Organizers Defend Chainsmokers Concert

The Chainsmokers concert at Nova’s Ark. Rob Rich/

The organizers of the “Safe & Sound” drive-on concert featuring the Chainsmokers in Bridgehampton, which has drawn the ire of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state health commissioner, say they did their best to enforce social distancing guidelines.

In a statement on behalf of In The Know Experiences and Invisible Noise, the organizers said the fundraiser followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines — even though videos shared on social media show a crowd of people directly in front of the stage as if it was a pre-pandemic concert.

Cuomo has said in a Tweet Monday night, “I am appalled.”  The videos show “egregious social distancing violations,” he said. State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker has begun an investigation, demanding answers from Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who played with his band as an opening act. He said the organizers deviated from their approved and permitted plan by opening a VIP area in front of the stage.

“We collaborated with all state and local health officials to keep everyone safe, create awareness for local businesses, provide work to over 350 people who have been unemployed as a result of the pandemic and to bring some joy into people’s lives during these difficult times,” the organizers wrote.

Guests received instructions to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms by checking their temperature daily for two weeks leading up to the event, the organizers said. Those in attendance were asked to disclose if they had tested positive for the virus or if they were in contact with anyone who tested positive within the last two weeks, according to the organizers.

When concert-goers arrived, each had their temperatures taken and were given complimentary face masks before driving to their designated 20-by-20-foot parking space. They were instructed that they could not leave their spots for any reason other than to use the restroom facilities provided on the grounds.

“Announcements and reminders were made every 30 minutes from the main stage, and security guards regularly patrolled the area to encourage mask wearing and promote social distancing guidelines,” the statement continued.

Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren, who emceed the event, said late Monday night, that as he addressed the crowd early in the evening from the stage, “I was very clear that our country had over 1,000 deaths yesterday (as in Friday) and that tonight we need to do our part and to wear a mask and remain in the designated area.”

The event organizers claim they followed all “proper and current protocol,” including positioning hand sanitizing stations throughout the open grounds and sanitizing the restrooms every 10 minutes. Security also enforced the wearing of masks both in and out of their designated areas.

The organizers also mentioned contact tracing, but did not explain it any further.

The event raised money for No Kid Hungry, Southampton Fresh Air Home and Children’s Medical Fund of New York — though they have not said exactly how much went to each charity.

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