East End groups planning concert for summer

Guests enjoy a variety of wines in the Guests enjoy a variety of wines in the tasting room at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead. (Sept. 1, 2012) Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

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A group of East End not-for-profit organizations is hoping to re-create the past with a large one-day concert at a Riverhead vineyard next summer that organizers hope will attract 5,000 people and raise at least $500,000.

"To be successful, we really need to sell out," said Kelly Connaughton, executive director of the All for the East End event, to be held at the Martha Clara Vineyard on Aug. 19. "This will be more like a festival, a daylong event."

Concert details and ticket prices have not been set.

Southampton College, when it was a part of Long Island University, raised more than $8 million during 10 years of one-night concerts before the school was closed in 2005. One of the most successful events -- a performance by Jimmy Buffett -- brought in $1.3 million.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter has held preliminary talks with organizers about their plans and said he sees no major problem, providing all the details -- crowd and traffic control, and site plans -- meet town standards.

"It's a really interesting concept, but they're going to have to apply for a permit," Walter said. "People in this town are used to rolling with the punches with all our fairs and festivals."

On Sunday the annual Riverhead Country Fair took place in the downtown Riverhead business district, and -- despite the rain -- more than 10,000 people showed up. Police closed off parts of East and West Main Street and several roads leading to it.

The planned concert will take place on 100 acres at Martha Clara Vineyards on Sound Avenue, which regularly holds numerous large events, including fundraisers and concerts. Last week, Peconic Bay Medical Center brought 400 joint replacement patients there for a barbecue and dance.

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