Tag Archive | "music to know"

Bob Kennedy

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By Kathryn Menu

The man hired to produce Chris Jones and Bill Collage’s MTK: Music to Know Festival this summer talks about why the East Hampton Airport is a good fit for the festival, helicopters and all, and how parlaying a youth spent attending concerts into a career as a festival producer for events hosting thousands all began at a small theatre in Connecticut.

By Kathryn G. Menu

Now that the location of the MTK Music To Know Festival has been set for the East Hampton Airport, as a festival producer what is appealing about the site?

I think one of the most appealing things about the site for me is the way we have it set up. It has natural boundaries, the site is surrounded by trees, which makes it visually very appealing. In terms of location, especially considering the traffic concerns people had with the previous site in Amagansett, there are a number of ways into the venue, keeping traffic off the main streets and making it a little easier for everyone to get in and out of the site.

I would imagine one of the drawbacks to hosting a music festival at the airport would involve air traffic, specifically how to preserve sound quality with aircraft and helicopters landing nearby. How are you dealing with that?

The plan we have in place has the stage set as far away from the active runways as possible and we are bringing in delay speakers that sit halfway down the concert field, which will not make the music louder off the property, but will make it louder at the back of the concert field.

In a perfect world, there would not be planes landing at a concert, but all of our sound professionals agree it will have a pretty low impact.

I heard a rumor that you got into this business by basically walking into an executive’s office and demanding a job. Separate fact from fiction — how did you find yourself in this field?

Demanding might be a strong word. Insisting might be better. It happened during my mid-20s awakening. I went to school for broadcast journalism and then I realized it was not my calling. It was really innocent how I became what I became. I woke up one day and I thought, I spend so much of my money on concerts, how can I make that my job? I went to The Globe Theatre in Connecticut, a theatre with about an 1,100 capacity, and I basically walked in and said, ‘I work here now.’ They all looked at me like I was crazy, but they gave me a desk and not a job, but an internship and that developed into a job when the person I was interning for left. Shortly after that, I developed the Gathering of the Vibes Music and Arts Festival, which I co-founded with Ken Hays in 1996. And that was the beginning of my festival career.

One of the criticisms laid out by some residents concerned about the festival was a lack of experience in festival production on the part of festival founders. As the architect of the festival, what is your experience in this field?

I co-founded the Gathering of the Vibes, a music and art festival in July that now does about 20,000 people per day. I am also a founding producer of the Green Apple Festival, which at its beginnings was a festival that happened on Earth Day simultaneously in eight cities. We did festivals with 15,000 to 50,000 people in parks across the country, including Golden Gate, Central Park, Santa Monica Pier, parks in Dallas, Miami and more. I have also worked, not as a producer, but as staff at festivals like the All Good Music Festival, the Rothbury Festival in Michigan, Bonnaroo. So I have 16 plus years of festival experience, including being at the helm of a number of festivals.

The centerpiece of the Green Apple festival was Earth Day at the Mall in Washington D.C., which featured Sting, John Legend, Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead, Toots and the Maytals, Joss Stone. John Dindas, who is the production manager for MTK was actually at the helm of Earth Day at the National Mall and the same day I was producing Earth Day in Morocco in Rabat with Seal performing. I was actually hired by the Moroccan government, indirectly by the King of Morocco, to produce a free Earth Day concert in their capital. It wasn’t the worst gig in the world.

Do you find your musical preferences direct you toward working with specific artists or events?

Yes and no. I grew up as a Dead Head throughout high school and college and went through that phase where all I wanted to listen to is them. But I think now I have a very rich and diverse taste in music so I have the luxury of liking everything I work on. It’s harder to be passionate about a project if you don’t love the music, but I don’t know I ever encountered that.

What drew you to work on the MTK Music Festival?

We were introduced by mutual friends and I met with Chris and Bill for lunch in the city one day, and they were just great guys with a great vision. I meet a lot of people who have it in their heads that they are going to do a festival and most of the time people have no understanding about how much it takes in terms of dedication and the ability to execute a vision. From the first time I met them they really got that. They both bring really different things to the table. Bill, as a screenwriter, has a little of that Hollywood mentality, where everything is grandiose and Chris, as the guy who has hotels all over the world, he is very much about the nuts and bolts. With a pencil and a napkin he could draw out his entire vision of what the concert field looks like, from where the tents are to the parking. He is very tactile and can express his ideas.

The East End has not hosted a multi-band music festival of this scale in several years. Outside of the economy, what makes this part of the country ripe for a successful festival?

I think it’s a very culturally rich area and I think as Bill and Chris said at the announcement about the lineup, there are a lot of tastemakers and a lot of people who are usually the first to know about things that live out there.

To me, it was an appealing, beautiful place and an underutilized area full of people willing to give things a chance. Also, to a certain extend, the Hamptons are so far away from the rest of the world it becomes difficult for people to get these experiences. To go to a festival in Boston or Washington D.C., it’s a haul, and a lot of people miss out on those experiences. It is a hungry market of really receptive people interested in art and music.

How have festivals evolved during your career? Are we seeing an emphasis on more intimate events and festivals? Is music still the focus, or have festivals become something bigger than that?

I actually think that it is a little of both in terms of size. When I first started out there were not a lot of music festivals. Gathering of the Vibes was certainly the biggest in the Northeast, at least when we first started, and over time I think, as has happened in a lot of businesses, it became very chic to be as big as you could be, which at the Vibes we were never interested in. That bred Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits and Coachella and to that extent a lot of it is being as big as possible, but as a result you have seen a trend towards smaller, more intimate festivals a la MTK or the Wilco Solid Sound Festival in Massachusetts, which is geared towards their fans. Instead of trying to do a 100,000-person event, the idea is to make it 7,000 people and make it the coolest experience they have ever had. That is the same idea with MTK — take a small group of people and give them a life changing experience.

For more information on the MTK Music to Know Festival presented by Bing, visit www.musictoknow.com.

MTK Concert Approved, Now Wait on FAA

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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.

Incumbents Will Seek Re-Election This June

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Incumbent Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride will seek a second term at the helm, along with incumbent trustees Ed Gregory and Tim Culver and appointed Sag Harbor Village Justice Andrea Schiavoni. All four will vie to keep their seats under the Sag Harbor Party, which has dominated village government throughout several administrations.

With the deadline to submit petitions to run for village office just a month away, no contenders have yet to pick up a packet from the Municipal Building, according to village administrator Beth Kamper. Interested parties have until May 5 to collect 50 resident signatures to run in the election, which will be held June 21.

For Gilbride, the decision to run for a second term — something the mayor said he would not likely do when elected two years ago — comes from a desire to see several projects, and a lawsuit, to the end before he takes his leave of public service.

The lawsuit is a $30 million one filed by East End Ventures that claimed the village intentionally re-zoned the firm’s Ferry Road parcels in order to prevent a condominium project to move forward.

While the case was dismissed earlier this winter, a judge has allowed East End Ventures attorney to re-plead one aspect of the case — that the condominium project proposed was similar to the village-approved condominium project at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory. The case is still pending.

“I would also like to see as much of the Havens Beach remediation completed,” said Gilbride.

The village recently received a proposal by its environmental planning consultant Rich Warren to remediate the drainage ditch at the popular bathing beach, which has shown unsafe levels of bacterial contamination.

Gilbride said if re-elected, he would also like to see drainage improvements on Latham, Rogers and Henry streets completed in his next term. That neighborhood bore the brunt of flooding as a result of massive rain storms last March.

Gilbride said he was thrilled the incumbent slate was running together as a team, and praised appointed village justice Andrea Schiavoni for running the village’s newly installed justice court throughout the winter.

“I have heard nothing but good responses about Andrea’s leadership and the convenience of having a court in Sag Harbor,” said Gilbride.

Incumbent trustee Ed Gregory, who brings over 20 years of experience to the board, having served as a member for close to 15 years in the 1980s and returning to the board in 2003, said like Gilbride there are projects he would like to see finished during his tenure on the board.

“We have been talking about Havens Beach for so many years now, and a plan is finally coming to fruition,” said Gregory, who added he would like to see the village through its purchase of Long Wharf from Suffolk County as well.

“I would also like to see what is going to become of Bulova,” he said. “It has been sitting there for so long and I would like the building inspector to investigate the condition of the building after this very harsh winter and see if it can still be renovated. It’s a safety concern. I am worried about bricks falling off that building.”

Culver, who for weeks now has said he would not seek a second term citing his bustling law practice and family commitments, changed his mind this week.

He said his goal is to ensure the village continues to keep its spending under control, and that the current board is on the right track, tackling issues like Havens Beach and the creation of the justice court.

“I want to continue what we have done, which is keep costs down, but address important issues like Havens Beach and preserving access to our waterfront,” said Culver.

Former mayor Pierce Hance, who was rumored to be seeking office this year, said on Monday that while anything is possible his candidacy “is not probable.”

Music Festival & Radio Station Announce Partnership

The MTK: Music to Know Festival announced a partnership this week with WEHM-FM 92.9 and 96.9, which will have exclusive broadcast rights to the summer music festival, scheduled for August 12 through August 14.

The location of the festival has yet to be finalized, as Sag Harbor residents Chris Jones and Bill Collage attempt to secure a commercial mass gathering permit to use land at the East Hampton Airport for the festival, which is expected to draw 9,500 concert goers and feature 20 bands over the two-day period.

The promoters already have approval to host the concert at Ocean View Farm in Amagansett, although a group of residents recently filed suit against the town to prevent the concert from moving forward at that location.

According to a release issued this week by public relations coordinator Michelle Fox, WEHM-FM will broadcast live during the two-day event, interviewing bands and spotlighting local charities. As a part of their permit application, Jones and Collage have agreed to make a $100,000 donation to local charities and food pantries.

In addition, WEHM-FM will promote the festival, offering a series of contests for VIP and General Admission tickets.

“We are very excited about our collaboration with MTK for the music festival this August,” said station manager Harry Wareing. “Our focus has always been ‘about the music’ and this is fantastic opportunity to share ‘EHM’s great sound with a partner who is equally enthusiastic.”

While the promoters have remained mum on who will headline the festival and what additional acts will perform, Fox said the line-up will be announced in coming weeks. Tickets are also expected to go one sale in mid-April.

Thiele Fights to Keep Saltwater Fishing License Enjoined

In a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo last week, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. requested the state drop its appeal of a December 2010 decision to enjoin the implementation of the State Saltwater Fishing License in the waters of seven Long Island Towns including all town waters on the East End.

Last week the State Legislature included Thiele’s proposal to repeal the license and fee and replaced it with a free registry to meet the requirements of federal law as part of the 2011 State Budget.

“I strongly opposed this law from the outset as an unwarranted infringement of the right to fish and the local home rule powers of our towns under the colonial patents,” said Thiele in a release issued last week. “A State Supreme Court Judge issued an injunction and now the State Legislature has repealed the law and enacted a free registry which is consistent with federal law, the Judge’s decision and the right to fish bestowed by the colonial patents. It would be silly for the state to now appeal this decision. First, it is moot. Second it would be a waste of state and local tax dollars to continue to litigate the legality of a repealed law. The Governor should direct the DEC and the Attorney-General to drop the appeal.”

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.

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.