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Thousands throng to Great South Bay Music Festival

Fans cheer at the Great South Bay Music

Fans cheer at the Great South Bay Music Festival in Patchogue on the evening of July 16, 2015. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

"This is my kind of music," said the guy in the tie-dyed T-shirt garnished with a peace-sign pin.

Tom Condra of Bayport was among the thousands of spectators who swayed to the raucous vocals and screaming guitars of Zofolk, a Led Zeppelin tribute band, yesterday afternoon at the Great South Bay Music Festival.

Condra, a communications project manager, didn't disclose his age but admitted to graduating from high school in 1975. "My first concert was the Beach Boys, 1972, followed by the Grateful Dead a year later. I can't imagine living on a planet without music."

Condra was looking forward to Chris Robinson, formerly of the Black Crowes, in the evening and New Riders of the Purple Sage, Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna when he returns to the Patchogue waterfront festival Sunday.

Nearby, a couple who looked too young to be Zeppelin fans had driven from Nassau County for the day. "We're here for Twiddle and Lotus," said Joe Riccardo, 19, of Merrick.

He described Twiddle as "a jammy, progressive Dead-type band," while Sam Salice, 17, of Bellmore said she anticipated deploying her hula hoop while dancing to the "electronic vibe" of Lotus.

Riccardo, who works in construction, said, "I grew up totally into classical music, but I listen to bluegrass, too," which may explain why he plays banjo. Salice, still in high school, plays guitar.

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There are four concert stages, including the KidZone, at the festival.

Sixty-five acts over four days are scattered in distance and starting times so as not to interfere with one another.

Near the main stage, Jim Faith, founding director of the festival, now in its ninth year, waited for Butchers Blind, Bellerose rockers who bring to mind The Band, to go on.

They played "Thursday Girl" from their album on Paradiddle Records of Huntington.

Faith was crossing his fingers that the morning thunderstorm would be the day's last rain. More than 9,000 attended the festival during its first two days, he said. "That's part of why we went to four days. A washout kills us" financially.

Faith expects the biggest crowds Sunday.

"Next year is our 10th anniversary," he said. "I'm looking to get Crosby, Stills and Nash to close it."

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