What started as a single-day event featuring live performances by mostly local musicians around the village has flowered into a four-day festival complete with Grammy-Award winning performers and 30-plus acts performing over one long weekend in Sag Harbor.
Even with the added pomp and circumstance, what’s best about the Sag Harbor American Music Festival, which will kick off its seventh season Thursday night at the Bay Street Theater, is that most of the performances are offered for free, aside from a few events that help cover expenses and provide funding to local music programs. This newspaper is a sponsor of the event and supports the non-profit entity run by Kelly Dodds, a former Chamber of Commerce president, who holds the idea of community building near and dear to her heart.
Something else we love about the festival is that all the musicians are paid for their work, which is not always the case in these kind of scenarios. The notion that these musicians will gain “added exposure” as a result of their participation does not help pay their bills. Many of the musicians live here, and are struggling to get by like so many others on the East End, so it’s only appropriate that they are paid for their work.
When the music festival began back in 2011, village officials were not entirely open to having live music played on the streets and sidewalks of Sag Harbor. This weekend there will be full-blown stages in Marine Park and Carruther’s Alley — courtesy of village officials — concerts at Bay Street and the Old Whalers’ Church, and performances in stores, restaurants and other outdoor spaces.
So we say, “Listen up.” The Sag Harbor American Music Festival this weekend is not to be missed.