The bleacher creatures bring their own ambience.”


"It’s the ultimate summer night activity," says Amy Fleischer, of...

"It’s the ultimate summer night activity," says Amy Fleischer, of Huntington.

There’s a certain energy that fills Jones Beach Theater that has become part of Long Islanders’ DNA. It’s a feeling they have been waiting for all fall, winter and spring — it’s the summer vibe. That spirit is deeply embedded in the venue and very palpable from the minute you enter the gate.

“Once you walk in, there’s a specific energy in that building. Everyone is excited for a night of music and singing along,” says Ware. “It’s a vibe you can only get from being at Jones Beach because the environment is so unique.”

Amy Fleischer, 61, of Huntington, adds, “It’s impossible to not have a good time at Jones Beach Theater because it’s the ultimate summer night activity. Everyone is in a good mood while you are there.”


Part of having a pleasant evening comes from the assistance of the Jones Beach Theater staff. From ticket checkers to the ushers to the concessioners to security guards, they share the same goal — to make sure everyone has a good but safe time.

“The Jones Beach staff are the happiest group of people and could not be more accommodating,” says Jim Connelly, 61, who grew up in Seaford and takes his daughter Erin, who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair, to shows. “There wasn’t any family bathroom available therefore they gave us VIP bracelets allowing us access to the single stall bathroom that we were able to utilize. It was right near the handicap section with movable seats on a dock, which was just perfect. It was such a great experience that we’ve gone to multiple shows there.”

Vanessa Taranto, 45, of Port Jefferson, once took her daughters, Roxanne, 15, and Maggie, 12, to see Brian Wilson when a security guard enhanced her evening with a kind gesture.

“The place was filled with older people. One of the security guards saw how young my girls were and said, ‘What are you two doing here?’ I told him that my daughter Roxanne is autistic and she has always loved the Beach Boys music,” she recalls. “He said, ‘Come with me’ and then put some chairs in the front row. Al Jardine even waved and said hello to them. It was quite magical.”


These days, tickets can be quite pricey but very often Jones Beach Theater offers deals that can make going to a concert a more affordable excursion.

“We like to take advantage of the on-site $25 ticket deals when you walk in,” says Greller, who takes her whole family to concerts. “You’ll see employees selling tickets for future shows. We do it almost every time.”

Bistro takes advantage of Live Nation’s annual Concert Week offer before the season starts.

“These tickets are $25 per seat — no tax, no service fees, no other charges,” he says. “Last year I saw six shows for $150. You can’t beat it.”


The 2024 concert series at Northwell at Jones Beach Theater is getting a late start due to construction delays. However, this year’s roster still packs a punch with 24 shows offering a wide variety of musical genres. Here’s the breakdown.


July 18 Third Eye Blind, Yellowcard and ARIZONA


July 12 Jason Aldean

Aug. 10 Dan + Shay


June 29 Outlaw Music Festival featuring Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan & Robert Plant with Alison Krauss

Aug. 31 James Taylor


Sept. 14 Megadeth, Mudvayne & All That Remains

Sept.19 Staind, Breaking Benjamin, Daughtry & Lakeview


Aug. 3 Kidz Bop Live


July 3 Maroon 5 and Maren Morris

Aug. 2 Imagine Dragons

Aug. 4 New Kids on the Block, Paula Abdul and DJ Jazzy Jeff

Aug.27 Avril Lavigne, Simple Plan and Girlfriends

Sept. 12 Pitbull and T-Pain


July 25 The Commodores, Pointer Sisters and Spinners

July 28 Earth, Wind and Fire and Chicago

Sept. 20 Ms. Lauryn Hill and the Fugees


July 20 Slightly Stoopid, Dirty Heads, the Elovaters and Passafire


July 9 Dave Matthews Band

July 10 Alanis Morissette, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Morgan Wade

July 21 Santana and Counting Crows

July 27 Train and REO Speedwagon

Aug. 8 The Beach Boys and Dave Mason

Aug. 22 Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top

Sept. 1 Deep Purple and Yes

Sept. 5 Hootie & the Blowfish, Collective Soul and Edwin McCain

For more information or to buy tickets, call 516-221-1000 or visit:


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