08/07/17 6:15am
08/07/2017 6:15 AM

About 700 oenophiles gathered at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead Saturday to sip wine, slurp oysters and celebrate the late men and women who have contributed to the Long Island Wine Industry.

The event, Harvest East End, is the Long Island Wine Council‘s biggest annual party and this year’s gala, dubbed “Back to Our Roots,” was a departure from past years in several ways. (more…)

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.

03/07/14 4:16pm
03/07/2014 4:16 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)

All for the East End officials were surprised to learn Thursday of an August music festival similar — yet unrelated — to last year’s AFTEE concert event at Martha Clara Vineyards, said Claudia Pilato, an executive board member for the nonprofit group.

“The executive board of AFTEE was surprised and totally unaware of this new effort being put in place for this year,” said Ms. Pilato, a vice president of marketing for Bridgehampton National Bank.  (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.