The Southold Town Board is mulling an informal request from former town Supervisor Josh Horton for permission to hold the second annual NOFO Rock and Folk Festival at Strawberry Fields in Mattituck, according to Supervisor Scott Russell.
It’s not certain that’s where he really wants to hold the event, however. Mr. Horton maintains that he plans to have it again at Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue, where he held the first edition of the event last summer.
Mr. Horton was at odds with the town for weeks leading up to last year’s festival, which took place without incident in July. The problem had been a discrepancy between the low number of attendees and vendors predicted on the permit application for the festival — 800 people a day — and the much larger throng predicted in public relations material sent by organizers to potential vendors. It put the expected crowd at “well over 15,000.”
The lower prediction turned out to be accurate. Mr. Horton maintained last year that the figure in the letter to vendors was a clerical error.
Supervisor Scott Russell said last week that he had received a call from Mr. Horton asking if the festival could be held at Strawberry Fields town park, a large open sports field on Sound Avenue in Mattituck where many large events are held. Unlike the Cutchogue winery, it is well removed from neighboring businesses.
“I don’t think the venue is a problem,” Mr. Russell said of Strawberry Fields at a Town Board work session Feb. 1.
Board members Vincent Orlando and Al Krupski both said they thought Strawberry Fields would be a better venue for the event.
But Mr. Horton said in a statement Tuesday that “Peconic Bay Winery is committed to hosting NOFO. There’s not much to be said until the permit process is completed.”
At the work session, Mr. Russell added that “we need the correct information on the application” but “if the scope and scale of the event is the same, I don’t see a problem.”
No formal application has been filed yet. Mr. Horton referred further questions to the winery, and did not respond to requests for further comment.
Peconic Bay Winery representatives could not be reached before presstime.