Nile Rodgers Productions, which last year launched the All for the East End concert at Martha Clara Vineyards, plans to hold its own two-day music festival at the vineyard this coming August, with an opening night bash in downtown Riverhead.
Riverhead Project owner Dennis McDermott, Martha Clara Vineyards winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez and Molly O’Connor proposed the concert on Mr. Rodgers’ behalf to the Riverhead Town Board at their work session Thursday.
Mr. McDermott called the concert “Son of AFTEE,” and said that Mr. Rodgers was “so taken by Riverhead, he wants to continue every year, with or without AFTEE.”
The concert would be held Aug. 8 through 10, with the kickoff event Friday night in downtown Riverhead. Mr. McDermott told the board he expected 9,500 people to attend each day, though the concert would be spread out with three events for varying ages throughout the day.
Last year’s concert had a permit for up to 7,500 people, but only 5,000 attended, said Town Supervisor Sean Walter.
Mr. McDermott said AFTEE raised $50,000 for charities on the East End, which is currently in the hands of the Long Island Community Foundation, which is distributing the money. He said they plan to hold a different event, possibly a golf tournament, this year.
Mr. Walter repeatedly told the applicants that the Riverhead Business Improvement District would be the perfect beneficiary of the concert.
Mr. McDermott said the concert does have a charity component, but is not exclusively a charity event. Mr. Rodgers’ “We Are Family Foundation,” named after the Sly and the Family Stone song he penned, will be a beneficiary of the concert. The We Are Family Foundation supports the creation of a global family and provides educational opportunities in countries with low literacy rates, but there’s nothing in its mission statement about supporting downtown Riverhead.
Mr. Micieli-Martinez said the concert would be the U.S. component of a series of concerts Mr. Rodgers is holding all over the world, including in Tokyo and Berlin.
Mr. McDermott said he’s spoken with East End Arts Executive Director Pat Snyder about the possibility of including jumpSTART, a series of projects by 18 artists that were slated to hold events in downtown Riverhead late this summer, in the Friday night event downtown.
The two days of concerts at Martha Clara would include three separate events throughout the day, a morning session aimed at young children, an afternoon session aimed at teenagers and young adults and an evening session aimed at adults. There would be two stages, and the location of the stage from last year’s AFTEE concert would be oriented to the north, after there were some noise complaints last year.
Mr. Walter said one complaint came from an irate person in Southold Town.
Councilman George Gabrielson said there are a lot of irate people in Southold.
The board members said they were all in favor of pursuing the project further.
“Did I mention the BID is running out of cash,” said Mr. Walter.