'Battle of the Bands' returns to Hampton Bays

HAMPTON BAYS, Suffolk County (WABC) -- If music is what feelings sound like, then our teens will have plenty of it to share come June, as some sense of normalcy finally seems within reach.

"It's the end of the school year and it's like, it's summer, let's have some fun," said Dan Stark, of East Quogue.

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Rehearsals were underway at The Flanders Youth Center for "En Fuego" one of several youth bands itching to get up on stage once again for the "Battle of the Bands."

It's a summer evening beach event in Hampton Bays, that draws as many as 700 people.

It was canceled last year because of the pandemic, but for this summer it's back on for the 18th time.

There's no greater setting than the South Fork beaches of Suffolk County.

Ponoquogue Beach is home to the event.

"So because it's outside, we have a pretty big parking lot, so people can socially distance," said Peter Strecker, Town of Southampton Youth Bureau. "We're going to be encouraging mask-wearing still, and we're going to be complying with all CDC and New York State guidelines."

Those who live to perform can't wait to get their feet wet again.

Many teens were struggling to find a way to make music virtually during the pandemic.

"But I'd definitely say it's given me more time to practice, so I've become a little bit better," said Nellie Nicolova, of Hampton Bays.

"For me, I've been trying to write music instead of like just trying to practice it, so it gets you into new things, but at the same time, you kind of run out of things," said Hunter Montgomery, of East Quogue.

Luke Hefter, the youngest in the group, is just eager to grow.

"When you're up on the stage and you're playing, you just like play, and the nerves kind of go away, and you're just like playing," he said.

To attend this year's event on June 11, you need to register on the Town of Southampton website. Many will be back, but for these teens it can't come soon enough.

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