Great Eastern Music Festival debuts this weekend

For those of you on the more progressive end of the bluegrass scene, here’s a new festival to check out. The Great Eastern Music Festival will debut this Saturday, September 16 at the Montauk Lighthouse on Long Island, NY. It’s billed as a mixture of Americana, roots, and bluegrass music, with the Seldom Scene as one of the biggest bluegrass names on the bill.

The festival will benefit the historic lighthouse, which was built from 1792-96 and commissioned by George Washington. The lighthouse, which is the oldest in New York, is a National Historic Landmark and is overseen by the Montauk Historical Society, which offers educational programming, tours, and events at the lighthouse. Proceeds from the festival will specifically help fund maintenance of the lighthouse itself and the retaining wall facing the ocean.

Bill Ayasse, who is the fiddle player for Long Island-based bluegrass band Eastbound Freight, serves as the festival’s producer. After he was contacted by a member of the Montauk Historical Society who thought the lighthouse and surrounding area would make a nice natural amphitheater, he put the wheels into motion, ending up with what he describes as “high-quality Americana music… with a bluegrass festival vibe.”

Along with the Seldom Scene, other bluegrass bands that will be featured include Eastbound Freight and Buddy Merriam & Back Roads, while edge-of-grass fans should enjoy the sounds of Sarah Jarosz, Tall Tall Trees, and Dustbowl Revival. Food and other vendors will be available throughout the festival, which runs from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

A full lineup, festival information, and ticket purchasing information can be found on the festival’s website at

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About the Author

John Curtis Goad

John Goad is a graduate of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music program, with a Masters degree in both History and Appalachian Studies from ETSU.