The Great South Bay Music Festival: the perfect summer vibe

Festival Review

Great South Bay Music Festival. Photo by Shuvam DasGupta.

By Shuvam DasGupta, Rock At Night Philly

The Great South Bay Music Festival – Day 2, Patchogue, NYC (7/8/2022)

Steel Pulse. Photo by Shuvam DasGupta.

The Great South Bay Music Festival is back with a bang after 2 years with a great lineup consisting of – Manchester Orchestra, Group Love, Rebelution, Steel Pulse,  Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and many more. The 14-year-old festival is a 4-day event and each day is dedicated to a genre of music. Rock At Night was present on Day 2 of the festival which was dedicated to reggae and rock.

The overall vibe of the festival was really easy going with people in colorful attire enjoying the nice warm weather and the bay. There were shops consisting of crafts, handmade creations, and some great food and drink options. I have to mention a shop where a guy was making glass objects with fire. I even saw a couple of people with hula hoops and some of them were really good at it.

Rebelution. Photo by Shuvam DasGupta.

There were three stages – “Main Stage” – the biggest one, where the main acts were happening; “Sunshine Stage” – another stage on the other side of the festival; “Clamshell Bandshell” – as the name suggests it looks like a clamshell and served as a really intimate stage between the artist and the audience.

The shows at the Main stage started around 4:30 with Aqua Cherry, a perfect band to start the day and get the people moving with their groovy and rocking music accompanied by trumpets, guitar, flute, and some great percussion.  While they were performing the frontman of Oogee Wawa joined to perform one of the songs. Oogee Wawa was the next act on the stage. The band had really high energy which they transferred to the audience. Their brand of music mixed different genres like reggae, punk, and rock.

Aqua Cherry. Photo by Shuvam DasGupta.

I moved on to the clamshell stage next to see The Big Happy. The vocalist Austin jumped onto the crowd and made the audience almost part of the band. At the end of the performance, Josey from Aqua Cherry and Jesse from Oogee Wawa, and Dudley joined the band for a song.

I then ran back to the Main stage to see Badfish – a tribute band to Sublime. They are one of the best tribute bands I have ever seen. The best part was they held the essence of Sublime with each song they performed like – “Santeria”, “What I got”, “Wrong way” and many more.

Bad Fish. Photo by Shuvam DasGupta.

There were also two  bands I was able to see briefly at the clamshell stage and I have to mention them– Nonstop to Cairo – a blend of Ska and hip-hop and Bumpin Uglies- a punk reggae band. Though different in genres both the bands were able to get the crowd on their feet as I saw may jumping and dancing to each song they performed.

The Big Happy. Photo by Shuvam DasGupta.

Finally, we had the two big acts of the night–Steel Pulse and Rebelution. Steel Pulse arrived on stage around 8 and proved undoubtedly why they are one of the legends of roots reggae. Each member of the band performed their heart out with passion for the musical genre and the social messages – which is one of the most important aspects of the band. They covered their old songs and also songs from the new album Mass Manipulation.

Oogeewawa. Photo by Shuvam DasGupta.

It was then time for Rebelution. The crowd burst into a frenzy as they arrived presenting a stunning stage presence and performance by each member of the band consisting of – Eric’s amazing vocals, Marley’s smooth bass, Wesley’s groovy drums accompanied by brass. The vibe of the night was at a different level as the night progressed. For one of the songs Steel Pulse’s bassist, Amlak Tafari joined and killed it. They performed all the hits like “Feeling Alright”, “So high”, “Count Me In”, “Fade Away” and “Roots Reggae Music”. The audience sang along to the music, knowing all the lyrics.

It was an absolutely successful day 2 of the festival. The thing that I enjoyed the most was how each band enjoyed other performances as a spectator and also sometimes took part with the other band as a performer. I think this is the core of reggae music – to celebrate diversity with oneness.

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Shuvam DasGupta