This Month’s Dueling East End Music Festivals: How To Tell Them Apart


After many stabs at hosting multi-day music festivals on Long Island (Field Day Fest, we knew you when), August 2011, at least for now, brings us two festivals happening on the East End: Escape To New York kicks off tomorrow and runs through Sunday, August 7, while the really terribly named MTK Music Festival (it’s terrible because MTK stands for the awfully haughty phrase “Music To Know”) happens on August 13 and 14. Tickets to both festivals are still available in case you’re looking for a last-minute eastern getaway. But which one should you choose? Our quickie comparative analysis of the two fests below.

E2NY: Shinnecock Indian Reservation, Southampton, N.Y.
MTK: East Hampton Airport, East Hampton, N.Y.

THE BANDS (partial list)
E2NY: Patti Smith, Best Coast, Lissy Trullie, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, the Psychedelic Furs, Au Revoir Simone, of Montreal, Mates Of State
MTK: Vampire Weekend, Bright Eyes, Matt & Kim, Cold War Kids, Chromeo, Ra Ra Riot, We Are Scientists, The Naked and Famous, The Limousines

THE DJS (partial list)
E2NY: Xaphoon Jones (Chiddy Bang), Rich Medina, DJ Rekha, Andy Rourke (The Smiths), Mister Saturday Night
MTK: None, although the music pumped through the fashion shops will probably be “curated” by someone.

E2NY: You can go “glamping”; the fancy tents that sleep four are sold out, but tepees that sleep as many as six are still available. (Bring your own sleeping bag and pillow, though.) Or you can camp on site. Although “Glamping” packages include nicer bathrooms, open bar, and “makeovers and massages on request.” What!
MTK: No on-site camping, although the web site helpfully lists parks nearby and there are eastbound trains running back to NYC each night at 10:56 p.m. (Don’t be late, or you’ll be stuck out there for a while. Trust me on this.)

THE VIBE (assumption based on web site design)
E2NY: Unlike its week-later competitor, this festival has a “manifesto.” Here is a portion of it.

• What you do, not what you see
• Who you meet, not who you see
• What you make happen, not what you watch happen.

Life is not a spectator sport.

Last time this seed was planted it grew to become the Secret Garden Party as it is now; the UKs most radical and expressive event.

Now the seed is being planted on the ancient lands of the Schinnecock Indian Nation.

Imagine a new concept for music and cultural events in the USA,
Imagine an award winning collective of event designers and programmers,
Imagine a new type of event that breaks the mold,
Imagine fine food, luxury living solutions, cutting edge music, theatre and art,
Imagine the freedom to create your own reality,
Imagine a wonderland.

In this wonderland where it would seem that seeing the bands is not all that important as experiencing them, the “dress code” is “use your imagination.” And you can get 30% off at a New York City costume shop if you say you’re attending the festival. So… use your imagination.
MTK: Remember the golden age of indie music blogs—you know, 2006? Think that, but with better clothing thanks to the “retail village,” where Mary Kate & Ashley and Madewell will hawk their wares.

E2NY: The remaining tickets for “glamping” in a tepee cost $2650 for six people. (The price goes to $1250 for two and $1950 for four.) That’s not too steep considering that it seems to include food, admission, a place to escape the costumed hordes, etc., although it might be a bit tight if everyone sleeps at once.
MTK: Accomodation-less VIP tickets are $645. Among the ameneties: The ability to drink liquor (it’s beer and wine only for the proles), “curated food service,” a room with extra fashion shows and musican performances, and free parking.

E2NY: Food provided by Silkstone, which is the group behind The Fat Radish; “culture cocktails”; “The Insanely Amazing Bloody Mary Bar” (seriously, I’m just copying these from the web site); people opining on various aspects of nerddom thanks to Guerilla Science; the chance to “engage in an immersive experience which gives the user an artistic interface to their core emotions though an EEG headset and bespoke sonic environment.”
MTK: Shopping! (Thursday Styles quote: “Fashion, [festival organizer Chris Jones] said, is expected to play a vital part in a festival envisioned as a conclave of artists and merchants who confer on one another, he said, ‘a kind of cool by association.'”) It is giving proceeds to local charities, though!

E2NY: The music lineup is a bit meh, and there’s a distinct stench of Burning Man emanating from that mainfesto and the description of the bloody mary bar. But the nerdy sideshows look like they might be fun, the dance tent will probably be super great, and the all-in-one price doesn’t seem too outrageous. (Anyone have an extra space in their tepee?)
MTK: The idea of fashion makes me break out in hives, but, hey, I miss the innocent early days of music blogging too.