Town Board to vote on Nile Rodgers festival


A vote on the Nile Rodgers “Freak Out!” music and arts festival at Martha Clara Vineyards is expected to take place at the Riverhead Town Board’s 7 p.m. meeting Wednesday. 

Mr. Rodgers, a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, songwriter and producer, has proposed a three-day festival for the weekend of Aug. 12-14. Nile Rodgers Productions has not announced what performers will be featured this year.

The name of the event comes from the refrain of “Le Freak,” a 1978 hit Mr. Rodgers had with the band Chic.

Mr. Rodgers held a similar two-day event at Marta Clara last August with Beck, Pharrell Williams and Keith Urban among the headliners. He also was involved in a similar event called “All for the East End” in 2013.

While last year’s two-day, midweek show didn’t generate many complaints, several residents have already voiced opposition to the latest proposed festival at a Dec. 31 meeting. The Town Board had planned to approve the festival then.

Supervisor Sean Walter has voiced support for the event. He called the 2015 event “a private party for the residents of Riverhead and Southold towns,” and said it was like a “who’s who” of residents from those towns.

But the approval came to a halt at that same Dec. 31 meeting when South Jamesport resident Angela DeVito asked if the town had completed the required environmental assessment form for the special event permit. Town planning and building administrator Jeff Murphree acknowledged it had not.

Now those studies are done, officials said, and the special event approval can be granted.

The “Town Board hereby determines that it will not have a significant environmental impact,” the draft approval resolution reviewed at Thursday’s Town Board work session reads.

Photo Caption: Grammy Award-winning artist Nile Rodgers performs in August at Martha Clara Vineyards. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

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