Winterfest Kicks Off Ninth Season

This year's Winterfest logo
This year’s Winterfest logo

The North Fork’s annual Winterfest Live on the Vine music series, which began as a jazz festival but has since morphed into a festival showcasing many different styles of music, kicks off this weekend at The Suffolk Theater in Riverhead.

The festival, which takes place at venues ranging from hotel ballrooms to vineyard tasting rooms, had been six weeks long in prior years, but this year it will run for just five weeks, from Feb. 19 through March 20.

The concert series will this year feature 30 artists ranging from local singer-songwriters to hitmakers including Jefferson Starship, Judy Collins, Amy Helm and Randy Brecker.

The annual kickoff party at the Suffolk Theater, to be held this Friday, Feb. 19, will feature Toby Walker and Miles to Dayton, and the closing party, featuring Jefferson Starship, will also be held at the Suffolk Theater on March 19.

This year, Winterfest is collaborating with the Long Island Wine Council on a series of 23 “Art of Wine” events, which give visitors access to rare wines, and Long Island’s winemakers, who will share their winemaking techniques.

Noted performances throughout the festival include Judy Collins at the Suffolk Theater on March 17, bassist Bakithi Kumalo and his all-star band at the Hotel Indigo on Feb. 20, the Late Night Gospel Choir’s Sunday Brunch at the Hotel Indigo on Feb. 21, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band on March 5, Amy Helm at the Hotel Indigo on March 12, the Randy Brecker Quartet at Macari Vineyards on March 13, Bryan Carter at Bedell Cellars on March 20 and Randy Jackson at Coffee Pot Cellars on March 20.

East End musicians performing in the festival include the Kerry Kearney Blues Band, The HooDoo Loungers, Black & Sparrow, Rob Europe, Ray Anderson and Steve Salerno, Rob Bruey, Don Bracken, Marty Attridge and Nina et Cetera.

Tickets to most winery events are $20, but prices vary for the headline shows at larger venues, and some events are free. For all show schedules, ticketing, artist information, packages and special offer information, visit


Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, 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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