I kicked off August with a festival – the inaugural Escape2NY three day music and arts fest took place on the Shinnecock Tribe’s Sovereign land near Southhampton on Long Island. Yes. I flew 3,000 miles for a festival. Was I out of my mind? Have I time and money in abundance? No. But I am a big fan of multi facteted festivals , and had met one of Escape’s producers Rocco Gardner earlier in the year and knew he was in cahoots with festival entrepreneur /bon vivant Fred Fellowes – famed for his Secret Garden Party and other fun filled events on the UK festival circuit. So I felt confident that the music , art and aesthetic would be right but would it attract the crowds to create the communal good vibes??
First of all – the location. The main reason I went was that I had two festival buddies to go with both of whom had family in this part of the world – Lisa in Cape Cod and Adrien in Long Island. I hadn’t been to Long Island (or LI as the locals call it) before but remembered a trip to Cape Cod with a mixture of nostalgia and bemusement. My host at the time told me she had been abducted by aliens for sexual experiments !! This caused me to feel a) worried that I was staying with a nutter and b) concerned that maybe she was the sane one and I would be the alien’s next victim.
Fortunately Lisa has never mentioned extra terrestrial activity in all of the 15 years I have known her so I was happy to have her as my gracious Cape Cod guide. The beaches and ambiance of the Cape are very relaxing and the verdant scenery a tonic for this Anglo Irish lass.
Lisa drove us through the Cape to get the ferry to Long Island plus a further two small ferries to hop across Shelter Island and finally to our destination of Montauk, Long Island where we met our third Festival buddy Adrien . Unfortunately she had recently broken her foot but was determined not to let her crutches get in the way of having a good time and she and her family were wonderful hosts to Lisa and I.
We celebrated our arrival with champagne and a local fish-centric dinner , and I tried my first Mudslide – an alcoholic ice- creamy drink which I can thoroughly recommend. Hic!
We slept in Adrien’s cousin Tommy’s luxurious subterranea cinema/ guest quarters and awoke rather the worse for wear , making the trafficky drive from Montauk to Southampton seem endless.
Luckily there was no traffic to get to the festival and we were able to park right beside the site – which was a good thing given our hop along friend.
The first person I went up to ask where I could find Rocco was none other than Fred Fellowes and his wife, both relaxing in the wooded area of the festival. After a chat about the event, burning man (where they got married last year) etc , Lisa and I toured the site – which didn’t take long as it wasn’t a huge area and there was hardly anyone there! We walked through a non alcohol area which was where the Shinnecock Indians and other tribes folk were making food and selling their wares.
The crowd grew a bit as the day progressed but given Patti Smith was the headliner I was surprised there was not more people there. I think that part of the reason is that it’s a new event and the boutique festival as a ‘genre’ is still in its nascent phase in the US. I also discovered split support from the locals – some snooty Hamptonites were downright racist about the event, being peeved that the Shinnecock’s (who don’t pay tax) were making money out of Escape2NY while the other hipper more liberal locals (some of whom were Woodstock veterans) were thrilled about the festival.
The pic in blue is of Lisa enjoying the quietude of the Braindrop scuplture…
The crowd was a mix of Brits, ludicrously attractive PYT’s (good genes these Hamptonites) and bemused middle aged locals who had been given free tickets by the organizers but were rather non plussed by the whole affair.
Filigar (lovely lads that I met in Austin) got the crowd dancing ,
a large Toad cum mobile disco , a Panda Pit ( literally a pit full of cuddly panda toys) , the Rose petal pit, the relaxing Braindrop sculpture , cocktail bar made of washing machines, Guerilla Science teaching me about sound waves ,
The Hot Sardines cabaret at the after party, but most of all spending time with my pals Lisa and Adrien and enjoying the east coast landscape!
Unfortunately the event was cancelled on Sunday due to the threat of bad weather and the Chief of the tribe not wanting the land ruined by lots of feet churning up the muddy ground of the reservation – I really hope that this and the less than capacity crowds don’t deter the organizers from doing this again next year…
The Psychedelic Furs were great! I’d forgotten how many great tunes they’d written and it was brilliant to see a veteran band in such jovial good form after Patti Smith’s acerbic punk spitting performance the night before – you can still be punk/ new wave and have fun Patti! Or maybe your idea of having fun is hurling scorn at the festival goers and producers?? Not very cool for a Buddist. Go ring your Tibetan bowl and chill out before you grace another stage with your venomous spit Ms Smith.