Battle of the Bands added to Greenport concert series

Greenport is adding a Labor Day Battle of the Bands competition to cap off this summer’s well-loved Dancing in the Park concert series — and organizers are looking for one more band.

“It’s going to be four bands doing short sets: like four songs,” said Village Trustee Lily Dougherty-Johnson, head of the committee that plans the series.

“And basically, by audience reaction, the audience will choose the winner, and that band will get a spot in next year’s lineup for the regular Dancing in the Park [series]. We’re hoping to make it an annual thing.”

She said the summer 2024 schedule is due out soon, but that villagers can expect “the old favorites coming back, and some new bands too.” The series spans a wide range of musical tastes, from 1950s hits to country, soul, classic rock and reggae.

Ms. Dougherty-Johnson said the series, which runs Monday nights all summer, is “a great thing to be a part of, and such a great community event. You see people of all ages, from all over.”

One recent summer, Ms. Dougherty-Johnson was crossing Mitchell Park during a concert when she walked past actress America Ferrara.

“I remember just walking by and seeing her dancing with her kids, and I was like, ‘This is such a cool, crazy event.’”

(courtesy photo)

Ms. Dougherty-Johnson said the concert series, now in its 22nd year, is “almost easy to organize.

“Because the musicians want to do it, the people want to help sponsor it, and we don’t even really have to advertise because people just know about it.”

She said that this year’s series would be co-presented by the village and the Friends of Mitchell Park, the non-profit founded in 2008 to support cultural, artistic and educational events in the park.

“Friends of Mitchell Park has always been one of the big sponsors, but this year they’re basically going to be the whole fiscal sponsor, and just take more ownership because it really fits their mission well.”

The Dancing in the Park series was imported from New York City, she said, when a bunch of locals, including her own mother, went to a summer dance party at Lincoln Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and decided to bring the party home to Greenport.