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LI venues provide virtual concerts

Diane Wagner, lead singer of FiveStone, performed virtually at Stage 317 in Farmingdale, which has launched a virtual concert series, called “Feeding Farmingdale.” Local bands play before no crowds while broadcasting on Facebook Live as donations are accepted to buy food for Farmingdale families in need. Credit: FiveStone

Music fans don’t fret. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, concerts are being booked all summer at Stage 317 in Farmingdale, My Father’s Place in Roslyn and Grasso’s in Cold Spring Harbor. However, you won’t have to get in line for tickets, but rather jump online as these venues have gone virtual by livestreaming artists twice a week:


Part of the experience of dining at Grasso’s is enjoying some live jazz. With restaurants closed to seating patrons, owner Gail Grasso decided to continue providing live entertainment via the internet in addition to serving take-out.

“I want to keep Grasso’s alive in people’s minds,” she says. “I’m bringing it to their home instead of them coming to me.”

The restaurant is utilizing a new livestreaming platform called Onfour, which was developed by Spencer Amer of Hewlett with his three partners.

“Many platforms compromise on audio and video quality,” says Amer. “We want artists to look and sound their best for each performance.”

Jazz trumpeter Jonathan Dely of Huntington, who started playing at Grasso’s in high school, performed Onfour’s first show.

“I got more response from that virtual gig than I did from a regular live show,” says Dely. “The sheer volume of how many people texted, tagged and called was significantly greater.”

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Grasso’s regulars can look forward to seeing the return of vocalist Jen Eichel and pianist/vocalist Larry Eisner.

“I think people want to feel normal. They miss the music and so do we,” says Eichel, who performed via Facebook Live from Grasso’s on Mother’s Day. “This is a way to lift people’s spirits and for us to stay relevant.”
UPCOMING SHOWS June 5 - Vanessa Trouble with Wayne Sabella and Steve Salerno, June 11 - Jen & Larry and June 12 - Jerry Weldon

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Turning the quarantine into a positive movement is not an easy task. However Stage 317, the entertainment venue inside 317 Main Street restaurant, has launched a virtual concert series, called “Feeding Farmingdale.” Local bands play to no crowd while broadcasting on Facebook Live as donations are accepted to buy food for Farmingdale families in need.

“It’s almost like a virtual live telethon,” says marketing director Genessa Aliberti. “This is a way to give back to the community, which does so much for us.”

The first livestream concert was done by Phil Smith of The 90’s Band, who raised $1,700 for Farmingdale families. Artists have a virtual tip jar as well.

“Performing virtually creates a sense of community,” says Smith, who played from his home. “People have been very generous to the cause and the tips have been a meaningful source of income.”

Diane Wagner, lead singer of FiveStone, was surprised at how interactive the experience actually felt.

“People were talking with each other and giving shout-outs. Because I kept connecting with the viewers, it felt like they were there with us,” says Wagner, who played with her band at Stage 317 to an empty room. “Until we can be together again, this is something.” 

UPCOMING SHOWS June 5 - Brian Mancuso Band, June 6 - Floodwire, June 12 - Us & Floyd

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This legendary venue has been delivering live performances to Long Islanders for decades and it doesn’t plan to stop now. My Father’s Place goes virtual twice a week showcasing both national and local artists.

“We started out with 300-500 people viewing. Now we draw 1,500-2,000,” says talent coordinator/host Marc Greene. “We’ve been gradually learning this virtual medium step-by-step. Each performance gets better.” 

Singer/songwriter Roger Street Friedman livestreamed from his Sea Cliff studio featuring material from his new album, “Rise.” 

“I got some nice comments on my new songs, which made it even more intimate in some ways,” he says. “I heard the people online clapping in my head.”

Recently, guitarist Kerry Kearney performed an acoustic set of blues.

“I got a great tone right out of my living room,” says Kearney. “People are really jonesing for live music right now so I just let it rip.”

UPCOMING SHOWS June 13 - Ray Lambiase, June 20 - Nancy Atlas and June 27 - Johnny & the Mongrels

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