Music, goodies in store at fest

07/29/2010 12:00 AM |

Richie Havens

The North Fork’s Woodstock moment is almost upon us, as the countdown begins to the NOFO Rock and Folk Fest, to be held over two days this weekend at Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue.

The festival gates will open at 10 a.m. both Saturday, July 31, and Sunday, August 1. Music begins at 11 a.m. and runs through 7 p.m. One-day passes are $45 and two-day passes cost $80. Both are available at, at 1-888-277-1905 or in advance at the winery. The event’s organizers advise that it is likely only a limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

In a recent development, the promoters have taken the town to court seeking to prevent the imposition of certain restrictions on the event, including ending the music at 6 p.m. instead of 7. (See story page 1.)

From rock guitar icons Jorma Kaukonen and Leslie West to Richie Havens, Devon Allman and Pat Dinizio of the Smithereens, the bill is packed with talent. And Josh Horton, whose Big Suga Productions has partnered with the vineyard to produce the show, has also put together a smaller stage where local and acoustic musicians will play throughout the day.

“We will not have piped music between acts. There will be an acoustic tent where people can collaborate and play and write songs together. The whole spirit of this festival is about not only bringing great artists to the North Fork, but about celebrating local artists,” said Mr. Horton.

“We have Jorma Kaukonen, far and away the most renowned guitarist of our time, on stage at same time as much lesser-known acts,” he added. “We feel that’s important. We are very fortunate to have been able to book the top of our wish list, but the name acts that we have, they’re very down-to-earth people, which is why they’re agreeable to playing a small-scale festival like this.”

Mr. Horton’s band, Big Suga, will play on Saturday afternoon right before Richie Havens, who will be visiting Cutchogue on his way to the Newport Folk Festival, also this weekend.

“It is beyond my comprehension,” said Mr. Horton of the opportunity to open for Mr. Havens. “He’s an American folk hero and an international icon.”

Mr. Horton said a portion of the profits from the weekend’s events will benefit The East End Arts Council, which runs a community music and arts school in Riverhead and has recently begun classes at Brecknock Hall in Southold.

“I think that is something that is extremely important. It is something that I will, through my own personal means, support,” said Mr. Horton. “Music and art is part of what makes the world go round. It accentuates the lives of those who engage in it and it also brings texture to a community.”

The festival will include a farmer’s market with fresh local produce, food from the Maple Tree Deli in Riverhead and an oyster bar. In addition, vendors will hawk everything from sandwiches to hot dogs, sausages and Italian ices as well as a variety of wares, including homemade kites and guitars, antiques and movie posters.

There will be shade tents, including one where people can be misted with water to provide relief from the heat. Mr. Horton said that the festival has hired a private ambulance and two paramedics to keep any incidents of injury or illness from burdening the Cutchogue Fire Department.

“I hope people leave the festival saying ‘God, I love the North Fork,” said Mr. Horton. “I hope that’s a reinforcing statement in their minds if they live here or, if they’re not from here, I hope their next words will be ‘I will definitely return to the North Fork.’ I also hope they leave saying ‘It’s fantastic what the East End Arts Council provides, not only to the youth of our community, but to the arts and cultural aspect of our community.'”

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