After taking part in a star-studded concert last August and telling town leaders earlier this year that he sees himself playing in Riverhead on an annual basis — including this August — a repeat Nile Rodgers concert won’t be happening this summer after all.
The Grammy Award-winning performer told the Town Board in May that he planned to play at Martha Clara Vineyards on Aug. 8 and Aug. 10 this year. However, following last year’s All For the East End Concert — which featured Mr. Rodgers and his band Chic, Adam Lambert, and Avicci — this year’s event proved too much to put together as it evolved and the date grew nearer and nearer.
Dennis McDermott, one of the board members of AFTEE, was also helping Nile Rodgers Productions in a separate role make plans for a three-day festival this summer, particularly a Friday night downtown component.
“The scope got kind of big with the downtown component,” he said. “We had to kind of regroup a little bit. All of the parties are still interested — Martha Clara, Nile Rodgers, AFTEE and the Business Improvement District. But we decided to step back and regroup for next year.”
Molly O’Connor, event manager at Martha Clara, confirmed that the concert had been cancelled and organizers were focusing on holding one next year on site.
Proceeds from Nile Rodgers Productions’ concerts were going to benefit AFTEE, a nonprofit that raises money and distributes to other East End nonprofit organizations. Last year’s concert raised $50,000 which was distributed in $2,500 increments to groups such as Aid to the Developmentally Disabled, the North Fork Spanish Apostolate and the North Fork Animal Welfare League.
But after that meeting with the Town Board in late May, a representative from Nile Rodgers Productions actually pulled the plug on the event shortly after.
Peter Herman, the co-executive director of Niles Rodgers Productions, sent an email to Supervisor Sean Walter one week after he and Mr. Rodgers met with the town board on May 29. At that point in the process, the group needed a Chapter 90 application — a special events permit — in order to hold the event. However, promoters of the concert had yet to announce who would have been performing.
Mr. Herman said at the time that carrying on without a permit was what put the brakes on the plan.
“I understand that there has been some delay on the vote on our Chapter 90 application. Consequently, NRP will be unable to produce the August 9 – 10, 2014 music event/festival we were planning. Please accept this letter as official notification that we must withdraw our Chapter 90 application.”
Mr. McDermott said Mr. Rodgers still wants to play in Riverhead next year. The music legend said himself in May that he has the same vision.
“I know that we can do something incredible here that is on par with the Sundance Film Festival,” Mr. Rodgers told the board.