The summer hot spot, which has been attracting increasing attention, particularly since recovering from Superstorm Sandy, has long been home to a thriving local music scene of cover bands playing the local bars and boardwalk establishments, concentrated mostly during the summer months.
Since Sandy, there has been an influx of newer musicians, with many creating original music. Among the many artists who have recently made Rockaway a permanent or part-time base have been Patti Smith, MGMT, Lewis Del Mar and Blac Rabbit.
What has been missing is a venue to present national touring acts. There are a plethora of venues ringing the New York suburbs, often in restored theaters such as Bergen PAC, Tarrytown Music Hall, Capitol Theater in Port Chester and Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington, in addition to Manhattan stalwarts City Winery and the Beacon Theater.
However, no venue in Queens or southern Brooklyn presents live music similar to those venues. For music lovers in the Rockaways, a trip of an hour or more each way is required to enjoy a show by someone other than their local heroes.
Bugalou Productions has now begun to answer that need. Bugalou is the product of Keith Goldberg, a singer in local band The Grayriders, and a coordinator for the CYO of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
Without a proper permanent venue, Goldberg rents out gyms and auditoriums at local churches St. Camillus and St. Francis de Sales, to present one show a month, outside of summer, pairing a national act with one of Rockaway’s many local bands.
The series began in October 2017 with Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and presents a mix of classic rock acts, roots music, and high quality tribute bands.
Other performers have included John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful, Joan Osborne and Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams, as well as a recent performance by internet sensations Blac Rabbit, which marked the first show to be headlined by a local act. Upcoming shows include Damn The Torpedoes, the premier tribute to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, on April 6, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals on May 11.
NYC Ferry and Q52-53 Select Bus Service increases accessibility for those outside of Rockaway to make the trek, and the series is already attracting patrons from surrounding communities including Marine Park, Howard Beach, and Long Beach, as well as further afield.
Tickets and information are available at www.bugaloumusic.com for this welcome addition to live music in NY.