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Bands battle for a cause at Mr. Beery's

The open-mic night at Mr. Beery's has morphed

The open-mic night at Mr. Beery's has morphed into an annual all-day battle of the bands to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Photo Credit: Mary Ellen Walsh

When Steve Beery, the pied piper of Long Island, takes the tiny dance floor turned stage at his self-named bar in Bethpage, he beams personality with a capital P.

The free open mic night -- at 10 p.m. every Thursday -- draws a crowd of talented musicians from across Long Island and as far away as St. Louis and London.

In a benevolent bent, Mr. Beery’s hosts an annual all-day benefit concert for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (cff.org). Starting at noon Feb. 20, folks can hear 25 bands jam all day and night for a $10 cover charge.

“We party 'til we drop, all for a great cause,” Beery said.

Long Island bands like The Eddie Leeway Show, Hot Monkey Love, The Electric Dudes, Out of Step, My Summer and Black Suit Youth don’t mind sharing the stage.

“Each year I like to beat that watermark amount we set, to raise thousands of dollars to help people with this disease,” Beery said of the event, in which hundreds of patrons come and go. “It can get chaotic, and we have a tight schedule to move 25 bands in and out performing 20-minute sets. It’s a blast. It’s my way to give back to the community that’s been good to me.”

The benefit is an offshoot of the weekly open-mic night Beery created with local songwriter Mike Longo in May 2008. The atmosphere that’s been created on Thursdays has helped spur the charitable endeavors.

“Steve said let’s go for it,” Longo said of the open-mic night. “Since then, Beery’s has become a very popular venue for musicians. We’ve all kind of become friends.”

Mr. Beery’s (www.mrbeerys.com) is at 4019 Hempstead Tpke., Bethpage. 516-731-9579. Sign up for open-mic Thursday starts at 9 p.m.

Below, Steve Beery, Mike Longo and Dean Lombardo play the blues during a recent open-mic night.

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