JOHN NEELY PHOTO
Josh Allen of the Josh Allen Band gets down on one knee to propose to girlfriend Samantha Netusil during the Riverhead Blues & Music Festival Saturday afternoon. The couple met at the festival two years ago and have been together ever since.
Whether it’s selling beer, checking in bands or manning the hospitality tent, Samantha Netusil has volunteered or worked at the Riverhead Blues and Music Festival every year since it began in 1999. And she’s had lots of fun along the way.
But the 28-year-old Riverhead native now says 2010 was the best event — by a landslide. That’s because her musician boyfriend got down on one knee during a set Saturday afternoon and proposed to her in front of a cheering crowd.
Naturally, she said yes when Josh Allen of the Josh Allen Band presented her with a sapphire set in a white gold band, which he’d purchased only the day before.
“I wasn’t expecting this at all,” she said two days later, admitting that she was still “shellshocked.”
Ms. Netusil’s stepfather, Bob Barta, president of the nonprofit Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, the entity that oversees the festival, said Mr. Allen approached him just before the event to ask for Samantha’s hand in marriage. He obliged.
Mr. Allen, a rock and blues guitarist, was adamant that his girlfriend be there during Saturday’s set, which she thought strange since she manages to make it to all his gigs anyway. She was just beginning to wonder why her parents and all of the couple’s mutual friends were there when Mr. Allen called her up on stage.
“He said, ‘I have a question for Sam,’â” she said. He asked her to be his wife and after she said yes, the Bay Shore couple embraced in a kiss in front of the crowd.
Ms. Netusil was bombarded by well-wishers when she left the stage, many shouting out how many years they had been happily married.
“People I didn’t know were grabbing my hand, everybody just wanting to give advice,” she said. “I had to hide.”
Mr. Allen said he had no doubt that Ms. Netusil would say yes. In fact, he said he was more nervous about his set.
“It just felt right,” he said. “I know that sounds extremely simple, but it really did.”
Proposing during the Blues Festival was appropriate since that’s where the couple met two years ago. Ms. Netusil was working at the band check-in when she first spotted Mr. Allen, then performing in a band called Jacks O’ Diamonds. But she was too shy to approach him. It took her nearly 12 hours to get up the courage to talk to him. She lied and said she was asking all the bands to sign her T-shirt and during the exchange, he asked for her number.
They’ve been an item ever since.
“I am so very happy to be engaged to the most wonderful person I have ever had the fortune of crossing paths with,” she said.
The couple has no immediate wedding plans and is expecting a long engagement.