Taking Back Sunday singer Adam Lazzara says the band didn’t know what the Great South Bay Music Festival was all about when they first headlined it in 2014.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” said Lazzara, calling from his North Carolina home. “B.B. King was headlining a couple days after us. But when we got there, it was a fun time.”
It was so much fun that the Long Beach-based rockers jumped at the chance to headline the opening night of the festival again this year, on July 13, their final show before heading out on a summer tour that includes shows at Webster Hall on July 14 and July 15.
“The lineup should be awesome,” Lazzara says. “It’s our friends like Saves the Day and New Found Glory. It will be great to see them again.”
Jim Faith, the festival’s co-founder and producer, says that seeing headliners return validates what the Patchogue festival has been doing for the past 11 years, growing into Long Island’s largest music event. That validation also comes when outsiders like Canadian travel agency Flight Network recently named the Great South Bay fest one of the most exciting music festivals in the world this year.
“We’re just growing in an organic way,” said Faith, adding that ticket sales this year are stronger than ever for a slate that also includes Gov’t Mule headlining July 15 and The Zombies and Plainedge native Eddie Money closing out July 16. “We’re more of a community roots festival. We just try to lay some new music on people.”
Nick Hexum, singer of July 14’s headliners 311, says the band didn’t know what to expect when it first headlined the festival in 2015, especially when the band was driving around Patchogue trying to get to Shorefront Park.
“We thought, ‘What an unusual setting!’ ” Hexum said. “It turned out to be an awesome party, though. There was all this new energy in this big, open place and we had a great, rowdy, boisterous crowd. We’re excited to be back out there.”
Lazzara says Taking Back Sunday is excited to be back on tour again this summer after a few months of weekend festival shows. “We’re always tinkering with things,” said Lazzara, adding that the band will start working on the follow-up to last year’s “Tidal Wave” when this tour is done. “We’re still working out what songs we want to learn. This tour will be a mix of ‘Tidal Wave’ stuff and older stuff. We’re going to switch things up.”
WHAT Great South Bay Music Festival
WHEN | WHERE 5 p.m. July 13 and 14; 1 p.m. July 15; noon July 16, Shorefront Park, Patchogue
INFO $42.50 for July 13 and 14; $37.50 for July 15 and 16; 877-987-6487, ticketfly.com
THE 311 ‘MOSAIC’
Nick Hexum says his band, 311, doesn’t take the easy path very often.
“I like creating hurdles for myself,” the 311 singer says, adding that he purposefully stretched vocally on the band’s new album, “Mosaic” (BMG). “There’s an urgency when you sing at the top of your range and you’re up there belting.”
He says the band’s challenge on its current tour is to add as many new songs as it can to its set. “After 27 years as a band, a shot of newness is quite welcome,” Hexum says. “And the fans, they want the new stuff.”
It’s that fan support that turns a new song like “On a Roll” into an immediate singalong and has also led to 311’s own line of beer (311 Amber Ale), marijuana (Grassroots Uplifter) and its own cruise.
“311 has evolved into more than just a band,” Hexum says. “It’s a community, a lifestyle, a way to look at the world.”
— GLENN GAMBOA