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Story - News

Feb 15, 2011 4:36 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Amagansett Festival Organizers Consider Moving Concert To Airport

Feb 15, 2011 4:36 PM

The organizers of the two-day Music To Know festival slated for August are considering relocating the event from a farm in Amagansett to East Hampton Airport in Wainscott, following weeks of protests by Amagansett residents.

The two Sag Harbor men organizing the event, motel owner Chris Jones and screenwriter Bill Collage, have submitted a mass gathering permit application for the East Hampton Airport property, Mr. Jones said on Friday. If the Town Board approves it, he said, the event will likely take place there, rather than Oceanview Farm on Montauk Highway in Amagansett.

“I’ve been very consistent, and so has Bill, in repeating numerous times that people can contact us and we can have an open dialogue,” he said. “And during the course of that open dialogue with multiple parties, we were encouraged to look at an alternate site and that’s exactly what we’ve done.”

However, if the new permit is denied, he said, the concert will go on as planned. The Town Board approved a mass gathering permit for Oceanview Farm in a split decision in December, just one week after the proposal was unveiled to the public. It is expected to draw 9,500 people on Saturday, August 13, and Sunday, August 14.

“Right now, we obviously have a permit in place that we can go ahead and use, and we have a second application in, which may or may not be approved,” Mr. Jones said. “To the extent that it’s approved, in all likelihood we will switch sites.”

A copy of the application and a site plan for the airport site were not available this week. The town fire marshal’s office, which has the documents, did not respond to a request under the Freedom of Information Law in time for publication.

East Hampton Airport Manager Jim Brundige said the airport has not hosted a major event during his 7-year tenure. He said it’s unclear whether the Federal Aviation Administration would have to approve the use of the airport as festival grounds.

“We’re working with our consultants on that,” Mr. Brundige said on Monday. “We’ll have a definitive answer when they research that fully.”

If the festival moves to the airport, it would be held in a large field on the southern part of the property, near Industrial Road, Mr. Brundige said. He said the town would work to make sure the festival does not interfere with normal operations of the airport.

“It’s all tentative right now, so we’re just trying to work out details, the town is trying to work them out with the planners,” he said.

Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson did not return calls seeking comment.

Mr. Jones said the company he and Mr. Collage formed to organize the event, Music To Know, has secured a number of major acts for the festival, but said he wasn’t prepared to announce them.

At a series of Town Hall meetings since the application for Oceanview Farm was approved, Amagansett residents raised concerns about traffic, crowd control and an influx of 18- to 30-year-olds into the quiet hamlet. A group of the critics last month hired an East Hampton attorney, Jeffrey Bragman, to fight the proposal.

Mr. Bragman has argued that the town was required by law to conduct a detailed environmental impact review of the festival before it was approved. He said that also holds true for the airport application.

“We’d really like to see environmental review done before you schedule a large event like this,” he said. “It’s the only prudent course to take. And that process is a very important part of this application, so we’re looking forward to seeing any information they’ve got to present.”

As he and Mr. Collage have done in recent weeks, Mr. Jones rejected the negative characterizations of the festival. “It is not that kind of event,” he said. The organizers have promised to donate $100,000 to local charities, and have argued that the festival will bring jobs and other economic benefits into town.

In response to criticisms, Music To Know has accelerated its preparation of a 50-page safety report for the event, filled with emergency plans, that will eventually be attached to the application, Mr. Jones said. He added the firm has been in talks with the town police chief and fire marshal over safety and logistics.

“We heard what the community said about that,” he said. “We’ve done it earlier than we would have ordinarily done.”

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love the part where he says he's doing the safety report earlier than he would have done - Uh yeah like two months AFTER the permit was approved.
And he's never done any event like this before - so where's the "ordinarily done" part come from? Is this earn while you learn? The story keeps changing from them, depending on who they are talking to. More evidence that we should be very wary of them.
By traveler (3), east hampton on Feb 11, 11 4:50 PM
Our Town Board certainly isn't doing anything to protect us from these novice event planners--where is their due diligence?
At least the airport location will keep masses of traffic from clogging 27 all the way through Amagansett.
By P.A.B. (23), East Hampton on Feb 11, 11 5:15 PM
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 11, 11 7:11 PM
Great idea. Masses of people gathered around inbound and outbound aircraft

What's the FAA got to say about this latest proposal?

By Bilge Water (131), Southampton on Feb 11, 11 9:32 PM
Don't you need bands in order to have a music festival? I could understand considering all options if these guys were promoters with a strong history of killer musical festivals, but a lot of talk and time is being expended on a couple of guys who have not yet approached musicians
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Feb 12, 11 8:20 AM
My point exactly, FONZKE! Let's hear who they have, otherwise the talk is all for naught. If they're line up is Milli Vanilli, Rick Springfield, and Quarterflash then we can stop talking.
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Feb 12, 11 10:56 AM
Sorry, but these guys are sounding more defensive and way too loose lipped to be helping the perception of their inexperience. Saying they have "major" acts and not releasing their names is just dumb. We do not give out talent details in our business until the venue, sponsors and other key logistical details are locked and loaded. Chris and Bill, if you're reading these things, SHUT THE HELL UP! You have no obligation to give disgruntled folks a soap box to make you respond when you're not required ...more
By I Do It Live (28), East Hampton on Feb 12, 11 4:53 PM
They already have a venue in Amagansett. It was approved, and, as they said in this article, the airport is simply a fall back and if they do not get it, they will go back to the original spot that is already secured. So, by your logic, they should definitely share the names of their "major" acts.
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Feb 12, 11 5:01 PM
Until 2 days ago, could you have told me who was headlining the world's biggest music festival - Glastonbury? No, because they only just announced one headliner two days ago. Oh, and they sold nearly 200,000 tickets way back in October. And they are not releasing full artist list until April. And the festival is in June. Similarly with Coachella. Anyone who knows this industry recognizes this is the state of play. So nothing unusual going on.
By janehp (10), Sag Harbor on Feb 12, 11 6:10 PM
To compare this operation to Glastonbury or coachella is like comparing my kids little league game to the world series. Additionally, you may not have known who was headlining, but people who bought tickets did so because they knew what bands were on the schedule. Nobody buys tickets to a concert without knowing anything about who is playing. And you do not have to be in the "industry" to know that
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Feb 12, 11 8:53 PM
They have a venue that they've now agreed with their critics may not have been the best decision. So now they're trying a new location that they're talking about. Not done in our business.

As far as announcing the line-up, personally, I would wait until about May 1, especially if they were successful in securing a few sponsors. Thus far, the press on this gig had been weal and not forgiving. Turn the tables with a good story!

By I Do It Live (28), East Hampton on Feb 12, 11 5:52 PM
"They have a venue that they've now agreed with their critics may not have been the best decision. So now they're trying a new location that they're talking about. Not done in our business."

Ever heard of a concert in Bethel New York? It was moved there from its planned location in Woodstock.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Feb 13, 11 1:33 AM
Actually, I am Michael Lang's oft time producing partner, so I would say I'm qualified to make my comment. As above, best to be quiet until details are locked and loaded.
By I Do It Live (28), East Hampton on Feb 13, 11 2:09 PM
Why don't we just keep pushing and squeezing these guys and then they will just say forget the whole thing. Then we get no money from the event, nobody from the area will find any temporary work, and all the local businesses that would have benifited will loose out.
Oh, and we will not get to listen to some music and have a good time for a couple days. Really, really nice.
The economy sucks. Here we have someone trying to bring some spending to our area, and all we can do is say not in ...more
By private (27), sag harbor on Feb 13, 11 12:05 PM
4 members liked this comment
Problem is, most of the people pi$$ing, and moaning about it, most likely don't need the work, or the money generated by it.

Therefore, they could most likely care less, and will selfishly "make their case".
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 13, 11 9:12 PM
So anyone with a job is not allowed to comment?
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Feb 14, 11 8:13 AM
Good idea
By BlackDog (47), East Hampton on Feb 14, 11 4:25 PM
It would be a lot easier to support if we had an idea of what bands are being considered or, more precisely, what bands or artists they have a realistic chance of booking. The argument that folks should just blindly support a festival is too much to ask. From what I've read the promoters are first timers with limited experience and when planning a music festival you cannot say if you build it they will come.
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Feb 13, 11 12:42 PM
please guys, this is getting a little nuts. Depending on the level of talent, whether the event is a first timer and sponsor goals, "On Sale" dates are normally 60 - 90 days out, or May 12 - June 12. For this event, beginning of May is best.
By I Do It Live (28), East Hampton on Feb 13, 11 2:16 PM
Excuse me, but what is "getting a little nuts." I know you clearly consider yourselves "industry insiders", but community concerns are important. I would suggest that rather than talk down to people, you should instead try to convince us that we should support your efforts. Personally, I am not inclined to do so.
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Feb 13, 11 2:41 PM
I appreciate your concerns, am an EH resident and am not involved with this project. And I too have many reservations about this show pulling off at all. However, these guys are getting pressed from all directions and when that happens, answers usually are put out to temporarily quell the uncertainty. They have a MGP, which means they fulfilled the town's requirements. For them to be successful, they need to make a talent announcement when it can generate a good story and sales. All I'm saying is ...more
By I Do It Live (28), East Hampton on Feb 13, 11 3:30 PM
2 members liked this comment
Not too sure how a music festival in Easthampton helps the rest of us who live in the general area. All we will get is TRAFFIC and increased police cost.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Feb 13, 11 1:03 PM
What I don't understand is why they don't have this music festival in Sag Harbor if this is where the two men are from?? Do you just not want all the traffic and such in your town????? This whole thing just doesnt seem right. Especially the permit being passed one week after proposal.
By chelsealizw (15), SPRINGS on Feb 13, 11 4:25 PM
These guys have listened. They are looking at an alternative site. They are doing a safety plan, not because they have to because it is not required, but because they want to address concerns expressed. All the so called experts commenting above are obviously people who can't think outside the box or figure out how to do an event in East Hampton. Also, don't argue that these guys can't handlle a big event on one hand then say compared to "real" festivals this is like little league. New ball ...more
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on Feb 13, 11 7:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
A very out out of touch post. As I've written many times, they just need to get their house in order and announce when things are ready to be announced. And as a so called "expert", you must have an ingress/egress and additional safety plan integral to ANY mass gathering event plan, so try not to spout when you know not of what you speak. In addition, any expert in our business who doesn't think way out of the box does not stay in the game...or they're a contractor working for someone who does. ...more
By I Do It Live (28), East Hampton on Feb 13, 11 8:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hey, connwatcher, those posts were written by two different people, one of them being me, so there's nothing contradictory about it. Just people expressing opinions. The folks calling themselves "experts" are not the folks expressing concerns.

So how about actually reading before commenting, rocket scientist
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Feb 14, 11 8:18 AM
Just looking at the EH Airport from google earth and it might be safer if they move the concert down the road to the Maidstone Gun Club .

They won't have to worry about inbound and outbound air traffic with large group of people and theres a nice big open area down range at the gun club.

Maybe they could even combine the event with the annual Turkey Shoot

By Bilge Water (131), Southampton on Feb 14, 11 9:39 AM
I like it quiet and without special teatment for the new crews in town, bring back the quiet old way please, before Ecuador, before rich elites please. Bring back the quiet buccolic family seashore town we had before whos who came in to be.
By BlackDog (47), East Hampton on Feb 14, 11 4:28 PM
I hope they do not expect to curtail air traffic on the very busy August weekend. But if they don't, there will be plenty of aircraft noise. That venue makes NO sense at all!
The entire idea is pretty hair-brained to begin with. NOBODY wants or need it on the east end. Try Riverhead. Anyone from here who wants it can get there easily
By DasK (26), on Feb 14, 11 4:30 PM
Bingo on the Airport, but they've been trying to do rentals for years. I fly the seaplane in there on friday's, so I'm hoping to avoid the mess. However, the idea of a a sizable show in the right spot could be very cool. Around five years back, Crosby, Stills & Nash played a show at the field behind the Church alongside the Maidstone Tennis House in EH. I didn't go as i was out of town, but my wife went and said it was excellent and had zero problems. Ten acre perfectly flat field for people, ten ...more
By I Do It Live (28), East Hampton on Feb 14, 11 7:55 PM