Three touring musical acts performed a live show in Greenport Village Saturday night and you might not have known about it. That’s actually somewhat by design.
The event was the first on Long Island launched by Sofar Sounds, a live music company that hosts intimate shows at secret locations featuring acts that aren’t announced until they take the stage.
Even in this day and age of iPhone ticket sales and pop-up events, Sofar Sounds occupies a unique corner in the arts world.
“It’s a great way for [musical acts] who aren’t in the city to get their name out to a local and global audience,” said Taylor Debenedetto of Hampton Bays, the “city leader” for Sofar Sounds Long Island.
Here’s how it works:
Followers of the company’s events in select cities across the globe are alerted to a live music event popping up in their neck of the woods. If you’re interested, you apply for the chance to purchase up to six tickets, even if you don’t know who the performers are or where exactly the event will be held. One day before the performance, ticket holders receive an alert with the address of the show and some additional information you might need to know about the space. The following evening, the bands take the stage.
Typically, you’ll be treated to a performance by an emerging artist, often times with a connection to the area. Sometimes you might be shocked by the artist, take for example the time Ed Sheeran performed a Sofar Sounds show for charity in a Washington, D.C. living room.
Saturday’s show at the North Fork Art Collective on Front Street in Greenport was the first Sofar event on Long Island. Tickets to the sold out BYOB event were $15 and 50 people gathered on blankets, rugs and folding chairs, surrounded by photographs and paintings hung on the walls, as the sound of three bands filled the room. The event was casually promoted online in places like northforker’s events listings.
“I feel like this was sort of a missing element to the North Fork,” local photographer Estefany Molina said after the show. The event, the Greenport resident said, evoked the type of intimate live music performance she’d ordinarily have to escape to New York City to attend. “The up and coming youth, this is what we enjoy and what we look for,” she added.
Sofar spokesperson Sarah Lipman said in an email that the company chose Greenport for “its dedicated focus to support and nurture a local arts scene.” Debenedetto thought it was a good idea to start shows now to give music lovers something to enjoy during the slower winter season.
Saturday’s lineup of bands included openers The Sturdy — a two-piece Montauk band — followed by up-and-coming Swedish artist Andreas Moe, who earlier this year opened for John Mayer on his European tour. Oak and Ash, a four-piece New York City band that won Newsday’s Battle of the Bands contest in 2016, closed out the set.
This was the seventh Sofar show for Oak and Ash, which said it was honored to be a part of the first Long Island gig.
Frontman Rich Tuorto said he liked the sense of community he felt while performing.
“A lot of the times we’re just at a random space and there’s no connection with anybody that’s there,” he said. “But it was cool that there were people here who had some connection with the space and appreciated the creativity that we were putting into it.”
North Fork Art Collective founder Kara Hoblin said the event was a perfect fit for the space she shares with other artists.
“I think what the collective is about is a group of people just creating and exploring art mediums and music is one of them, so this was phenomenal,” she said.
Sofar Sounds plans to return to a different secret Greenport location on Jan. 20. Visit sofarsounds.com for more information.