For the fifth year in a row, the streets and venues of Sag Harbor will come alive next weekend with the sounds of distinctly American forms of music.
The Sag Harbor American Music Festival, organized by Kelly Connaughton, has been held in the village the final week in September since 2011. It’s a weekend that showcases both East End musicians and distinctly American forms of music — from the blues to jazz to gospel, country and rock ‘n’ roll.
This year’s headliners include The HillBenders, who plan to present The Who’s “Tommy” at Bay Street Theatre in a distinctly American style — as a bluegrass opry.
Rolling Stone magazine says of their performances that “You haven’t heard ‘Acid Queen’ until you’ve seen it sung by a bearded man with a mandolin.”
The 75-minute live performance, on Sept. 26 at 8 p.m., covers the original album from start to finish, with video accompaniment and audience participation. Tickets are $25 and are available online here.
The weekend kicks off Friday night, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. with performances by the South Fork’s own roots music star Caroline Doctorow, opening for gospel powerhouse The Fairfield Four at the Old Whalers Church.
The Fairfield Four have won Grammy Awards for Best Traditional Gospel Recording for their recording of ‘I Can’t Hear Nobody Praying,” and Album of the Year for their soundtrack to the Coen Brothers film “O Brother Where Art Thou.” They also have won two Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards and were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1999. Tickets are $25 and are available online here.
Ms. Connaughton originally envisioned the Sag Harbor Music Festival as a series of free concerts on the streets and in the restaurants and shops of Sag Harbor Village, and this coming weekend keeps up that tradition, with more than 25 bands performing throughout the village between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday.
Among the bands performing are Mamalee Rose & Friends, Mambo Loco, Joe Delia & Thieves, Nancy Atlas, the Ludmilla Brasil Trio, the PitchBlak Brass Band, the Screamin’ Rebel Angels, Ada Rovatti, In Circles, the Sag Harbor Community Band and the Montauk Project. The full performance schedule is online here.
Sag Harbor artist Maryann Lucas has been designing original posters for the festival since its inception, and this year the organizers are raffling off her original painting of “Musicians at The Whaling Museum,” which is currently on view at the Romany Kramoris Gallery. Raffle tickets are available at the gallery or by calling 631.725.2499.