New York health authorities will investigate a Hamptons charity concert opened by Goldman Sachs chief David Solomon and headlined by the Chainsmokers after footage showed crowds of partiers, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo said he was appalled by “egregious social distancing violations” seen in videos of the Saturday night event in Southampton. “We have no tolerance for the illegal & reckless endangerment of public health,” Cuomo said, noting the Department of Health will lead the inquiry.
The event was held on a field Saturday night and billed as the “Safe & Sound drive-in concert” with attendees expected to enjoy the music by their cars and in designated spots. About 2,000 people turned up for the performance with an opening set by Goldman’s chief executive officer, who moonlights as DJ D-Sol, and the Chainsmokers as the main act.
Videos shared by revelers appeared to show groups gathering near the stage. Some concert-goers without masks congregated outside cars to party with friends. Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman was also one of the performers at the event, and Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren was emcee.
A representative for the organizers declined to comment, and a spokesman for Goldman declined to comment on Solomon’s behalf.
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New York was once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. before it eased there and spread to other regions. Officials have been cautiously reopening the state.
The organizers, In the Know Experiences, had pledged to abide by local and state health standards. They set up temperature checks, arranged for crews to clean portable toilets every 10 minutes and made frequent announcements about wearing masks when moving around the venue.
About 500 cars were parked in spots that cost as much as $25,000, with the top tier including an air-conditioned RV and private bathroom. Masks were encouraged, but not required, next to vehicles, according to an email sent to ticketholders.
The rare chance to party drew socialites, financial professionals and other notables, such as the Winklevoss twins. Altogether, a couple of thousand people flocked to the event, dancing on the grass and the tops of vehicles.
“Standing up there and watching the sunset, looking out over this huge field of cars and people on their cars, it was absolutely beautiful,” Solomon said Monday in an interview before Cuomo’s announcement. “The group that put this together did an incredible job in a difficult environment. If we work together and are thoughtful, we can do things that feel more normal and allow us to live with this virus safely.”
Seth Kaplan, co-founder of In the Know Experiences, had said it was a trial run for concerts his firm will produce in Miami and other locales. Any profits from the Hamptons event will be donated to No Kid Hungry, Southampton Fresh Air Home and Children’s Medical Fund of New York.
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