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Life on Long Island

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Willie Nelson: Live and free in Montauk

Musician, actor, activist and American icon Willie Nelson

Musician, actor, activist and American icon Willie Nelson will be performing a free show at Surf Lodge in Montauk on June 9. (Credit: Newsday file)

With large venues like the Nassau Coliseum, the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater and The Paramount in Huntington available for big shows, it’s a good assumption that virtually all the hottest and most in-demand music acts will at some point perform at one or more of the major Long Island concert venues – but, as is the norm, tickets must be purchased to gain admission.

Some shows cost more than others, with prices usually based on the esteem of the artist or artists scheduled to play. However, one of the nation’s most recognized and beloved musicians will soon be doing a live show on LI – at a smaller, intimate space-- and it can be attended for nary a penny.

He has been called the “Red-Headed Stranger,” he has appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, written and co-written a number of books, and continues to work as a vigorous activist for causes he supports. His genre is country, but his personal brand is considered “outlaw,” the subgenre that is more a celebration of hard-living than the usual romantic laments of mainstream pop-influenced country – which hasn't stopped him from selling millions of records. However, while the stardom of some of his contemporaries is limited to mostly country music fans, this man – Willie Nelson – is widely regarded as an American icon.

And he'll be doing a free show on June 9 at the Surf Lodge in Montauk.

As are almost all shows at this particular East End hotel, lounge and restaurant, there’s no charge – but chances are the attendance will be tremendous. Furthermore, seating and parking at Surf Lodge is limited, so anyone who’s game to go to see Nelson should arrive as early as possible. (The venue recommends 6 p.m., but earlier – a lot earlier -- would probably be for the best.) Luckily, between the embedded eatery (“Byron,” serving contemporary seafood dishes), the bar, the lounge, the sandpit and the deck – all right on often-shimmering Fort Pond -- there is lots to do at Surf Lodge while waiting for Willie to take the stage.

Surf Lodge: 183 Edgemere St., Montauk, 631-483-5037

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