Westbury Music Fair
The 70s arrived about the same time the Westbury Music Fare went from adolescence to adulthood. From its modest beginnings as a tent, it grew into one of the most beloved places on Long Island to hear live music.
As legend has it, the two men who started the Westbury Music Fare wanted to bring a music venue to Long Island. They had previously found success in Pennsylvania with their Valley Forge Music Fare, and Long Island was the next logical step.
So they hopped into a car and drove east until they felt they were far enough from the city that the locals would go there instead of traveling to Manhattan. They ended up in Jericho.
The tent they built over an old lime mine in 1956 brought the locals in droves. These were mostly broadway shows in the early years, but soon the venue would become far better know for its musical performers.
In 1966, the Westbury Music Fair was finally given a permanent building, one that increased its capacity from 1,850 to 3,000 and gave patrons a sturdy roof, seats and air-conditioning.
The investment paid off, and the theater thrived through the 70s, drawing in world class performers of all genres including The Doors, The Who, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen and Kenny Rogers. In 1976 alone, the theater earned $13 million.
The Westbury Music Fair is unique in that concerts are presented “in the round,” thanks to a revolving stage. As a result, pretty much every seat is a good seat, although a number of performers, no matter how seasoned find the experience a challenge.
Though the venue has changed hands many times since the 70s, the Westbury Music Fair continues on, now known as the NYCB Theatre at Westbury. Back in the day, it was the perfect alternative for someone who wanted a roomier venue than My Father’s Place, but didn’t want the headache of Nassau Coliseum.
Did you see any shows at Westbury Music Fair back in the day? I’d love to hear your memories of this iconic venue in our comments section below!