In response to an outpouring of community opposition, followed by a lawsuit seeking cancellation of a town permit, the organizers of the MTK: Music to Know festival, slated for Aug. 13 and 14, are seeking Federal Aviation Administration and East Hampton Town permission to move the event to an unused runway at East Hampton Airport. Should that effort fail, they plan to go ahead with the concert at its original proposed site, on farmland in Amagansett.
The prospect of the festival taking place in Wainscott was discussed at a Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on Saturday.
In an April 4 letter to the town board, the committee noted that it was “not categorically opposed” to large events being held in East Hampton Town, including in Wainscott, but that it hoped the town board would use the permitting process to ensure that they were “rotated through the hamlets.”
According to the committee’s letter, Wainscott residents have expressed some concern about the festival, specifically issues of traffic and crowds, as well as its proposed hours: from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Aug. 13 and 14. Committee members, however, also said they recognized the potential positive economic impact of such a festival.
The citizens group lauded the town board for ascertaining that the concert promoters intend to follow through on a promise to donate $100,000 to local charities, but called that amount “extremely low” given the potential profits from the two-day festival. The donations to be made as a condition of receiving a mass-gathering permit for a large event should be commensurate with the anticipated earnings, the committee wrote in its letter.
Performers for the MTK: Music to Know show have not yet been announced, although organizers have said the lineup will include 20 bands, alternating performances on two stages.
This week, MTK: Music to Know announced its partnership with WEHM, a local radio station that broadcasts on 92.9 and 96.9 FM.
The station will broadcast live during the two-day event, interviewing bands and spotlighting charities that have been invited to set up at the festival site to disseminate information and collect donations.
The station will also promote the music of festival performers in the months leading up to the event, and is expected to hold several contests for V.I.P. and general admission tickets.
The station’s manager, Harry Wareing, said in a press release, “We serve a sophisticated audience that is extremely loyal to our format, and who are all eagerly anticipating the MTK concert, which will include many great artists that are heard on EHM.”
The nature of the music has been a topic of interest to residents opposed to the event being held in Amagansett, with some expressing worry that certain genres could bring fans that would behave in an inappropriate manner.
The founders of MTK — Chris Jones, the owner of Solé East hotel in Montauk, and Bill Collage, a screenwriter, both of Sag Harbor — have said that groups that might draw a rowdy crowd would not be considered.
The festival will showcase “adult contemporary music” and “emerging pop, rock, and alt-rock acts,” according to the promoters, who said in this week’s press release that they will announce names in the coming weeks.
Tickets are expected to go on sale in mid-April, the press release indicated, with two-day general admission tickets and V.I.P. passes available. A limited number of “upgrade passes” for admission to a “wine terrace” and beer garden will be offered to general admission ticketholders, and there will be a pre-sale for local residents, offering a 20-percent discount on any type of ticket.