Oldies concert planned to help replace Riverhead Blues Festival

It didn’t take the Riverhead Business Improvement District leadership long to fill the gap left by the demise of the Riverhead Blues Festival.

The BID board on Wednesday voted to sponsor an oldies concert on Saturday, July 16, during the weekend in July was when the Blues Festival was traditionally held. The event will be named in memory of former longtime town Supervisor Joe Janoski, who died last year and who was a big fan of 1950’s music.

The BID is also planning a one-day Mardi Gras event on Aug. 6 this year, and BID members say that event, which may include a float contest and parade, also could help fill the void left by the Blues Festival.

The oldies concert would feature several bands playing music from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, according to members of the BID, which is a taxing district that collects funds from downtown business owners for events and promotions. They envision the event starting around 4 p.m. and continuing until around 11 p.m. The Blues Festival was a two-day event and started much earlier in the day.

The Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, which had sponsored the Blues Festival in recent years as a fundraiser for the non-profit organization, announced Monday it would not be holding the outdoor riverfront festival this year, and would instead hold a series of smaller fundraising concerts inside the Music Hall.

BID member Ed Densieski suggested a 50s and 60s concert during the organization’s monthly meeting and BID members took a vote and supported that idea, adding music from the 70s  as well.

“I think that brings in the kind of crowd we want to bring in,” said BID board member Tony Coates.

Mr. Densieski also suggested naming the one-day event in honor of Mr. Janoski.

“Joe Janoski was a huge fifties and sixties music guy and he was always talking about doing some type of big concert,” Mr. Densieski said.

Some BID members expressed concern that naming the event after Mr. Janoski, a Republican Party member, might politicize it, but the majority felt it would just be paying tribute to him and supported the idea.

The idea for the oldies concert was something BID members had planned to hold this year, but had not determined when. No bands have been scheduled yet.

In addition to the July 16 event and the Mardi Gras event on Aug. 6, the BID also has scheduled a Fourth of July concert, on Sunday, July 3, as it did last year.

Three performers are scheduled to perform. The local band Who Are Those Guys? will play first, followed by Grammy-nominated Southold resident Brady Rhymer and the Little Band that Could, who played the Fourth of July event last year. The closing act will be the Rock and Roll Revue, Mr. Pickersgill said.

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