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FOLD music festival draws smaller crowd on second night

Concert-goers cheer DJ Greg Cerrone on the main

Concert-goers cheer DJ Greg Cerrone on the main stage at the FOLD (Freak Out! Let's Dance!) Festival at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead, Aug. 5, 2015. Credit: Newsday/ Thomas A. Ferrara

Day two of the "Freak Out! Let's Dance!" music festival at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead, which featured performances by an eclectic group of funk-informed acts, including Duran Duran, Janelle Monae and Chaka Khan, drew a smaller crowd than the previous day but concertgoers said they were glad a music event of this size was happening on eastern Long Island.

"I think it's amazing," said Thom D'Angelo, 65, of Baiting Hollow, who owns a Honda motorcycle dealership in Riverhead. "They need to promote it better. There's not enough people here."

FOLD, which drew about 2,500 people Wednesday and 3,300 on Tuesday, has the potential to "bring people out here and get money moving out here" in Riverhead, D'Angelo said. (A FOLD spokesman said Wednesday night that organizers wouldn't have an accurate read of audience numbers for a while.)

Even though the crowds were far smaller than the 10,000 people organizers expected, festival organizer Nile Rodgers, said that he intends to bring the festival back to Riverhead next year, but acknowledged some first-year hiccups in remarks on stage Wednesday night before his band, Chic, performed.

"I know I dream big and I think big, and I probably overbooked it because we only have a few minutes each to play, because we have a curfew here," said Rodgers, who added that next year FOLD would be three nights, from Friday to Sunday. He joked, "People asked me, why did you have it on a school night?"

One band whose association with Rodgers stretches back to the early 1980s is Duran Duran, the evening's headliner, which delivered a slick mix of early pop hits like "Hungry Like the Wolf" and later-period gems like the yearning "Come Undone." The band re-entered the modern world with "Pressure Off," from its upcoming album "Paper Gods," on which the band Wednesday night was joined by Rodgers and Monae.

Wednesday proved another chance for Rodgers, a pioneering funkmaster, to demonstrate his wide-ranging and ongoing influence. An R&B-stylized version of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" segued into Chic's signature disco smash, "Let's Dance," and then into the David Bowie's same-titled hit -- all songs Rodgers had a hand in as a writer or producer. Chic closed its set with "Good Times," featuring a crowd of dancers and a belated appearance by Chuck D, frontman for the Long Island rap heroes Public Enemy. (He was scheduled to play Wednesday.) Chuck D delivered a few party-style rap lines over the song, then disappeared into the onstage throng.

Chic backed the pint-size powerhouse Monae, mingling effortlessly with her band. Monae wore one of her trademark duochromatic outfits -- tight white pants and shirt, offset by a black bow tie and suspenders -- during her four song set which included a butter-smooth version of James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)." She ended with her kinetic hit, "Tightrope."

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Earlier in the evening, Amityville hip-hop icon, Prince Paul, served as DJ to fellow hip-hopper Melle Mel, who took the crowd back to his 1980s heyday with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

As Melle Mel performed, Alicia Truesdale, 30, of Central Islip, danced with her mother on a blanket out on the grass. Truesdale, who bought tickets for both days, said she was happy she didn't buy more expensive VIP tickets because she was able to get close enough to the stage in the general admission area. "You still experience everything," she said.


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