Officials in Suffolk County, New York, have denied a mass gathering permit for the June 7-8 Field Day Music Festival, but the Beastie Boys, Beck, Radiohead, N.E.R.D. and more than a dozen other acts are hoping last-minute negotiations can save the concert.
On Tuesday (May 27), health officials nixed the permit after Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller announced that his department wouldn’t be able to safely patrol the concert, which is expected to draw 50,000 people to Suffolk County’s Calverton Enterprise Park.
On Friday, county officials determined they couldn’t authorize additional police for the show because such an act would have to be agreed upon by the Riverhead town board and the Suffolk County legislature, which won’t meet again until after the concert.
However, Field Day promoters remain optimistic that the two groups will be able convene in an emergency session to sort the matter out in time.
“We are moving ahead with efforts to keep the Field Day Music Festival on track,” a spokesperson for the event said in a press release issued late Tuesday. “This notice of denial was premature, and we are continuing to work closely with the town of Riverhead and Riverhead police with ongoing meetings scheduled for this evening. Obviously we are disappointed by this decision, but it appears to be based more on procedural issues than substantive problems. We believe we can resolve this issue quickly.”
Riverhead officials were unavailable for comment.
Not everyone opposed to the Field Day Festival cites safety concerns. Some feel that an event of such magnitude would be an environmental catastrophe. The Long Island Pine Barrens Society sued the town of Riverhead on Tuesday, claiming officials didn’t conduct a thorough environmental review before they contracted to host the show. The concert is scheduled to take place during the nesting season of the rare grasshopper sparrow, according to the environmentalists, who point out that the birds lay their eggs in the fields where Field Day is to be held.