Friday, May 12, 2006

A Little Bit Country. . .

. . .But Not At The Jones Beach Band Shell

For many years, taking the family for a stroll along the Jones Beach boardwalk, with it's refreshing ocean breezes, meant a visit to the band shell to join in a square dance, relive the 60s with some folk songs, or kick up the heels with a country tune.

Not this year!

Seems that those who book the acts for the band shell at the Jones Beach State Park are more interested in selling beer than in providing family-oriented entertainment. Not that The Community Alliance is against selling beer, mind you, but come on, what's summer at the band shell without that knee-slapping soul of Dixieland?

Mary Lamont, "the Queen of Long Island Country," writes us:

Hello Folks --

Just when you think there’s good news, there’s bad news -- The person who works with the person who was hired by the company that was hired by the State to book the Jones Beach Boardwalk Bandshell has informed us that we have no dates at Jones Beach. After confirming three Tuesdays with us some time ago (and they admitted that, yes, they did confirm the dates), they say we no longer have the dates. We know of another band who had confirmed dates at Jones Beach Bandshell, and their dates were taken away as well.

In the ten years we have had this band, no person or company hiring us has ever done business like this. This person said they “didn’t care how many people wrote” requesting that we be given shows at Jones Beach. This is despite the enormous crowds, including many of you who shared evenings with us... those crowds who spent money at the beach concessions.

It appears that the bands being booked are bar-type bands, as opposed to family entertainment. And we were told in a previous year, by the person doing the booking at that time, that one of the acts was related to someone within the company – they’re back this year.

And another band, although they didn’t do well last year, is back this year too, and is a good friend of ....Well, you get the idea.

It all seems like a big mess, doesn’t it? Whom would we complain to now? Maybe Bernadette Castro, because the local State office (where many wrote letters) is not returning our phone calls.

Ms. Bernadette Castro, Commissioner,
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Empire State Plaza
Agency Building 1
Albany NY, 12238

I am so sorry that we have no dates at Jones Beach, and we will miss meeting you there. I hope to see you in other locations (and we’ve got some terrific ones coming up!) this spring, summer and fall! And don’t forget country star John Berry’s show on Thursday, May 18th at the Crazy Donkey in Farmingdale – We get to open! (details below).

All the best,

Now, we, at The Community Alliance, are not quite sure what to make of all this, but we do know that country music, like NASCAR, has many fans here on Long Island, and Mary Lamont has long been a part of the scene (country music, that is, not NASCAR).

For years, the Jones Beach band shell has provided a venue where a variety of musical groups could perform -- and, of equal importance, be heard -- and it would be a shame indeed if beachgoers and boardwalk strollers were denied the likes of Mary Lamont by reason of either politics or payola.

So, write to Bernadette Castro (you may remember her as the little girl in the Castro Convertibles TV commercials. She's alot taller now, and out conquering open space, rather than "living space!"), and come out to hear Mary Lamont, and other great performances across the musical genre, wherever they may appear.
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Country radio show on Long Island:Country music can be heard on our local radio on 1240 AM, WGBB.

Click HERE for a complete listing.

Sat. May 13 OLD STREET RESTAURANT & BAR 8:00 to 11:00 PM 631-979-9073 92 East Main St., Smithtown, NY
Hip Country/Americana night! Best food in Smithtown! Mary Lamont acoustic duo featuring Jim Marchese

7:00 PM(doors open 6 PM)
OPENING FOR COUNTRY STAR JOHN BERRY (#1 hit "She's Taken a Shine")
1058 Route 110, Farmingdale, NY 631-753-1975
Click on this link to purchase tickets

NewbridgeRd & Jerusalem Ave, Bellmore, NY 7:30 PM
Rides, games & everything strawberry! Our 9th year! Small admission fee (charity)

Sat. June 10 QUEENS ZOO - Bison Bonanza 12:00 to 4:00 PM 718-271-1500
53-51 111th St., Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, NY
A major annual event - Bring the kids! This annual salute to the wildlife of the American West features games, crafts, and more as it highlights the Zoo’s bison herd and other animals of the western plains. The Queens Zoo opens at 10:00 and closes at 5:30 PM Admission is $5 for adults; $1.25 for seniors; $1 for children 3-12; under 3 are free!

Sat. June 10 OLD STREET RESTAURANT 8:00 to 11:00 PM 631-979-9073
92 East Main St., Smithtown, NY

Sun. June 11 Third Annual NY SOLARFEST! Free admission
Academy of St. Joseph, Brentwood, NY Afternoon show TBA
Solar Community Corp. a non profit volunteer-based organization, invites you to participate and support the New York Solar Festival, known as the "NYSolarfest." Solar Community is an organizationdedicated to the promotion and advocacy of renewable and sustainable living, promoting a healthy life style, in tune with nature, and protecting our environment, our people, and our planet through education and positive action.

Sat. June 24 UNTERMYER PARK, Yonkers, NY 7:30 to 9:30 PM

Wed. June 28 MAKOR, 39 West 67 St.(betw. Central Park West & Columbus) New York, NY 10:00 PM
Voted one of New York's best clubs by New York magazine, Makor Café has received accolades in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Time Out and the Village Voice. It has rapidly become one of New York City's hottest spots for live music, presenting an eclectic mix of musical genres, including rock, jazz, folk, cabaret, world, classical, electronic and everything in between. Past performers include Norah Jones, Perry Farrell, Richie Havens, David Broza and the Klezmatics.

Mon. July 4 BELMONT RACETRACK, Elmont, NY from 12 to 4 PM
We continue our July 4th tradition at the races! Come celebrate July 4th with us at the track -- Bring the whole family and have a picnic !

Sun. July 9 TOWN OF SMITHTOWN SUMMER CONCERT SERIES 7:00 PM Free admission HOYT FARM, New Highway, Smithtown, NY
Our first time here - One of the Island's best summer outdoor concert locations!Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy our show under the stars!

Enjoying country music with Mary Lamont and her band. Just another way to revitalize both spirit and community here on our Long Island!
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Is your community group not getting enough respect? Have an event of community interest that you'd like to publicize? Write us at, and we'll get the word out there!

The Community Alliance blog. A "must read" last week for 40,036 Long Islanders. Make it a "hit" in your community!

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