The Golden Road - Summer 2023

October 20, 2023

XXV years of Bradstock karma. What a Silver Anniversary we all enjoyed. Absolutely perfect weather accompanied a festival that all in attendance remarked was a high water mark for the music we enjoyed. The level of musicianship was truly outstanding. So many musicians came together on stage on stage to encourage and elevate their performances to new heights.

The community of artists who grace us with their presence and talent is truly amazing. We are so fortunate to be able to assemble year after year. To be entertained and enlightened by so many is nothing short of a miracle. The kid count continues to climb as well! What joy to see so many of the next generation engage with, and enjoy the magic that is Bradstock. With this year’s donation to the Camp, the Friends of Bradstock reached the $100,000 giving mark! Well done XXV.

If Bradstock XXVI, were to have been the last Bradstock (which it wasn't), then the history books would have recorded it as the best ever. To start, XXVI set out to acknowledge the musicians, past, present and future, whom without, there would be no Bradstock. Just try for a moment to calculate the total number of notes played by multiple musicians in the many bands over twenty-six years.

Incalculable, but every single note, every song, every musician created the woven tapestry that is Bradstock. The musicians this year played their hearts out. From the acoustic stage, to Flower Power, to the Main stage, the music flowed. There was a remarkable cross-pollination between the various ensembles, multiple musicians performing with multiple acts, supporting and encouraging each other for the greater good. Just incredible!

The weather, the stage design, posters, and journal were equally so. The same can be said about crowd enthusiasm and younger, third generation Bradstockers. Evidenced especially by the lively Sunday morning Mermaid parade around Camp. Financially rewarding as well, were Bradstock donations to the Camp and others totaling over $25,000. Wow, one for the record books!

The 2023 mermaid parade

The COVID-19 pandemic forced two year hiatus from putting on a Bradstock at Camp caused us all to wonder if the Chiefs could get the mojo flowing and the party back on track. Calling upon the legend of the Phoenix as inspiration to rise from the ashes of a world wide pandemic, tossing XXVII and XXVIII to the ashbins of history, Bradstock XXIX was absolutely breathtaking in its awesomeness and flower power.

The stage and art crew created stages for the ages. The main stage featured the phoenix spread 40 feet wing tip to wing tip with a translucent eye shining down through the night.

The 2022 main stage with phoenix proscenium

Our band of Bradstockers grew with many first timers in attendance. As the sun was setting Sunday, a young family, mom and dad and two children aged five and two, were leaving the grounds. The five year old daughter was crying unconsolably. “Don’t cry darling” I offered as solace. Her dad paused to answer me, “She’s crying because she doesn’t want to leave Bradstock! This is our first time here. We get it! We’ll be back next year. Happy Bradstock!” Gosh the tears started welling up in my eyes too!

The Chairman of Fundage reports that XXIX exceeded all expectations with the largest yet single donation to the Camp of $25,000 bringing the total monetary Camp contributions to $160,000. This year we were able to support other good causes including

  • Splashes of Hope
  • Sweetbriar Nature Center
  • Patchogue Arts Council
  • Bayport Civic Scholarships
  • Angels of Long Island
  • Travis McKeveny Scholarships,
  • WUSB and Island Harvest.

* Bradstock also contributed to the making of the Camp’s Sensory Garden

The Camp has so much to offer, not just to Bradstock but to the campers it hosts throughout the summer. Knowing that our donations are helping children with disabilities have a week of summer fun and camp enjoyment is a true motivator to the Circle of Chiefs. The hardy band of regulars and the newbies who decide they want to participate and give of their time and effort to make Bradstock happen are inspired by the mission of the Camp.

We especially want to acknowledge the past support of retired Camp Director Bridget Costello and give a big Bradstock thank you to Camp Director Kristin Cafiero. Our ongoing thanks to the Board of the Rotary Health Club of Center Moriches as we work together to improve our Festival and continue to make enduring contributions to the Camp.

Bradstock stage with a band playing

Along the way, Bradstock has joined with WUSB 90.1 FM, the radio station of the University of Stony Brook, to offer what we believe to be the longest continuous college radio station simulcast in the nation. WUSB has sent out its live signal, 11 am to 10 pm, from the grounds of Bradstock, since Bradstock XI. (I’ll have to check that fact with Chris LaPorta, who has served as WUSB host all along) WUSB allows listeners around the island, and the world via their website, to be part of the Bradstock festival. Rumor has it that Bradstock XXX will feature wireless transmission, enabling Chris and company to wander about the Camp, broadcasting as they go! Thank you WUSB!

We have confidence that the Circle of Chiefs will progress in a way that reflects the effort we invest. May the circle be unbroken. There are no mysteries to Bradstock, just an open exchange of ideas and good old fashioned perseverance and tenacity. The Circle of Chiefs welcomes and embraces new faces who share the Bradstock creed, “A good time for a good cause.” You can contact us to make sure you are on the email list and let us know if you want to help.

Smile at your neighbor. Recycle your cans and bottles. Pick up your litter. We look forward to seeing you at Bradstock XXX, labor day weekend 2023. It could be big!

Friends of Bradstock, Inc. is a 501c3 not for profit organization

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