The Arts

Mattituck summer concert and movie series announced

Kevin Byrne is ready to rock this summer.

In 2021, before he was elected a commissioner of the Mattituck Park District, Mr. Byrne wanted to take to the stage with his Eagles tribute group, The Eagle River Band. The COVID-19 pandemic made live entertainment all but impossible, but the guitarist and vocalist was determined to reunite local musicians and audiences, even if he had to make his own venue. He worked with the park district, volunteers and sponsors to kickstart the Mattituck Park District’s annual free summer concert series at Veterans Park, which returns June 8 for its fourth season.

This year’s performances — free and open to the general public — will take place on five Saturdays from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Music lovers can catch Four Way Street, a tribute to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, on June 8, followed by popular country and rockabilly act Gene Casey & the Lone Sharks on July 6, The Eagle River Band on July 20, classic rockers Who Are Those Guys on Aug. 10 and Beatles tribute act Liverpool Shuffle to complete the season on Aug. 31.

During each concert, food, beer and wine will be available for purchase in the “biergarten” inside the park’s community room.

“It’s a big part of the fun of it, I think,” Mr. Byrne said. “We have Eastern Front [Brewing Co.] returning again this year. They’re a sponsor and they will also do the beer for all of the shows. We have Borghese, Sannino and Pindar [Vineyards] lined up to do wine pouring at the various events and we have a couple of different food trucks coming … This year we hope will be the best yet.”

Last summer, for the first time, the park district also offered a free family movie night, during which residents gathered for a projected screening of the “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” This year, the park district will host two free movie nights, on Aug. 17 and Sept. 7. Members of the public can catch a first-run family friendly movie at 7:45 p.m. both nights on the big screen and nosh on popcorn and ice cream from Magic Fountain.

Mr. Byrne estimates that last year’s concerts and family movie night drew 2,000 music and movie fans to Veterans Beach.

“The people love it,” Mr. Byrne said. “We’ve gotten very good feedback on it, and it seems like it’s grown every year.”

The park district commissioner said he recently secured the Suffolk County Department of Parks and Recreation’s showmobile for the event. Booking the mobile stage and hosting the event is costly, but Mr. Byrne said he does not think it is “necessary” to charge any admission or seek donations from the taxpayers who fund the park district. Instead, he relies on — and is currently seeking — sponsors.

“I’m happy to say that most of those sponsors continue to come back every year,” Mr. Byrne said. “Every year we try and give the sponsors a little bit more value for helping us, so this year, on top of the normal posters and promotions, we’re going to give [sponsors] the option for a 30-second video commercial as a preview before the movie starts on both movie nights.”

Like many sponsors, audience members can expect Mr. Byrne and his Eagle River Band bandmates to return year after year for as long as the Veterans Park concert series runs.

“They’ll be wheeling me out in a wheelchair before I stop doing that,” he said. “I love it so much.”