Lately there have been lots of recent developments on Long Island that has made me conclude that the future is certainly bright for live music. Among the planned festivals out in the Hamptons this August, and the purchase of Huntington’s old IMAC Theatre, Nassau County has one major hurdle that we need to overcome, one that could prove vital for cultural expansion on Long Island.
Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp
As some of you may know, for the past few years New York Islanders owner Charles Wang has been appealing to the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County about his plans to redevelop Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the Islanders’ home since their inception in 1972. Plans for the area include the renovated Coliseum, a minor league baseball field, a convention facility, hotels, restaurants, offices and some residential areas. Should the August 1 referendum pass, Nassau County’s future will be a bright one. Camoin Associates, an economic development research firm, projects that while the area is under construction 1,515 new jobs will be created, and in the first year the arena is operational, there will be 3,040 permanent jobs. This plan is expected to generate $1.2 Billion for Nassau County. County taxpayers are guaranteed a return of 11.5% (a projected $14 million) generated from all events at the Coliseum. I’d expect a slew of concerts, sporting events, conventions and more.
However, if the referendum does not pass, Wang says he will move the Islanders away from Long Island when their lease is up in 2015—a devastating blow to the county not only financially, but culturally as well. The county is expected to lose $243.4 million annually, lose 2,660 jobs, and the coliseum will remain a vacant wasteland, a shadow of its former self and a sad scar to remind us Nassau County folks that people on Long Island really don’t seem to care anymore. I urge all Nassau County residents to vote yes on August 1, the future of a historic team, a great coliseum and thousands of jobs are at stake.
the vacant IMAC in Huntington, now under construction
In other news, the town of Huntington has a brand new theater opening their doors this fall. Paramount Theatre, LLC has purchased the location of Huntington’s old IMAC (Inter-Media Arts Center) and signed a deal with Live Nation to book acts there. The first confirmed show is the Pixies on November 5. It is great news to hear about a new venue on Long Island; I feel it is exactly what we need, and what better place than the ever-colorful town of Huntington.
It seems that once again promoters are starting to test the waters with large scale music festivals out on eastern LI this summer. What I believe is the first major attempt at a LI fest since the failed Field Day in 2003, Escape to New York Fest will be held on the Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton, August 5-7. It is interesting to note that the Shinnecock Nation, who at one point was in talks of opening a hotel and casino on site at Nassau Coliseum, is starting to utilize their territory for events such as this. Escape to New York, which was organized by the people who put together the Secret Garden Party, one of the UK’s best annual independent music festivals, appears to be testing the waters with a modest, but certainly not unimpressive lineup which includes the likes of Patti Smith, White Rabbits, Best Coast, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, and more.
One weekend later, the Music To Know Fest in East Hampton features Vampire Weekend, Bright Eyes, Matt & Kim, Cold War Kids, M. Ward and plenty others. It is very refreshing to see promoters take another stab in giving Long Island a chance to have festivals. I hope they both are relatively successful and hope for many more in the years to come.
That’s all the news I’ve got for now, in the mean time, please feel free to enjoy the two Dinosaurs in Vietnam Compilations I put up on the BandCamp page. Compilation 3 is due this Fall. And remember please vote yes August 1!!