Mitch Davis was quoted in today’s WSJ, here is the article and link to WSJ.
EAST HAMPTON, N.Y.—Bill Wilkinson, supervisor of this enclave of lush seaside estates, has been fielding emails and complaints for months, warning of an epic disaster. Sharks in the water? No. Rock bands at the airport.
A planned weekend-long “summer music festival”—the promoters reject the label “rock concert”—has roiled a community that prefers its summer sounds to be the clinking of champagne glasses at elegant lawn parties. Fears that throngs of youths partying to wailing music will take over the town are causing flashbacks to another August, long ago.
“If you recall what happened at Woodstock, the concert field became a huge trash field and outdoor toilet, thousands had brought no food, and thousands expected to ‘sleep rough’ in the field,” Walter Donway, 66, a year-round East Hampton resident wrote to Mr. Wilkinson. “I don’t think so.”
It has been 42 years since hundreds of thousands of youths descended on Max Yasgur’s farm in rural Bethel, N.Y., for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair—named for the first of several communities that refused to host what would become an iconic event of the late 1960s. For fans of classic rock, Woodstock is remembered as a magical three days rocked by some of the best bands on the planet. For others, Woodstock was a bad trip of mud, dope, traffic jams and mountains of trash.
The cultural divide over whether Woodstock was heaven or a disaster area now threatens the far more modest plans for the “Music to Know Festival,” which is allowed to have crowds of up to 9,500, or 1/50th the estimated size of the gathering on Yasgur’s farm. Organizers of the Hamptons event, on Aug. 13 and 14, expect crowds of about 6,000 each day.
“My crowd looks at this and says, ‘Who needs it?’ It is a major infringement on the peace and tranquility of the town,” says attorney Jeffrey Bragman, who launched a lawsuit on behalf of locals including several homeowners in Amagansett, the upscale village that was originally intended as the concert site. Community protests caused the event to be moved to a decommissioned runway at the East Hampton Airport.
Chris Jones, one of the organizers of the Music to Know Festival, has no recollection of the 1960s. “I was only 12 months old and probably high on milk,” at the time of Woodstock, he says.
But Mr. Jones, 42, has read up on the August 1969 event, and finds the comparisons bewildering.
“They had Janis Joplin, we have Ellie Goulding,” he says of the British pop singer who is one of the star acts, and recently performed at a reception for the royal wedding of Prince William and the former Kate Middleton. “I don’t think Janis ever sang for the future King and Queen of England,” he adds.
Woodstock’s big acts included Jimi Hendrix and The Who, the British rock group that once held the world’s record for the loudest musical performance.
The Music to Know festival has Vampire Weekend, a group of four Ivy Leaguers who play in a bubbly style that borrows liberally from African dance music. One of their hits is a quirky song that takes a shot at the Oxford comma.
Surveying the musical lineup, Mitchell Davis, a Los Angeles music manager and concert producer who isn’t involved with the Hamptons event, says: “These are hipsters—these are not social revolutionaries.”
Where Woodstock had homemade tie-dye and torn jeans, Music to Know plans to feature designer Tory Burch selling her signature $195 bikinis, $125 T-shirts, $95 beach towels and $45 flip-flops. Woodstock had makeshift feeding centers run by the Hog Farm hippie collective. Music to Know will offer a VIP tent and gourmet food trucks selling lobster rolls.
One other big difference: Woodstock was a free show. Ticket prices for the MTK Festival start at $110 for a single day pass, $195 for the weekend. A pass for the VIP area costs $645.
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