New Riverhead concert plans took AFTEE members by surprise

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. 

Ms. Pilato served as one of the lead volunteer organizers for last year’s concert.

She said plans for another concert in 2014 were stalled only because the group was still working on resolving some contractual issues with Nile Rodgers Productions from last year.

The AFTEE group, she assured, is still very much intact.

“We’re just getting ready to take applications for grants,” she said. “And information on that will be coming out next week.”

The new festival planned for this August would also be run by Nile Rodgers Productions. The plan was pitched to the Riverhead Town Board Thursday by Dennis McDermott, the owner of The Riverhead Project restaurant who also happens to be an AFTEE board member.

“We’re not AFTEE,” Mr. McDermott told the board. “We’re sort of, ‘Son of AFTEE.'”

Mr. McDermott later said he hadn’t realized there were issues that needed to be ironed out between the production company and AFTEE, which planned last year’s concert featuring Adam Lambert and DJ legend Avicii to raise money for nonprofit groups across the East End.

“I’m on the board of AFTEE and it was my understanding that AFTEE wasn’t going to move forward with a concert because we were focusing our attention on other forms of raising money,” he said. “Nile Rodgers Productions and Nile Rodgers himself enjoyed Martha Clara and enjoyed Riverhead and wanted to continue the momentum from last year.”

Despite the misunderstanding, Ms. Pilato said AFTEE is now looking to somehow get involved in the concert events this August.

“I’m hoping we will ultimately be able to work in collaboration,” she said.

That was something Mr. McDermott seemed to welcome.

“We are all very community minded,” he said. “Obviously, AFTEE is nothing but community minded since it’s a not-for-proft organization raising money for other not-for-profit organizations. I really respect everything that AFTEE’s done.”

Nile Rodgers Production and AFTEE could not have made last year’s event such a success without each other’s hard work and dedication, he said.

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