The 9,500 people the two-day music festival will bring to the aren't the only numbers the organizers are crunching. They've got to put the cars somewhere too, and they are asking to use the high school for an overflow.
Chris Jones of the Music To Know concert said at a town board work session on Tuesday that that they need about 2,650 parking spaces, but will make plans for over 3,600 just in case. The mass gathering permit to location to the airport is still pending before the board, while they await approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
They are looking to use eight fields between the airport, a few locations on Daniels Hole Road, and one location at the on Stephen Hands Path. "We will shuttle folks from each of these locations to then event," Jones said.
The flow of concert goers, and cars, will vary over the two days depending on the act scheduled on Aug. 13 and 14.
And, those who come in a car with four or more people will get parking privileges as a way to promote car-pooling, according to music festival organizer Bill Collage.
"In addition we are in discussion with the , and Sag Harbor schools about using their vacant car spaces as overflow, in the unlikely event that they are needed," Jones said. They are also in discussions with the Long Island Rail Road, the Hampton Jitney, the Hampton Luxury Liner, and local taxi companies.
Jones also appeared at a meeting of the East Hampton school board on Tuesday night to ask permission to utilize the high school’s parking lot for potential overflow.
“I understand this is something you don’t typically do,” Jones said, adding he would be happy to address any questions.
A charitable donation of $100,000 will be given to the community with an eye toward distribution among local organizations, Jones explained. And, looking ahead, Jones said he has been working on the possibility of building on community involvement, collaborating with Councilwoman Theresa Quigley on the possibility of future scholarships for East Hampton students or studio time for young musicians.
Jones also mentioned that the event has already proven an economic generator with six locals hired in three months to work full time on the project and 30 others involved in some capacity – a “cottage industry at a time when there isn’t much going on,” he said.
Board member Lauren Dempsey asked how the school would benefit from allowing parking. Jones said MTK was looking to make no profit on parking and that the school could anticipate approximately $10,000 and possibly more for the two day event.
The festival, he said, would cover all insurance and security costs, with the school named as an additional insured entity on the policy and a professional security team hired for the event.
Board member John Ryan said he was concerned that parking be allowed only on the asphalt to ensure fields aren’t “chewed up.”
Funds generated are greatly needed, said board member Laura Anker-Grossman. “It may be an unusual request but these are unusual times,” she said.
Project MOST, an after-school program embraced by residents, will have all state funding cut this fall, she said – and an extra $10,000 would go a long way toward saving the program.
Jones said festival organizers were working with the town board to decide what organizations and programs would benefit.
Giving back, he said, “is what this is all about.”
Board member Stephen Talmage said school policy does not allow for-profit events on school property. “I’m not for changing policy because it’s a slippery slope,” he said.
He suggested perhaps students might run the parking at the event as a fundraiser as a way to move forward without a policy change.
Gualtieri questioned the liabilities student involvement would pose.
One parent questioned whether alcohol would be served. Jones said the “honest answer” is that beer and wine will be served and the event will feature local food, wineries and brews. “That’s a valid concern,” he said. He said he has been working with the town’s police chief on relevant issues.
Board member Alison Anderson said she would not support having students help with parking, and that the situation, with 500 cars and potential drinking could be dangerous.
Anker-Grossman said she felt comfortable with the proposal and reminded two other events had been held on site. Talmage reminded those were not-for-profit affairs.
The board agreed to seek legal counsel and get back to Jones with a decision.
In other festival related issues, Terry Elkowitz, an engineer working on the music festival's plans, told the town board there will be some minimal disturbance to vegetation at the airport. The fire marshal has requested a fire lane, she said, and the organizers will replant the vegetation after the concert.
A fence will be constructed to secure the area so no one gets to any areas of the airport they aren't supposed to be.
While the organizers have completed a State Environmental Quality Review form, Elkowitz said it shouldn't have been required. She said case law supporting environmental review isn't required for public gatherings on state land.
"We believe we have addressed practical issues whether or not an environmental review is required," she said.