Tag Archive | "mtk"

Toward a Future Festival

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While unknown indie bands and seasoned rock ‘n roll vets from all across the U.S. were belting songs on the second day of the Escape to New York music festival this past weekend on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, the East End got wind of some very unfortunate news.

The Hamptons’ highly anticipated second act, MTK: the Music to Know festival, had come to an end—before it even had a chance to begin.

Sure enough, just days before it was scheduled to unfold atop the tarmac of the East Hampton Airport, the MTK: Music to Know festival was officially cancelled.  In keeping with the weekend’s suddenly dour turn of events (Day Three of E2NY was cancelled for weather-related reasons), MTK was abandoned.  As festival organizers proclaimed, ticket sales were just too low.

Like many other MTK festival hopefuls, we too were sad.

MTK not only promised to educate us isolated Long Islanders on the relevant new music of the day — the “music to know,” if you will — it promised to punctuate our summer with a large-scale event: two days’ worth of live music, good food, new trends and the opportunity to brush shoulders with thousands of people all gathering in the same place with one overarching goal: to have a good time.

We commend the ambition of those who backed the effort to make this festival happen. Yes, certainly for their creativity and their desire to infuse the East End with something (dare we say it?) hip — but, to be honest, mostly because we remember what it was like when we actually had the opportunity to attend such shows. There was the “All For the Sea” concert with the likes of James Taylor, Jimmy Buffet and Bob Dylan, which used to be held every year as a fundraiser for Southampton College. And then there was “Back to the Ranch” in Montauk, which showcased Paul Simon, among others.

The way MTK fizzled out of sight this past weekend, it seems there’s little hope the concert might make a resurgence next year. And while we would hate to see these efforts all for naught, even more importantly, we would hate to see the push to bring a music festival to the East End suddenly diminish.

Clearly, there’s a taste for something of this caliber here. (MTK did, in fact, manage to sell about 2,500 tickets, not to mention those that would have been purchased on the day of the concert itself.) Hopefully, this year’s MTK effort is just a taste of what we can look forward to in the future.

Vampire Weekend, Bright Eyes and Ellie Goulding Top MTK Lineup

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Columbia University grads and indie rock group Vampire Weekend have spent the better part of the last year treating revelers in Europe and South America to its African and Caribbean-inspired guitar rifts and rhythms with a 1980s-pop bend. The band, which with seemingly relative ease found critical success even before they released their self-titled freshman album in 2008, has since played virtually every great music festival around the world, from the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California to the famed Glastonbury Festival in Scotland and the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in South Korea. Despite being courted by a number of festivals in the United States, this year the band’s only scheduled festival stateside will bring them back to New York where they will headline the MTK: Music to Know Festival in East Hampton on the weekend of August 13-14, along with Bright Eyes and British pop darling Ellie Goulding.

Chris Jones, who founded MTK with fellow Sag Harbor resident Bill Collage, said he has been listening to Vampire Weekend since 2006, right after the fledgling band formed in a Columbia University dorm room. Band members Ezra Koenig, Chris Baio, Rostam Batmanglij and Chris Tomson brought their Afro-pop melodies and rhythm to battle of the band contests, parties and even at literary society functions on campus. Word quickly spread about the group, which is named after Koenig’s freshman year film project, the band’s unique sound and witty lyrics, songs like “Oxford Comma” and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” fueling the band’s rise, despite the fact they had yet to record an album.

In 2007, “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” was ranked 67 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Top 100 Songs of the Year,” and the band embarked on a tour in the United Kingdom, backing up The Shins. In 2008, they release “Vampire Weekend” and in 2010 released their sophomore effort, “Contra.” It debuted in the number one spot on the Billboard charts.

“I think they appeal to a really wide audience, a little bit like Mumford & Sons,” said Jones this week. “They have a great following with a younger generation, but their music also seems to resonate with an older generation, which is important.”

Jones added that as live bands go, Vampire Weekend is “phenomenal.”

MTK will be the band’s first stateside festival this year, performing as the headlining act on Saturday.

“They obviously have great taste,” joked Jones.

He later added that the band choosing to play MTK spoke not only to the marketability of the audience on the East End of Long Island, but also to a level of confidence in the festival itself. Collage and Jones hope it becomes an annual event, and in its inaugural year have been able to attract some of the more celebrated up and coming artists, not just in rock, but also in rhythm and blues, pop and folk.

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On the forefront of the alt-folk scene since the mid-90s is Bright Eyes, the Sunday night headliner at MTK.

Led by singer-songwriter and guitarist Conor Oberst, backed ably by multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis and piano and trumpet player Nate Walcott, Bright Eyes quickly found success in the music industry, its 2004 singles “Lua” and “Take it Easy (Love Nothing)” earning the top two spots on the Billboard charts after their release.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based group released a slew of albums, featuring the best of the Omaha music scene and beyond, but it was not until 2002 with the release of “Lifted” that the band became a critical darling. However, it was the 2004 release of “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning,” followed by a tour with Bruce Springsteen and R.E.M. on the Vote for Change tour that Bright Eyes found commercial success as well. The band released “Cassadaga” in 2007, and “The People’s Key” this year.

The group has collaborated with musicians such as fellow MTK performer M. Ward, Lou Reed, Jonathan Rice, Jenny Lewis, Nora Jones and Steve Earl.

“He is just an enormously talented musician, and very well respected within the artistic community,” said Jones. “It is great for us to be able to recognize an artist who the artists love, and we are honored he will be playing his first show on Long Island with us.”

Bright Eyes will open for Coldplay the week before MTK at Lollapalooza in Chicago. According to industry sources, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin’s wife, the actress and cookbook author Gwyneth Paltrow, who found her own musical success this year through her film “Country Song” and a memorable stint on the series “Glee” will perform in the VIP tent during MTK.

EllieCollage and Jones courted British songstress Ellie Goulding for months, but added her to the line-up just a month and a half ago. Jones credits his wife, Karen, for predicting Goulding’s star would rise long before she played the reception for Prince William and Princess Catherine this spring.

“She predicted Ellie’s star would rise for 18 months before it happened,” said Jones. “And then she came on board and blew up.”

Goulding’s album “Lights” debuted in the number one spot on the U.K. charts and was released with six new tracks as “Bright Lights” in 2010. Since then she has toured at a break-neck pace, including performing on Saturday Night Live and true to her roots played Elton John’s “Your Song” for the royal couple’s first dance.

“To be honest, the rest of the bands are equally talented as the headliners,” said Jones. “They are just not as well know, but in terms of talent they are all up there. We are lucky to have them.”

The MTK: Music to Know Festival will take place Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14. For more information visit, www.musictoknow.com.

Long Wharf Purchase Imminent

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Sag Harbor Village
Long Wharf Purchase Imminent

At the next Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees meeting, on Tuesday, February 8, Mayor Brian Gilbride will make a push for the board to formally accept Suffolk County’s offer to sell the village Long Wharf and the adjacent Windmill Beach for $1.

On Tuesday morning, Mayor Gilbride said the village received a formal offer from the county to purchase Long Wharf and Windmill Beach two weeks ago, and that he would like to take action on the matter immediately. The board’s first budget work session will be held on February 25, he noted, and if purchased Long Wharf could cost the village as $340,000 in short term repairs, with the long term maintenance likely in the millions.

Late last year, the county approached the village about the sale of Long Wharf, which was once owned by Sag Harbor Village, but was transferred into county ownership decades ago. While the county has paid the bill for the long-term maintenance of the wharf as its owners, the village has taken in revenues from dockage at the site, last year earning $93,000.

While funding was in place, through a bond, for the county to complete some $600,000 in repairs to Long Wharf — something Mayor Gilbride hoped would be completed before the sale — no financial help has been offered to the village in correlation with the sale.

“I am at a point where I feel like we should just bring this to an end and just do it,” said Mayor Gilbride.

The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees will meet on the second floor of the Municipal Building at 6 p.m.

East Hampton Town
Multi-Town Helicopter Noise Advisory Committee on the Horizon

At tonight’s East Hampton Town Board meeting, it is expected the board will formally adopt the creation of a “Multi-Town Helicopter Noise Advisory Committee” to give a small group of experts in East Hampton, Southampton, Southold, Shelter Island and Riverhead the ability to work towards addressing helicopter noise, long viewed as a regional issue affecting a number of residents across the East End.

Last summer, in response to years of complaints by residents about the amount of helicopter traffic, and ensuing noise they bring to the East End, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed a draft plan aimed at regulating helicopter traffic and curbing chopper noise.

Under the proposed regulation, helicopter pilots would be required to follow a northern route one mile offshore over Long Island Sound to Shoreham where they would split off either to Gabreski Airport in Westhampton, the Southampton Helipad, Montauk Airport or East Hampton Airport following voluntary routes established in 2007, some of which bring flights to and from East Hampton directly over Sag Harbor and Noyac.

Regulations also propose that pilots keep a minimum altitude of 2,500 feet.

However, many residents and municipalities feared the regulations would do little to address the problem, and according to East Hampton Town Board Councilman Dominick Stanzione, four East End towns began working together to come up with a regional noise abatement program. In their talks, Stanzione said it became clear a multi-town helicopter noise abatement committee should be formed to create a draft plan to tackle the problem. If the East Hampton Town Board and the East End Mayors and Supervisors sign off on their plan, it would then be formally presented to the FAA.

“I think the issue of helicopter noise in our town has gotten to the point where we need multi-town solutions,” said Stanzione at a town board meeting on Saturday, January 29.

The committee, which will be comprised of one citizen representative from each of the four towns, as well as airport managers and New York State Senator Ken LaValle and New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. will look toward suggesting voluntary solutions to the noise issue, such as re-routing of helicopters, as well as long term legislative and regulatory suggestions.

Stanzione will serve as the town board liaison to the committee, and Peter Wadsworth, a member of the town’s noise abatement committee, is expected to be appointed the town’s representative during Thursday night’s meeting.

East Hampton Town
MTK Concert Continues to Draw Protest

Despite the refusal of the East Hampton Town Board to rescind a mass gathering permit that will allow a two-day music festival, MTK: Music to Know Summer Music Festival at Oceanview Farm in Amagansett, some Amagansett residents continue to hammer the board about their concerns regarding the August event.

During its Saturday, January 29 meeting, the East Hampton Town Board heard once more from Amagansett resident John Broderick, a concert designer who has worked with musical acts like Madonna and Metallica.

Broderick called on the town’s police department and fire marshal to take a closer look at the music festival site plan, stating he does not believe it is possible to pull off what promoters Chris Jones and Bill Collage have presented and calling the festival a safety concern.

Both the fire marshal and East Hampton Town Police Chief Eddie Ecker have already signed off on the plan, which was approved by the town board in December.

On Saturday, Broderick questioned whether or not emergency service personnel will have adequate access to the site, which is located off Montauk Highway just outside downtown Amagansett. He charged should a stroke or injury occur, there is “no fast way” for an ambulance to enter the site, as there are only two entrances off the highway onto the farm and the back of the property is “barricaded” by the Long Island Railroad tracks. He said the same issue should raise safety alarms in the event of a fire.

East Hampton Town
Planning Board Changes

Last week, East Hampton Town Planning Board member Reed Jones was named the new chairman of that board, which has been led by acting chairman Bob Schaeffer since John Lycke stepped down from the post in September for personal reasons.

Schaeffer will continue to serve on the board as vice chairman.

Jones is an East Hampton resident and is an insurance broker at Amaden Gay Agencies.

On Tuesday, February 1, the East Hampton Town Board also appointed Amagansett resident Frank Falcone to the planning board. He replaces board member Sylvia Overby, whose term has expired. The appointment was almost unanimous, with councilwoman Julia Prince abstaining from the measure.

Amagansett Music Fest Draws Heat

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By Kathryn G. Menu

The East Hampton Town Board’s approval of a two-day music festival at Ocean View Farm in Amagansett continued to draw the ire of some Amagansett residents last week, many of whom attended a town board meeting on Thursday with a lawyer in tow, in the hopes of getting the festival’s mass gathering permit rescinded.

The music festival is slated for August 12 through 14, and was developed conceptually by Sag Harbor residents Chris Jones and Bill Collage. In December, the town board approved a mass gathering permit for the event, which will feature two stages, 20 bands and vending areas for local businesses and restaurants.

A maximum of 9,500 tickets will be sold for the weekend-long event, according to the concert’s promoters.

As a part of the event, Collage and Jones have promised — regardless of ticket sales — a $100,000 charitable donation to benefit local food pantries, as well as other not-for-profits on the East End.

However, that has not swayed a number of residents of Amagansett, who continue to question the professional experience Collage and Jones have in mounting the festival, as well as the process by which they were granted their mass gathering permit.

On Thursday, January 20 East Hampton attorney Jeffrey Bragman, who is representing 20 Amagansett residents opposed to the festival, argued the mass gathering permit was not designed for such an event, commercial in nature and with more than 50 concertgoers expected to attend.

Commercial events, he argued, should be controlled by the bounds of the zoning code, and are only covered under a mass gathering permit when they are held on public lands. Ocean View Farm is privately owned, and zoned residential.

Bragman argued that he expects, with the sale of 19,000 tickets at even $100 a pop, gross profits from the event could be as little as $1.9 million, and called the $100,000 donation a “maybe,” stating there is nothing in writing guaranteeing that promise will be fulfilled.

“You can’t play concert level rock music on that site and not violate the town’s noise ordinance,” continued Bragman.

“We are not about East Hampton being the land of ‘N-O’,” said Bragman. “No, we are about East Hampton being the land of ‘K-N-O-W’.”

On Wednesday morning, Jones disagreed with Bragman’s interpretation of the town code in regards to mass gathering permits, noting the aspect of the code left out by Bragman allows commercial events if there is a significant charitable element involved.

Jones once again reiterated that the festival, dubbed MTK: Music to Know Summer Music Festival, is viewing the $100,000 donation as a cost, and that it will not be dependent on the success of the festival.

He added that continued efforts to bill the festival as one that will boast some 20,000 concertgoers is inaccurate, and that 9,500 tickets total will be sold as a weekend pass to the event.

As to whether or not the festival will make millions, Jones said anyone familiar with music festivals understands they generally lose money or break even in the first year, with the cost for bands, event set-up, security and staff depleting the amount of money producers actually make.

Bragman was not the only speaker at Thursday’s meeting, which brought John Broderick — a concert designer who has designed sets for Madonna, Tim McGraw and Metallica — to the podium to question whether Collage and Jones have the professional experience to host such a festival.

“By the most rudimentary scrutiny, this does not pass,” said Broderick of the site plan submitted for the festival.

He said one access point for cars into Ocean View Farm would rule the festival out for most promoters, and said he believes only 1,800 of the expected 3,000 cars will be able to park on the site, leaving the rest to park on Montauk Highway.

Broderick also questioned the set up of the stage, calling it unsafe, and advising the town to request indemnification of $5 million against liability.

Susan Bratton, an admitted concertgoer, said she was concerned with the precedent this approval set, and “the lack of due diligence done in granting this permit.”

Bratton predicted 80 percent of the people who attend the festival will be “high or whatever” and wondered where they would go once the music stopped playing.

Charlene Spektor, the owner of BookHampton and a Amagansett resident, handed the board a packet with 100 letters opposing the festival — a packet she said she amassed in one day.

She thanked the board for their “good intentions and enthusiasm,” but implored them to listen to their constituency and rescind the mass gathering permit.

Not all in attendance were opposed to the festival, including Jones’ wife Karen, who noted the festival has the opportunity to create gainful employment for a range of people in the long and short term.

Lisa Barrone is one of the East End residents who has already benefited from the festival, having recently been hired as a full-time member of Music to Know’s staff. Ellie Jannetti echoed the sentiment, having also been hired recently with Sarah Amaden to work with local charities and on outreach.

“This is a great opportunity for kids my age to get the opportunity to work,” added Brian Powell, an East Hampton resident and recent college graduate.

“I also find it very unfair to label anyone my age,” he added. “The public drunkenness, passing out in your backyard? It’s not going to happen.”

On Wednesday morning, Jones said the festival has actually hired eight full time employees so far, including Bobby Kennedy, an event producer who organized Earth Day at the Mall in 2010, featuring acts such as Sting, the Roots and John Legend. Matthew Smith, who organized the Social @ Ross concert series in 2007, is also on staff.

“We have a great team to execute this,” said Jones.
As for parking, Jones noted both the fire and police departments have worked with him on the plan, and have approved of it.

The idea that Amagansett will be flooded with people from out of town with no where to stay was also rejected by Jones, who said he thinks it will be a crowd made up largely of East End residents. The festival also plans on directing attendees to local hotels and motels through its website.

In an effort to make the event as local as possible, added Jones, he plans to offer tickets, via local stores, to East End residents two weeks before they go up for general purchase. He expects the ticket price for the whole weekend to fall somewhere between $100 and $200, making it affordable for local residents interested in attending.

Residents will also be offered a 10 percent discount on the ticket price, added Jones.

“The objective is not to make this exclusive or make the price the determining factor on whether or not people come to the festival,” he said.

MTK Concert Draws fire From Residents

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Arlene Reckson was at Woodstock Music & Art Festival in 1969, and is not inclined to revisit the experience more than 40 years later in 2011.
Reckson, a senior vice president, associate broker with Corcoran in Amagansett was one of over half a dozen residents of the hamlet who turned out at an East Hampton Town Board meeting last Thursday. She was among those protesting the board’s approval of a mass gathering permit that will allow a music festival at Ocean Farm in Amagansett this August 12 through August 14.

“This reeks of a Woodstock acid flashback, and I was there,” said Reckson. “I think this is going to grow to be out of control.”

On December 21, the town board gave Sag Harbor residents Chris Jones and Bill Collage a mass gathering permit for the festival, which will feature two stages and 20 bands over a two-and-a-half day period.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson approved the measure with the support of board members Theresa Quigley and Julia Prince. Board member Pete Hammerle voted against the resolution, with Dominick Stanzione abstaining as he had yet to hear the thoughts of the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee (ACAC).

The event is also conceived to include stalls for local food vendors and retailers, and both Jones and Collage have promised a $100,000 charitable donation to local food pantries and other causes regardless of whether or not the festival is a success.

Jones is the owner of Sole East Resort in Montauk and Collage, a Hollywood screenwriter who penned screenplays for “New York Minute” and “Accepted” and is most recently credited as one of the writers of “Tower Heist,” starring Ben Stiller and directed by Brett Ratner.

Remembering her experience at what became known as the seminal music festivals of the 1960s, Reckson said she believed similar to Woodstock, the MTK: Music to Know Summer Music Festival had the potential to balloon beyond the 9,600 tickets festival promoters plan to sell.

“Are you going to set up a booth in Manorville and make sure these kids have tickets,” asked Reckson.

Reckson also wondered why the festival was not planned for the off-season when local businesses are in need of an economic boost. She added she would like to see the event use public transportation, questioning whether traffic and parking on the site would be able to accommodate the maximum 3,000 cars expected by Collage and Jones.

Wilkinson noted that the popular Back at the Ranch concerts in the 1990s, featuring Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Lyle Lovett, among others, had an estimated 15,000 cars trek to those events.

Reckson said she believed people on the East End attended those concerts, whereas this concert was going to attract an outside group.
“I don’t know necessarily how you can say that when you don’t know what the specific acts will be,” countered Prince.

“When we talk about community, it is hard for me to hear, ‘This is fine for Montauk, but not fine for Amagansett,’” added Wilkinson.
Reckson’s concerns were echoed by a number of other Amagansett residents, including John Broderick, who questioned Jones’ and Collage’s experience in crafting a festival.

Last summer, Sole East Resort did host concerts featuring indy-music darling Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley, as well Rufus Wainwright. However, the invite-only, “secret” shows were nowhere near the scale Jones and Collage are planning with MTK: Music to Know.

Wilkinson admitted he was unsure if the promoters had experience in the arena, but wondered if Broderick was implying that should disqualify them from hosting the event, which is taking place on private property.
“Anything that happens in this town requires professional review,” said Broderick, questioning whether the town had done its due diligence.
“That is not true,” said Wilkinson. “This has been vetted through the police department, vetted through the fire marshal and all other departments in the town that would review a mass gathering permit.”

“This is a different thing,” said Broderick, stating it has been said some 20,000 people would attend the event daily, although, as Wilkinson pointed out, the mass gathering permit only allows for the sale of 9,600 tickets.
“Is there a site plan, how does emergency access happen,” asked Broderick, demanding a public hearing.

“This does not demand a public hearing,” said Wilkinson, adding it is common for the board to approve this kind of permit without one. “With all due respect, just because I haven’t spoken to you does not mean we have had no input from the community.”

Without public transportation, Broderick bristled that concert goers would leave the festival grounds at 11 p.m. and “go rampaging through the village of Amagansett.”

Amagansett resident Joan Tulp seconded Broderick’s feelings that the community was not consulted far enough in advance on this issue.
“We do not want 9,000 people here, 20 to 30 year olds, during the busiest time of the year,” said Tulp, later wondering, “Where will they stay? On our front yards, or the beaches?”

ACAC Chairwoman Rona Klopman read a letter from Jeffrey Britz that questioned holding a festival of this nature on land that is in an agricultural overlay district, stating the concert series could pose a threat to the land and the local community. Britz asked the proposal be vetted through an environmental impact statement to “ascertain what the damage might be,” and explore whether traffic and housing impacts will be too great.
Stanzione assured the crowd that as the concert nears and more details emerge, the town board would work with the community and concert promoters to ensure all plans are publicly discussed.

Calling East Hampton “a rare and endangered town,” Helen Kuzmier said she believed this event would turn East Hampton into “Coney Island or Long Beach,” and asked guidelines be created so future proposals of this size are thoroughly reviewed.

“Whatever happened to transparency,” asked Sheila Okin, a former chairman of the ACAC.

Bill Collage

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By Kathryn G. Menu


The Hollywood screenwriter and Sag Harbor resident talks about Music to Know, a two-day music festival planned for August 12 and 13 that Collage is organizing with fellow Sag Harbor resident and Sole East Resort owner Chris Jones. The festival was approved for a mass gathering permit by the East Hampton Town Board on Tuesday and will boast two stages and a number of bands for an estimated 9,500 concertgoers at the Principi Farm on Montauk Highway in Amagansett.


Where did the concept for this festival develop and how did you come to be a part of it?

This past summer Chris Jones did a five concert series at his hotel Sole East. So we were hanging out, our kids go to elementary school together, and after the summer was over and everyone left we started thinking, “that was really fun and could we do it in a way where more people in the community could get involved and we could give money to charity?” Chris started exploring the process and available pieces of property where it would be feasible and not disruptive because from the first minute we wanted to approach this as people who live here full-time, and we don’t want to walk into the IGA and be considered bad guys who created all this noise and traffic. So the goal has been how can we do this in the most responsible way where the most people benefit, and that was the genesis of it.

We are both very fortunate in that we have full-time jobs and we are not doing this because we need the money. In your 40s you are compelled to give back, so that was the start of it.


How did you come to decide that the Principi property was the right space?

We looked at a bunch of properties in Montauk first. We knew there was this cool idea to call it “MTK: Music to Know” and we knew there were open properties there so we checked them out and hired some people who have worked with the police and the fire department. In vetting those there were too many issues. Then that piece of property was introduced to us through John Kowalenko and his Ladles of Love concert because that was so successful last summer and went off without a hitch.

By comparison, this is a 22-acre piece of property. We are asking for 9,500 people and for instance the Newport Jazz Festival hosts 50,000 on 20-acres. We are looking to have a low impact.


Speaking of Newport Jazz Festival, when you were researching this festival, were there other music festivals you hoped this could emulate?

Not exactly. We see ourselves as more of a boutique festival. I am fortunate enough to be friends with the guy who founded Austin City Limits and that is 80,000. We are talking about 9,500. This is a market that can sustain that. We are used to the fireworks show where 30,000 go, we are used to the Hampton Classic, to Super Saturday, so a small event like this where it is done professionally has a greater chance of success. So many of these things fail. We want to partner with the Town of East Hampton, do this responsibly and hopefully it is sustainable.


Meaning it would become an annual event?

That would be great.


You have said this could be an economic benefit for the area. How will it benefit the community from an economic perspective?

From now until it happens we figure, and this is a conservative figure, 700 people will have to get hired. Some of those people will have to come from other places, but a very large number of them will have to be hired locally, from selling lumber, banging nails, all of the construction, the barricades, the parking layout, and then there is an entire retail and food and beverage component. Then there are also the people we will need to work the back of the house, the electric, the water. It goes on and on and on. The opportunity to hire that many people feels really good for the soul.


How will local businesses like The Art of Eating, John Kowalenko’s catering business and other food vendors and retailers be able to get involved in this?

John is a key production component to this. He will be doing all our catering and additional responsibilities. One of the things we are looking to do is load in as many local restaurants and chefs and retailers as we can, where we give them booth space where they can sell. There might be some out of town people, if Bobby Flay wants to set up a grill we can do that. We will have a beer garden and wine terrace, but for the most part it will be about getting local restaurants we all know involved and that would lead to further familiarity in the off-season. Or if an established restaurateur wants to try a new brand this is a way to introduce it to 9,500 people.

The site plan is set up where we have all this availability for restaurants and lifestyle sales. The charities will also have booth space because it is great to write a check, but it is equally important to get people to know the work these charities are doing and sign up themselves and see how they can be a part of their ongoing mission instead of just knowing a portion of the ticket is going to help these organizations.

The music will be the reason to go, but once you get there we want people to experience a lot of other things about this region that they might not be familiar with.


You have offered a charitable donation connected to the festival. Are there any specific charities you have in mind?

With the charitable donation, we are viewing that money as being a part of our costs and we have told the town board this, because with a music festival there is no guarantee we will make money. We are guaranteeing $100,000 as a donation and how that is allocated we have yet to figure out.

We are open to suggestions on what charities benefit, however, we are already guaranteeing the food pantries a donation. Surfrider is another organization that has come up that we are excited about, and beyond that there is a lot of money we would like to allocate to a lot places, and it doesn’t just have to be a charity. It could be creating a scholarship. There are a lot of people with a lot of different needs.


There has been talk of a television show connected to the festival. What’s the story there?

This would be an annual event, but we wanted to think about what we could do in the off-season. We thought there is an opportunity here to develop an American Bandstand type of show called Music to Know where every week you would have a countdown of new and interesting bands that is driven online with a partner we may already have in place. Introduce a band a week and have it as a syndicated show. That could be produced locally. It does not have to be produced in the city or anywhere else. There are a lot of great places that are underutilized and a lot of talented people in film and television that would rather do something out here than somewhere else. It is about building business here. Those are real jobs that are full time jobs and creating something really neat. In so much of this, as exciting as it is to talk about job creation and charity, it is also important to remember that we live in an area so filled with culture; and music seems to be a piece not fully realized, so this is another way to build something great.


How will your career as a screenwriter aid in this project?

I am very fortunate to have incredible representation in the William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. They have a giant music department and I have a ton of friends in the music industry, from people in bands to promoters and people who run their own festivals. Those friends have always been people I enjoyed socially and now we can build something together, so that is great.


Give me a dream team lineup for the first year?

Billy Joel, topping the bill.


Anyone else?

Well, Paul Simon and Paul McCartney live pretty close by too.