07/31/14 4:05pm
07/31/2014 4:05 PM
Nile Rodgers and Adam Lambert at last year’s AFTEE concert. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Nile Rodgers and Adam Lambert at last year’s AFTEE concert. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

After taking part in a star-studded concert last August and telling town leaders earlier this year that he sees himself playing in Riverhead on an annual basis — including this August — a repeat Nile Rodgers concert won’t be happening this summer after all.

The Grammy Award-winning performer told the Town Board  in May that he planned to play at Martha Clara Vineyards on Aug. 8 and Aug. 10 this year. However, following last year’s  All For the East End Concert — which featured Mr. Rodgers and bis band Chic, Adam Lambert, and Avicci — this year’s event proved too much to put together as it evolved and the date grew nearer and nearer.

Dennis McDermott, one of the board members of AFTEE, was also helping Nile Rodgers Productions in a separate role make plans for a three-day festival this summer, particularly a Friday night downtown component.

“The scope got kind of big with the downtown component,” he said. “We had to kind of regroup a little bit. All of the parties are still interested — Martha Clara, Nile Rodgers, AFTEE and the Business Improvement District. But we decided to step back and regroup for next year.”

Proceeds from Nile Rodgers Productions’ concerts were going to benefit AFTEE, a nonprofit that raises money and distributes to other East End nonprofit organizations. Last year’s concert raised $50,000 which was distributed in $2,500 increments to groups such as Aid to the Developmentally Disabled, the North Fork Spanish Apostolate and the North Fork Animal Welfare League.

But after that meeting with the Town Board in late May, a representative from Nile Rodgers Productions actually pulled the plug on the event shortly after.

Peter Herman, the co-executive director of Niles Rodgers Productions, sent an email to Supervisor Sean Walter one week after he and Mr. Rodgers met with the town board on May 29. At that point in the process, the group needed a Chapter 90 application — a special events permit — in order to hold the event. However, promoters of the concert had yet to announce who would have been performing.

Mr. Herman said at the time that carrying on without a permit was what put the brakes on the plan.

“I understand that there has been some delay on the vote on our Chapter 90 application. Consequently, NRP will be unable to produce the August 9 – 10, 2014 music event/festival we were planning. Please accept this letter as official notification that we must withdraw our Chapter 90 application.”

Mr. McDermott said Mr. Rodgers still wants to play in Riverhead next year. The music legend said himself in May that he has the same vision.

“I know that we can do something incredible here that is on par with the Sundance Film Festival,” Mr. Rodgers told the board.

05/30/14 12:36pm
05/30/2014 12:36 PM
Nile Rodgers at Town Board work session on Thursday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Nile Rodgers at Town Board work session on Thursday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Music legend Nile Rodgers made a visit to Riverhead Town Hall Thursday to iron out details of the upcoming “We Are Family Festival” at Martha Clara Vineyards on Aug. 8 and 10.

And it’s something he hopes to be doing for years to come, apparently.

“I know that we can do something incredible here that is on par with the Sundance Film Festival,” said Mr. Rodgers, who envisions the music festival being an annual event to help local charities.

The Town Board, which discussed the event with Mr Rodgers at its work session Thursday, is expected to vote on a resolution to approve the August event at its formal meeting Tuesday, and board members appear to support the event.

“We had such a great time last year,” said Peter Herman, the co-executive director of Niles Rodgers Productions. “Everyone was just so cooperative and welcoming. And I think it gave Niles and I the feeling that this is home. This is something that’s a community effort and not just us coming in and doing this one time and going away.”

When Mr. Herman told the board that they are hoping to plan the event for not only this year, but also next year, Mr. Rodgers added, “and the year after that, and the year after that.”

“I think it puts Riverhead on the map for good things,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

Mr. Rodgers, whose group Chic had a number of hits in the 1970s and 1980s and who has been a successful producer of many other well known hits for other artists, was involved in last year’s “All for the East End” concert at Martha Clara, which raised about $70,000 for a variety of East End charities and nonprofit organizations.

This year, AFTEE will be a beneficiary of the concert, but it won’t be organizing it, as it did last year — news that had surprised AFTEE organizers when it came out. That job will be handled by the Nile Rodgers Foundation, which also will raise money for local charities in what’s being called the “We Are Family Festival,” named after the non-profit “We Are Family Foundation” run by Mr. Rodgers, who also produced the song “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge.

Unlike last year’s concert, which was a one-day event held on a Monday, this will be a two-day event held on a Saturday and Sunday.

There will not be a downtown concert on Aug. 8, the Friday before the event, as originally planned, Mr. Herman said. He hopes to have a downtown event on the Friday before a music festival in 2015, and says it takes about a year to set up these type of events.

Last year’s performers included Chic, Adam Lambert and Avicci. The event drew about 5,000 people, according to Mr. Herman.

The promoters have yet to announce what performers will be playing this year, or what charities will benefit, although Councilman George Gabrielsen suggested that some local recreation programs are in need of money.

This year’s event also is proposing to have two stages with performers at the same time, so that when one act finishes, there will still be music playing, Mr. Herman said.

Mr. Rodgers said he was impressed by how smoothly last year’s festival went.

“We do this every day of our lives and I’ve seen the most chaotic situations, but this town handled it so well last year, it’s just amazing to me.”

He said initially, he wasn’t sure he wanted to do the festival again this year, because the past year has been one of the most successful of his life and he’s been getting a lot of offers from other places.

Mr. Rodgers won three Grammy Awards earlier this year for his work with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams.

“But I wanted to come back here because it just felt right,” he said.

Mr. Walter said he only heard one complaint about last year’s concert, and that was from a Southold Town resident, while Councilman John Dunleavy said he didn’t hear any complaints.

Mr. Gabrielsen, who lives in Jamesport, said he heard complaints from residents on Bay Run Lane, a small road that is right next to Martha Clara.

Mr. Herman said they want to work with anyone with complaints to try and alleviate their problems.

03/06/14 2:32pm
03/06/2014 2:32 PM
Crowd1

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | The crowd dances along to last August’s concert at Martha Clara Vineyards.

Nile Rodgers, the Grammy Award-winning producer and recording artist who participated in last year’s “All for the East End” concert at Martha Clara in Riverhead, is planning another music festival at that location this August, separate from AFTEE.  (more…)

12/04/13 7:00am
12/04/2013 7:00 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Swedish DJ sensation Avicii at the All for the East End dance party at Martha Clara Vineyards in August.

The first annual All for the East End dance party netted more than $70,000 in donations, event organizers announced Tuesday, more than three months after the charity concert brought thousands to Riverhead.

The funds will used to ensure the benefit concert happens against next year in addition to its mission of supporting nonprofit groups across the East End.

AFTEE’s Nile Rodgers Dance Party was held Aug.19. at Martha Clara Vineyard in Riverhead, featuring Nile Rodgers and Chic along with AVICII and Adam Lambert.

Event organizers said approximately $50,000 in proceeds will be going directly into the AFTEE East End Fund and nonprofit organizations from the five East End townships can apply to receive grants from the fund.

The fund will be administrated by the Long Island Community Foundation, a nonprofit that works as a philanthropic advisory service, said Claudia Pilato, executive committee member of AFTEE.

WPPB Radio, the nonprofit that founded AFTEE, also received $5,000, and a small amount of additional funding has been put aside to be used toward planning next year’s event, according to AFTEE officials.

Bridgehampton National Bank, an AFTEE representative and concert founding sponsor, presented checks to the Long Island Community Foundation, AFTEE East End Fund and to WPPB radio Tuesday morning, according to a press release.

Ms. Pilato said the LICF is looking to set up an advisory committee with one representative from each of the five townships, to help inform the foundation about the needs of the community.

“[The board would consist of] people who are not politically involved and not on the board of any nonprofit,” she said. “We’re looking for people who are interested and active, but don’t have a lot of outside influences.”

The LICF is currently working on putting an application process in place, and expects to begin accepting grant applications from East End nonprofits in the first quarter of 2014. Information on how to apply for grant funding will be made available on both the AFTEE and the LICF websites in the next 60 days, according to the AFTEE release.

Event organizers expect to raise additional funds in the coming months by auctioning off two guitars signed by concert performers. A third guitar, signed by both Roger Waters and Sting, will also be auctioned off in early 2014.

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08/29/13 6:00am
08/29/2013 6:00 AM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | The crowd dances along to the Aug. 19 concert at Martha Clara Vineyards.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | The crowd dances along to the Aug. 19 concert at Martha Clara Vineyards.

To the editor:

To the woman who wrote to complain about the dance festival at Martha Clara Vineyards. Lady, it’s one day out of your year. Young people have to party. You have the whole winter to have silence.

Brenda Casey, Mattituck

08/20/13 12:24am
08/20/2013 12:24 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Swedish DJ sensation Avicii at the All for the East End dance party at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead Monday night.

The All for the East End dance party brought more than 3,000 people out to Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead Monday night.

The show, featuring headliners Nile Rodgers and his band Chic along with ‘American Idol’ runner up Adam Lambert and Swedish DJ sensation Avicii — benefits the new non-profit organization All For The East End (AFTEE), which aims to raise funds to support the more than 1,000 not-for-profits on Long Island’s East End with grants.

Mr. Rodgers is best known as one of the founders of the dance band Chic, who brought hits like Le Freak (Aw Freak Out!), Everybody Dance and many others. He has worked as a producer with countless musical heavyweights in a wide range of genres from Madonna to David Bowie, Duran Duran and Dianna Ross. More recently, Rodgers co-wrote and played his famous guitar “The Hitmaker” on the new Daft Punk summer anthem “Get Lucky.”

Self taught and only 22 years old, Avicii has already made a name for himself with his inventive electronic music. He recently headlined the Ultra Music Festival with Madonna in Miami and has also completed a $1-million charity tour. He’s currently considered one of the biggest names in all of music.

Check out Thursday’s issue of the Riverhead News-Review for complete coverage of the event.

08/12/13 6:45am
Times/Review Newsgroup hosts legislative debate

GIANNA VOLPE FILE PHOTO | Martha Clara Vineyards will host All for the East End on Monday, Aug. 19.

In an effort to sell more tickets to All for the East End, the organizers of the charity concert being held in one week at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead announced Sunday that anyone purchasing tickets this week will receive a second admission free of charge.

The buy one, get one free promotion is being sponsored by Bridgehampton National Bank, which has agreed to donate the cost of the comped tickets.

The show — which features headliners Nile Rodgers and his band Chic along with ‘American Idol’ runner up Adam Lambert and Swedish DJ sensation Avicii — benefits the new non-profit organization All For The East End (AFTEE), which aims to raise funds to support the more than 1,000 not-for-profits on Long Island’s East End with grants. It was also announced in June that comedian Russell Peters, and electro bands Chromeo and Mystery Skulls will also be on the bill.

Tickets for the event can be purchased online at aftee.org for $149.

Mr. Rodgers is best known as one of the founders of the dance band Chic who brought hits like Le Freak (Aw Freak Out!), Everybody Dance and many others. He has worked as a producer with countless musical heavyweights in a wide range of genres from Madonna to David Bowie, Duran Duran and Dianna Ross. More recently, Rodgers co-wrote and played his famous guitar “The Hitmaker” on the new Daft Punk summer anthem “Get Lucky.”

Self taught and only 22 years old, Avicii has already made a name for himself with his inventive electronic music. He recently headlined the Ultra Music Festival with Madonna in Miami and has also completed a $1-million charity tour. He’s currently considered one of the biggest names in all of music.

At a press conference  in Juneannouncing the event, Rodgers said, “Just Avicii and Chic is a good show alone.”

“It’s going to be hard to keep some of [the other acts] off the stage with me because that’s what we do,” he said. “We’re a community that loves to support each other.”

The event will take place at Martha Clara next Monday, Aug.19.

All For the East End (AFTEE) is a new 501(c)(3) non-profit established to raise awareness of the role not-for-profit organizations play across the East End. Working with the Long Island Community Foundation, AFTEE will establish a grant process to bring in new funds and disperse them to the more than 1,000 registered 501(c)(3) organizations on the East End.

“[The event] will be the greatest dance party the East End of Long Island has ever seen,” Mr. Rodgers said. “Dance music unites, dance music is happy and [we] will bring all ages to the dance floor. I say this with a huge amount of humility, but we are really good. I guarantee you’re going to be dancing that night.”

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12/04/12 5:53pm
12/04/2012 5:53 PM

GIANNA VOLPE FILE PHOTO | Christian Helck put the finishing touches on a new sign at Martha Clara Vineyards in August. A concert will be held there next summer to benefit local nonprofits.

A newly formed fund created to boost East End nonprofit organizations received a $15,000 grant to jump-start its efforts.

The Long Island Community Foundation, a Syosset-based group that advises and provides grants to nonprofits, provided the grant to create the fund’s organizational infrastructure. The grant will also provide seed money toward All For The East End, a music festival next summer at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead to benefit nonprofits.

The goal is for the fund to financially aid East End Community efforts specifically in five towns — Riverhead, Southold, Shelter Island, Southampton and East Hampton, according AFTEE executive director Mary Morgan.

Cofounders Myron Levine and Dr. Wally Smith came up with the idea for AFTEE. Mr. Levine serves as the new fund’s president. Dr. Smith is managing director and board president of WPPB Peconic Public Broadcasting.

The two men have been talking about the need on the East End for about a year, Ms. Morgan said.

“Once they got the vision together, they moved very quickly” to lay the foundation for AFTEE and seek the seed money from the Long Island Community Foundation, she said.

The foundation started in 1978 as an offshoot of the New York Community Trust and has provided more than $130 million to nonprofits throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. But because the East End population is relatively small compared with the rest of Long Island, the founders of AFTEE saw a need for a special focus to help nonprofits here, Ms. Morgan said.

“This is wonderful news,” Mr. Levine said about the grant. “We are tremendously gratified that the Long Island Community Foundation believes in our mission and that we will become a significant new and creative source for funding and organizational support for all the East End not-for-profits, making it easier for them to concentrate on their own important missions, knowing we have their backs,” he said.

Mr. Smith thanked the Long Island Community Foundation for their support as they launched the new venture.

“WPPB’s board envisioned this unifying effort from our work as a community resource that serves all of our East End non-profits,” he said.

Dozens of sponsors have already signed up to support AFTEE.

“We are proud and excited to be part of this collaborative initiative organized by AFTEE to provide much needed awareness and funding to the nonprofit organizations serving Long Islands five East End towns,” said David Okorn, executive director of the Long Island Community Foundation. “The non-profit sector is not only a vital part of the Island’s economy, but also acts to enrich the health, well-being, and overall quality of life for all of our residents.”

The AFTEE board will be seeking guidance from the nonprofit community on the East End to inform their decisions about the needs here, Ms. Morgan said. With the help of the nonprofit community, AFTEE will be formulating a grant application to be used by organizations seeking support, she said.

Within a few weeks, AFTEE will be going out to the community seeking assistance from all businesses and professionals to support nonprofits in the area, Mr. Levine said.

“We all share an interest in protecting the singular quality of life and community that makes our five East End towns unlike any other place in the world,” Ms. Morgan said. “The excitement is growing as we approach businesses and individuals who want to participate in this new community effort.”

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09/28/12 12:00pm
09/28/2012 12:00 PM

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Claudia Pilato of Bridgehampton National Bank, All For The East End Executive Director Kerry Connaughton and President Myron Levine at the announcement of the new non-profit at Martha Clara Vineyards Thursday.

Next August, a consortium of East End non-profits will band together to launch All For The East End, an annual concert to be held at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead to benefit non-profits on the East End.

The event, to be held Aug. 19, 2013, will include an all-day music festival culminating with a major production in the evening.

The event is modeled after the successful “All for the Sea” concert series at the former Southampton College of Long Island University, and many of its organizers were affiliated with the college before it closed several years ago.

Myron Levine, who will serve as president of the organization’s board of directors, also served on the board of overseers of Southampton College and now serves on the board of Peconic Public Broadcasting, which was formerly the college’s radio station, WLIU, in Southampton.

The executive director of the new organization is Kelly Connaughton, who founded the Sag Harbor American Music Festival last year.

“There are over a thousand registered non-profits on the East End. Part of our mission is raising awareness of them,” said Ms. Connaughton at a press conference unveiling the new group at Martha Clara Vineyards Thursday afternoon.

She said the money raised by the concert will be made available to non-profits through grants issued by the Long Island Community Foundation, a Syosset-based group that advises and provides grants to non-profits.

The group hopes to net between $500,000 and $600,000 to give to non-profits after the first concert, and has already signed on Bridgehampton National Bank, which will be the lead sponsor with $50,000 donated to the event, as well as several other sponsors who have already given a total of nearly $100,000, said Mr. Levine at the press conference.

“The East End of Long Island is not all glitz and glamor as people may believe it to be,” he said. “It’s really composed of a community that’s incredibly down-to-earth and supportive.”

The group has brought in Nile Rogers Productions to produce the event and Jim Durning, who recently managed digital media for Roger Waters’ “Wall” tour, to do the marketing.

Mr. Durning said they’re planning an event for younger children in the morning, a concert for teenagers in the afternoon, and a concert for adults in the evening. He said tickets will be competitively priced.

“They’re not going to be $150 tickets,” he said.

The headliners will be announced next spring.

East End Arts executive director Pat Snyder put the group in touch with Martha Clara Vineyards, who agreed to hold the event on the 100 acres of their 200-acre Sound Avenue property that is not covered in vines.

“We want to bring the two forks together. This is going to be a great event for doing so,” said Martha Clara winemaker Juan Martinez. “We’re excited. It’s been a long time in the making.”

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