The Bonnaroo NE festival, which was scheduled to take place August 8-10 at Enterprise Park (sound familiar?) in Riverhead, NY, has been cancelled. The event was to be held at the same venue as the Field Day festival and would have featured Tom Petty, The Dead and Bob Dylan, to name a few. As we all now know, Suffolk County officials refused to issue the necessary permits just three days before Field Day was scheduled to take place, causing a shitstorm that ended in the event being moved to Giants Stadium. There was also something to do with Grasshopper Sparrows - they're rare, they hang out in Riverhead, and they like to get it "on" during the summer months. With valid concerns regarding their ability to secure similar permits, the organizers of Bonnaroo NE have decided to cut their losses and pull out completely.
A letter posted on the event's official website reads in its entirety as follows:
We have been excited by the potential of bringing the Bonnaroo Festival
experience to other regions of the country. In late 2002, we began to
focus on creating Bonnaroo NE in Riverhead, NY, on Long Island. For
several months, we have been engaged in dialogue and planning with
community leaders and representatives of regulatory agencies to
carefully address all of the issues relating to the successful staging
of the festival.
During the past few weeks, we have closely watched the developments
surrounding the organizational and permitting process for another
festival - Field Day - scheduled for the same site on the weekend of
June 7 and 8. This process culminated with the denial of Field Day's
permits and the cancellation of the festival at this site only 2 days
before it was scheduled to open.
Planning for an event of such magnitude as Bonnaroo NE requires the
highest level of cooperation and commitment from everyone involved in
order to achieve success. We have investigated and analyzed the
circumstances surrounding the cancellation of Field Day, as well as the
atmosphere which the cancellation has created. After careful
consideration, we are disappointed to announce that it is impossible
for us to proceed and we must cancel Bonnaroo NE. We have determined
that it would be irresponsible to the artists, to the festival goers,
to citizens in the community, and to ourselves to move ahead with our
plans given the circumstances that now exist.
Because of the extraordinary amount of planning required for a festival
such as Bonnaroo, we cannot re-schedule Bonnaroo NE for another
location this year.
We would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to try to make
Bonnaroo NE a reality - our incredible staff; the artists, agents, and
managers who had agreed to perform; those on Long Island who shared the
vision; and the many fans who purchased the tickets.
All ticket holders will automatically be issued a full refund. There is
no need to contact us. It may take a few days for your refund to be
fully processed by your credit card company or bank and appear on your
This decision has absolutely no impact on the Bonnaroo Music Festival
2003 in Manchester, TN, which will take place this weekend. Artists
performing include the Dead, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Widespread
Panic, the Allman Brothers Band, James Brown, Emmylou Harris, and many others. The festival is completely sold out.