By Bryan Boyhan
What’s being called a “mega event” for the whole family, is intended to generate more than a half million dollars for East End charities, according to organizers of the All For the East End concert, slated for next August 19. The festival, which will include music, food and attractions, will be held on a field at a North Fork vineyard, but is being organized by, and will benefit charities from, both forks.
“The genesis of this is the All for the Sea concerts,” said AFTEE founder and president Myron Levine, referencing the popular series of annual concerts which benefited the former Southampton College’s marine sciences program. Like those events, music is intended to be the big draw for AFTEE, although organizers were tight lipped at a press conference last Thursday about who those performers might be.
“We will announce the lineup in the spring,” said Sag Harbor’s Jim Durning, who will be handling ticket sales and promotion, and does a similar job for the Roger Waters Wall Tour.
Levine, who lost his son in a tragic farming accident two years ago and has since established a fund in his honor, conceived the idea of a concert to first benefit WPPB Radio, the local public radio station. But, recognizing the needs of non-profits across the region, expanded the idea to enable all these organizations to apply for grants through the money raised from the event.
“We felt this is something that would resonate with all non-profits,” said Levine, a Noyac resident, who had served on the Board of Overseers for Southampton College and is presently on the WPPB board.
“We’re hoping this might be a model for other communities,” he said.
As imagined, there will be a full day of events, taking place on a five-acre field at Martha Clara Vineyards on Sound Avenue, just northeast of Riverhead. On Thursday, a pair of horses grazed in the field, wandering over to the fence to greet a group of conference attendees who sipped on local wines.
“This is intended to be a true family event,” said Durning, explaining the vision and noting the event’s producer, Nile Rogers, was the composer of the 1979 hit “We Are Family.”
In the morning, he said, there would be music and entertainment appropriate for children five to 10 years old. Later in the day there would be a DJ and “maybe some names” to perform for teenagers, before other name acts would perform for an older audience. Durning declined to say if Roger Waters, a founder of the band Pink Floyd, would participate.
The event is expected to generate between $500,000 and $600,000, which will then be available to non-profit organizations through the five East End towns, according to Kelly Connaughton, who has been named director of the event. Connaughton is also director of the Sag Harbor American Music Festival, which staged its second annual event this past weekend. Levine said all local registered non-profits are eligible to apply for grants, regardless of their discipline, as long as they meet a standard for best business practices. The money will be distributed by the non-profit Long Island Community Foundation.
To date, organizers have received about $150,000 in commitments to move the event forward, said Levine, $50,000 of that coming from the festival’s sole presenting sponsor, Bridgehampton National Bank.
The goal of the event is not just raising money, said Levine, but also to help raise awareness of the various non-profits based on the East End.
“It will inspire unity and fellowship among those organizations around our common goal,” reads the AFTEE vision statement. “AFTEE will be a unifying voice, leveraging strategic assets of collaboration and its regional brand to raise awareness, rally support and launch a new era of fundraising and organizational integration.”