The Great Neck Park District is presenting a special event on Sunday, Aug. 19. Starting at 4 p.m., Park District residents with a valid park card (two guests permitted per card) can enjoy family activities, lawn games, food trucks, craft beers for purchase and more, at Steppingstone Park in Kings Point.
Afterwards, the legendary Blues Traveler band, led by singer and harmonica player John Popper, takes the stage at 7 p.m. for a night you will remember.
Popper was a teenager when he formed Blues Traveler in the late 1980s in his parents’ garage in Princeton, N.J. Not long after that, he and several bandmates moved to New York for college and studied music at the New School in Manhattan.
“By day, we were in this program at the New School with the best jazz musicians in New York, showing us their secrets and teaching us the aesthetics of playing,” Popper recalls. “At night, we would go out to these clubs and learn how to play live music, get people dancing and sell booze.”
Blues Traveler was soon working steadily and developing a grass-roots base of devoted fans. Over time, the band found itself collaborating and sharing stages with some of the biggest names in music, playing with guitar virtuoso Carlos Santana and opening for the Rolling Stones.
Popper and his bandmates founded the H.O.R.D.E. Festival in 1992. An acronym that stands for “Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere,” the rootsy, multi-artist summer tour featured legendary heavy-hitters like Neil Young and popular young jam bands Phish and Spin Doctors.
Well-known as a bluesy, folk-rock “jam-band,” Blues Traveler continues to move forward in their musical career with the celebration of their 31st year as a band and a 12-studio album catalog.
They have had career obstacles over the decades — the death of a founding member, bassist Bobby Sheehan, lead vocalist Popper’s horrific motorcycle accident, and a separation from a major record label in 2002 — but Blues Traveler continues to have a solid reputation.
Despite the setbacks, they were able to turn into a band who released a total of 11 studio albums, four of which have gone gold, three platinum and one six-times platinum.
Over the course of their illustrious career, Blues Traveler has sold more than 10 million combined units worldwide, played over 2,000 live shows in front of more than 30 million people, and had the longest-charting radio single in Billboard history, “Run Around,” which earned them a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
The band’s movie credits include “Blues Brothers 2000,” “Kingpin,” “Wildflowers,” and others.
A television favorite, they have been featured on “Saturday Night Live,” “Austin City Limits,” and VH1’s “Behind the Music,” and they hold the record for the most appearances of any artist on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”
Now, three decades strong, Blues Traveler is sure to show us that they’ve still got it and then some. Be sure to share this epic event with the Great Neck Park District.