A simple idea, turned celebrity-studded, fashionista-frequented, crazy music extravaganza. No, I’m not talking about some internationally-known Manhattan event, I am talking about the upcoming MTK: Music to Know Festival taking place on August 13 and 14 at East Hampton Airport.
This event is the brainchild of Bill Collage and Chris Jones (a British ex-pat now living in Sag Harbor). These two started the business putting on this massive event, and now have a team of 40 people working to make their idea a reality. Staging, sound, lighting, every base is covered as their expert group prepares for this outdoor music festival.
“I’ve seen many things go from America to the UK” Jones said, explaining that he thought that this would be an exciting idea to transplant the opposite way. For Brits, “the question is ‘what festival are you going to?’ in the summer,” and Jones was eager to bring that same culture to the East End. With such a vibrant idea, there is no doubt that Hamptonites will take to it immediately. This event combines three ideas that really mesh well, and all of them have a large following out here—fashion, good food and great music. High-quality stores and food vendors will be at the venue while the bands perform.
The festival will feature some extremely big names in today’s music industry, including Ellie Goulding (who performed at the royal wedding), Vampire Weekend, Matt and Kim, and Chromeo. The organizers tried to choose “something that will appeal to everybody,” Jones explained. This includes musical sounds that will recall bands from past decades as well as those performers who are “banging on the underneath side of the drum, but haven’t broken through yet…We have some bands that we think are ‘music to know.’” An exclusive Dan’s Papers announcement, straight from Chris Jones: “We have just secured Gwyneth Paltrow to do a solo acoustic set for the VIP section.”
Jones expects 6,000 people at any one time to be enjoying the scene in East Hampton. The majority of tickets are selling in two-day passes (a limited number of single-day passes remained at the time of print), so he assumes that people will come and go over that time. The VIP section promises to host a number of important guests (the Olsen twins have already announced their presence at the event).
The event has gotten the Town of East Hampton on board to make sure that the weekend of August 13 and 14 is a grand success. This private-public partnership lets the “town have a say” to make sure that it’s truly a local event, Jones explained. Part of this East End focus means that the men have already, before the event has taken place, donated $100,000 to local charities. With these hard economic times, many of the 20 charities that the event has been involved with have taken a hit on their funding from the town. “This is a way of a private enterprise being able to give back to the community,” Jones said. Some of the non-profits will also have a presence at the event in order to raise even more money and share information about their groups with all of the music lovers.
This entire shindig will be held on the grounds of East Hampton Airport, a great location for its “rock star” appeal, Jones explains. For one thing, a smiling Jones said that there won’t be any problems with volume, as too much “noise there is a ‘mute’ point—excuse the pun!” And with the possibility of music performers arriving by helicopter, the unique location is perfect for this one-of-a-kind event.
Attendees with general admission tickets should proceed to the Ross School for parking. There are a limited number of VIP and pre-purchase parking options available at the site, and major public transit (including the LIRR and the Hampton Jitney) will also provide extended schedules during the festival. Additionally, for any parents out there worried about where to put their munchkins during the festival—bring them along! “We have an amazing kids’ area,” Jones told me, describing a large bouncy castle made just for MTK.
Though they have never organized a music festival before this one, the two founders of the event are already looking to the future. Jones shares that he eventually hopes to host about two or three similar festivals a year, possibly one on the North Fork and one overseas. He then wants to continue the charitable nature of the business by also hosting the same number of annual charity events. Ambitious plans for a company in only its first year of life, though with such success so far, there is little doubt that they will thrive.
But for now the hype is all about this summer’s event. The organizers just released a MTK application available for free on the iPhone. In addition to what you would expect from a concert app—a way to buy tickets, an FAQ section, artist bios—there is also a replica lighter (a flickering flame on the screen) and, incredibly, a way to snap a picture with your iPhone and then have someone touch your screen to sign the picture. That’s right, you can get your very own electronically-signed photo of your favorite performer, and immediately post it to Facebook. It’s truly incredible.
If you’re looking for the breakout event of the season, head over to MTK. You won’t be sorry.
MTK: Music to Know Music Festival, East Hampton Airport, East Hampton. Visit www.musictoknow.com for more information.