The Riverhead Town Supervisor Robert Kozakiewicz announced this morning that a two-day rock concert scheduled for this weekend in Calverton would not happen. Soon after, Ticketmaster was advertising on its web site that the event had been scaled down to a one-day show and would be held at Giants Stadium Saturday.
A Giants Stadium spokesperson said that although negotions have taken place, no deal has been reached. The change of venue was not confirmed by the concert’s promoters.
Ticketmaster’s web site said the new show would include Radiohead and the Beastie Boys, but did not make clear how many of the 35 other bands originally booked for the show would be part of the 12-hour concert. Tickets for the show were to go on sale at 5 p.m. through Ticketmaster.com., according to the ticket web site.
Tickets for the Calverton show will not be honored at Giants Stadium and people who initially purchased their tickets with a credit card online or by phone will receive an automatic refund on their credit card, according to Ticketmaster. Those who purchased them in other ways must return their tickets at the point of purchase for a refund.
Promoters today were hustling to find a new venue after the Suffolk officials declared that the concert would not be allowed on the East End as had been proposed. “In the interest of the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Town of Riverhead and the public, I believe that the event should be cancelled,” Kozakiewicz said in a prepared statement.
Christopher Kent, a lawyer for the for the Field Day Festival promoters, said earlier in the day that a new location in the New York City metropolitan area for the concert was being sought and that a decision would be announced today. He said refunds will be given to ticket-holders who request them.
Stating that at a new venue the concert, which was to feature headline acts such as the Beastie Boys, Radiohead, and Beck, would be a “different type of event,” Kent had said that the Meadowlands Sports Complex in New Jersey was one site under consideration. He added that there would be no camping at the concert’s new location.
“The Field Day Festival lives,” he said.
Yesterday, the concert promoters filed suit in Federal District Court in Islip seeking a restraining order and injunction to prevent Suffolk County from canceling the event. Kent said the suit will likely be changed to seek monetary damages now that the concert has been called off at the Calverton site.
Kent said the promoters were still trying to determine how much money they will lose because of the cancellation. “They’re still punching the calculator,” he said…they’ve spent over $3 million.”
The concert was thrown into doubt last week when Suffolk County denied the promoter a mass gathering permit, citing a lack of adequate police protection. Two weeks ago, the Suffolk County police declined to participate in the event, citing a concern over the concert traffic plan and a lack of time for the county attorney to sign a contract with the town.
Since then, town officials and the event promoter scrambled to convince other law enforcement agencies to provide the approximately 200 additional officers need to control traffic and the expected crowd of 50,000.
Last night, facing a possible court injunction filed by Suffolk County, the town board voted to table a resolution on their own special events permit, effectively denying the application since another meeting is not scheduled for this week.
This morning, Kozakiewicz and other town board members blamed Suffolk County for the event’s failure, saying the county police department’s failure to participate effectively killed the concert. “I really don’t know what the politics were, but yes, I do think politics did play a role,” Kozakiewicz said.
County officials have said Riverhead Town and the promoter approached the county too late to adequately plan the event.
In a letter sent Tuesday to Robert Maimoni, a county health official, Lt. Col. James Schepperly of the state police explained that “our experience has been that several months lead-time is minimally necessary to develop comprehensive concert plans.” The state police were first approached in March, a town official said.
A lack of adequate law enforcement was the reason the Suffolk County health department denied a mass gathering permit for the concert last week. Two weeks ago, Suffolk County police declined to participate, citing concerns about the promoter’s traffic plan and a lack of time for the county attorney to sign a deal with Riverhead town.
The Field Day concert was to occur at the former Grumman property, on part of the 2,900 acres of town-owned land that has been targeted for economic development. The town had hoped that this rock festival and another scheduled for August would put Riverhead on the map and lure future clients to the site.
The festival, Bonnaroo NE, is slated to last three days and feature acts including Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and The Dead.
“Its a separate issue altogether. What happened today has no (relationship) to the August event,” Suffolk Police Commissioner John Gallagher said.
Gallagher added that while road access to the Calverton site will also be a problem in August, planning has already started. “We’ll do our darndest,” Gallagher said, in order that the planning will be done before Bonaroo.
Here’s the Ticketmaster link.