Get ready to rock out in beautiful places while listening to live music on the East End. Winterfest - Live on The Vine returns for its eighth year to add excitement and fun to winter culture on Eastern Long Island. Launching this weekend with a vengeance, the six-week live music festival will present one concert tonight (Friday) and 20 concerts on Saturday and Sunday. Music ranges from national acts (The Smithereens, for example) to area favorites to regional talent appearing especially for the festival.

To keep the schedule easy to know, there's even a free Winterfest App. Or, check out the website for schedules and details.

Winterfest - Live On The Vine will present over 70 concerts in around 25 venues on the North Fork and Riverhead from February 21 to March 29, 2015. The majority of concerts are held in vineyards and wineries on the North Fork with venues in Riverhead another favorite. This year's lineup is especially diverse--expect to find jazz, rock, bluegrass, classical, world and singer-songwriter presented by over 50 artists.

Notables include Jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan, rockers the Smithereens and 10,000 Maniacs, Roomful of Blues and jazz trombonist Ray Anderson. Americana star Amy Helm and Paul Simon Bassist Bakithi Kumalo are also musical artists not to miss in the 2015 edition of Live On The Vine, according to event producers.

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Stanley Jordon. Image courtesy Winterfest.

Stanley Jordon. Image courtesy Jim Faith.

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Conceived in 2006 by East End Arts, LI Wine Council and LI Convention and Visitors Bureau, Winterfest - Live On The Vine was created to encourage employment to musicians and bring visitors to the East End during the slower winter months. The success of the series was acknowledged in 2012 when it received the National Destination Marketing Award from Americans for The Arts and Destination Marketing International.

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10,000 Maniacs. Image courtesy of Jim Faith.

10,000 Maniacs. Image courtesy of Jim Faith.

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Winterfest 2015 is presented by Suffolk County National Bank, the East End Arts, LI Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the LI Wine Council, with support from Suffolk County. It is now produced by veteran festival promoter James Faith of James Faith Presents (Great South Bay Music Festival). 

Faith aims to take Winterfest "to the next level" by offering more headliners, broadening the diverse lineup and adding non-musical events to the schedule. The result should be an enhanced experience for festival goers, said Faith.

"The experience of this Winterfest is like no other," said Faith. "The combination of hearing world-class music in an architecturally stunning environment is what this fest is all about."

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Amy Helm and the Handsome Strangers. Image courtesy of Jim Faith.

Amy Helm and the Handsome Strangers. Image courtesy of Jim Faith.

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Concerts to note begin tomorrow in Riverhead with Amy Helm at the Indigo Hotel and The Smithereens at the Suffolk Theater. On March 6, Paul Simon bassist Bakithi Kumalo will perform with an all-star band on March 6 at Hotel Indigo. Stanley Jordan performs on March 14 at Raphael Vineyards and a Roomful of Blues performs on March 21 at the Suffolk Theater.

Other artists to not let slip by include Fuerza Flamenco, Counter Clockwise Ensemble, Miles To Dayton (Rock) Kerry Kearney Blues Band, Paul Effman (Jazz), Buddy Miriam (Bluegrass), Jacks Waterfall and Reza Khan Painted Diaries, (World), according to Faith.  

A Festival Closing Party featuring 10,000 Maniacs at the LI Aquarium helps wrap up the six-week series with flair on March 28. The final concerts are presented on March 29.

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The Smithereens. Image courtesy of Jim Faith.

The Smithereens. Image courtesy of Jim Faith.

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BASIC FACTS: The 8th Annual Winterfest - Live On the Vine runs weekends from February 21, through March 29, 2015. For schedules, tickets and more, visit www.liwinterfest.com.

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