Last year's Sag Harbor American Music Festival, as envisioned by painter Maryann Lucas
Last year’s Sag Harbor American Music Festival, as envisioned by painter Maryann Lucas

This is the third year in a row that the streets and alleys, art galleries, computer shops and restaurants of Sag Harbor will come alive with the sounds of distinctly American forms of music.

The Sag Harbor American Music Festival, which organizer Kelly Connaughton says she hopes will be held the final week in September every year, is a day full of musical performances in venues throughout the village, showcasing both Sag Harbor, East End musicians, and distinctly American forms of music — from the blues to jazz to country and rock ‘n’ roll.

The festival kicks off with a concert by BeauSoliel with Michael Doucet, “The Kings of Cajun Music,” at the Old Whalers Church on Friday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m., followed by free shows throughout Sag Harbor all day Saturday, Sept. 28. Tickets to the Friday night show, which helps raise funds for the rest of the free programming, are $25 per person and are available online here.

“They haven’t played on Long Island in six years and we’re really happy to have them performing with us,” said Ms. Connaughton of BeauSoliel this week.

For the first time this year, the festival will include an outdoor stage in Carruther’s Alley, a small one-way street between the Romany Kramoris Gallery and The American Hotel, where performers from the Who Dat Loungers to Randy Brecker to the Lone Sharks will perform throughout the day on Saturday, Sept. 28.

Escola de Samba Boom at last year's Sag Harbor American Music Festival.
Escola de Samba Boom at last year’s Sag Harbor American Music Festival.

Saturday’s festivities kick off at 11 a.m. with a performance by the percussion ensemblé Escola de Samba Boom at the windmill at the foot of Main Street.

“They do a great job getting everything started with a call to action, nice and loud,” said Ms. Connaughton.

The day finishes off with an after-party at Bay Street Theatre with Joe Delia and the Memory Thieves at 10 p.m.

All of downtown Sag Harbor will be filled with music all day with 20 performers ranging from Caroline Doctorow to Inda Eaton to Matty Liot to Sara Hartman and Hopefully Forgiven. A full schedule of performers is available here.

Businesses throughout Sag Harbor sponsor musicians to play, either in their stores or at other locations, helping to offset the cost of the non-profit event, with the help of the village, which has provided a blanket permit to allow music in shops that normally couldn’t host a live performance.

“I’m hoping it can expand and people will want to support live music year-round,” said Ms. Connaughton. “There’s a great scene out here. As long as we keep supporting one another, the East End will be known as a cultural destination.”

“If you come right down to the middle of Main Street, you’re going to be in the heart of it all,” she added. “Get yourself there. As long as you get yourself out the door and into the village, you won’t be disappointed. Live music is something that we don’t all get to experience very often.”

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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