The “Reckless” Chainsmokers Concert In The Hamptons Is Now Under Investigation
After widely shared videos showed thousands attending the Southampton event, NY Gov. Cuomo called it an “illegal & reckless endangerment of public health.”
An outdoor “drive-in concert” headlined by The Chainsmokers is being investigated by New York’s health department after the event was hit with backlash for drawing a massive crowd during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday night, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted a widely circulated video of the event, which showed a crowd of people at the concert standing closely together and not wearing masks.
“I’m appalled,” Cuomo wrote. “The Department of Health will conduct an investigation. We have no tolerance for the illegal & reckless endangerment of public health.”
Newsday reported that during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Cuomo said the event “was a gross violation of common sense. It was grossly disrespectful to fellow New Yorkers.”
The Saturday night concert, advertised as a socially distanced “tailgate” show, was held in New York’s affluent Southampton community on Long Island.
Electronic music duo, The Chainsmokers, whose names are Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, headlined the show at Nova’s Ark Project as part of “The Safe & Sound” concert series.
Video and photos taken at the concert circulated online and received a wave of backlash—specifically a video posted on Instagram by founder and CEO of Disruptor Records, Adam Alpert, of the crowd from the stage.
Alpert said the event drew more than 3,000 people and 600 vehicles, including those who paid upwards of $25,000 for “20x20 parking spots” to maintain social distancing. However, video and photos show people standing closely together in front of the stage.
NowThis News has reached out to Alpert for comment.
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker reportedly wrote a scathing letter to Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman saying he was “greatly disturbed” by Saturday’s “drive-in concert.” He also reiterated that New York has been under a state of emergency since early March and that Gov. Cuomo’s executive order that limits non-essential gatherings is still in effect until at least August 20.
“I am at a loss as to how the Town of Southampton could have issued a permit for such an event, how they believed it was legal and not an obvious public health threat,” Zucker wrote.
Schneiderman on Monday told a local East Hampton news outlet, The Independent, that “organizers deviated from the plan” put in place.
“They opened up a VIP pit area and that was where most of the problems were,” he added.
NowThis News has reached out to Schneiderman’s office for comment.
“After last night’s trial run, I would not recommend a repeat,” Southampton Town Police Chief Steven Skrynecki said, according to the Southampton Press.
Despite the event’s website stating that attendees would be required to follow “all social distancing guidelines,” viewing the performance next to their cars in a “controlled and safe environment,” the swarm of concertgoers rejected those guidelines.
Even after videos showed a disregard for social distancing, one resident and attendee told BuzzFeed News that “everyone was social-distancing and being responsible.” Another concertgoer said, “There were a ton of security guards making sure people weren't leaving their designated areas.”
According to screenshots of a pamphlet handed out at the event, The Chainsmokers are set to perform in Miami, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Nashville, and Chicago. Both Florida and California are experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases, specifically in Miami (dubbed an epicenter for the virus) as well as LA County.
As of Tuesday afternoon, The Chainsmokers have not publicly addressed Saturday’s concert or the backlash that followed.