MTK Concert Approved, Now Wait on FAA

Posted on 27 April 2011

By Kathryn G. Menu

Pending approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, (FAA) the MTK: Music to Know summer music festival has been approved by the East Hampton Town Board to take place at the East Hampton Airport in Wainscott this August. Final approval would move the festival away from an Amagansett farm on Montauk Highway, a location that became a source of ire for some residents of the hamlet leading to litigation against the town and festival promoters.

At the same time, the festival is also beginning to take shape from a creative standpoint. An announcement of the full slate of 20 bands set to perform August 13 and August 14 is expected sometime in the next two weeks, according to MTK: Music to Know organizer Chris Jones.

Jones, who is organizing Music to Know with fellow Sag Harbor resident Bill Collage, said that almost every band has been booked for the festival. He confirmed that among the acts slated to perform is the Los Angles-based Dawes, whose song “When My Time Comes” off the quartet’s freshman folk rock album “North Hills” became the band’s breakout single, earning regular radio play on stations across the country and appearing in the closing credits of the season finale of the HBO series, “Hung.”

“North Hills” was released in 2009, and just two months before the Music to Know festival, the band plans on releasing their sophomore effort, “Nothing is Wrong.”

Comprised of brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, Wylie Gelber and Tay Strathairn, Dawes draws influence from the Laurel Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles, an area made famous by musicians like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Mamas & The Papas, Jim Morrison, Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne. Dawes recorded the aptly titled “North Hills” in Laurel Canyon live to analog tape, which Rolling Stone magazine credited with giving authenticity to “North Hills” vintage sound.

British singer songwriter Ellie Goulding is also believed to be on the roster for the Music to Know festival.

“I am a huge fan of her music,” said Jones on Monday.

Goulding is credited with having the fastest selling debut album of 2010 with the release of “Lights,” which premiered at the top of UK Album Chart.

Goulding earned critic’s choice honors at the BRIT Awards in 2010 and on May 7 will perform on Saturday Night Live, which will be hosted by seasoned SNL veteran Tina Fey.

The remainder of the line-up is still being kept under wraps, although Jones has said repeatedly that the festival is looking to highlight both adult contemporary music as well as up-and-coming independent bands. The bands will perform on two-stages, with plans for the airport site designed to direct noise to the north of the property and away from nearby residences, according to a report filed last week with the town board by assistant planning director JoAnne Pawhul.

The two-day festival will also feature local food, wine and beer, as well as an area for children, and space for retail vendors. A total of 9,500 tickets will be sold for the event, which will take place from noon to 10 p.m. on both days.

Jones and Collage have also promised a $100,000 donation to local not-for-profits and food pantries regardless of the success of the festival.

Last Thursday, the East Hampton Town Board approved a commercial mass gathering permit after two months of review to allow the festival to take place on 26-acres of town-own land at the airport, in a field just south of runway 4-22, which has been closed for take-offs and landings.

At this point, approval from the FAA is the last permission festival organizers need before they can move forward with their plans.

The town board’s approval follows a review of the proposed festival by the town’s planning department, which found the event would not pose a significant adverse environmental impact to the area.

In order to accommodate a fire lane requested by the town fire marshal, organizers will have to remove about 2,000 square feet of native woodlands and vegetation, according to Pawhul’s report. The town’s natural resources director Larry Penny suggested the area be replanted with native vegetation after the festival is over.

According to Jones, festival organizers have been through several rounds of review with the FAA. He believed the town’s support for the festival will aid in obtaining final approval from the FAA.

“We are hoping to hear from them any day now,” he said.

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