Riverhead Blues Fest organizers plan to move event for 2013

Downtown Riverhead, Blues & Music Festival, Vail-Leavitt
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Robert Ross of NYC prepares to take the stage Saturday at the 2012 Riverhead Blues & Music Festival in June.

Organizers of the Riverhead Blues & Music Festival are drawing up plans to hold next year’s installment of the popular event in a new location in Riverhead.

The two-day festival will still be held downtown, but because of expected parking problems along the customary riverfront location south of East Main Street, officials with the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall — which sponsors the event — are eying the north side of the road.

The treasurer of the Vail-Leavitt nonprofit group, Vince Tria, told the News-Review Thursday that the group’s board of directors has approved moving the group’s chief fundraiser the new site.

The festival is expected to be held June 29 and June 30, Mr. Tria said.

The plans call to put the main stage behind the former Woolworth building, with it facing northwest out into the parking lot that extends north along East Avenue, with temporary fencing running along East Avenue, Mr. Tria said.

“And right to the west we’ll have as many as 80 parking spots,” he said. “I counted them. Some people will be able to park right behind Barth’s Pharmacy and Haiku and the new Mexican restaurant there, Blue Agave.

“The town just needs us to file some design plans” with a special events permit application, he said.

Vail-Leavitt officials, with Mr. Tria at the helm, have in the past run into political troubles with the town and even infighting among business owners south of Main Street while trying to organize the event.

The 2011 installment was cancelled after the Chamber of Commerce tried to take control of the festival, then later backed off, in 2010.

This year’s festival had low attendance, which organizers blamed on the hiatus, as well as competing East End events and Father’s Day.

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Read more in Thursday’s edition of the Riverhead News-Review newspaper.


Woolworth, downtown Riverhead, Blues Festival
MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | Under current plans, the Blues Festival main stage will sit catty corner behind the former Woolworth building (above).