In late July, Digital Music News was first to report that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had ordered the Department of Health to investigate a seemingly non-socially distanced Chainsmokers gig in the Hamptons. Now, the show’s promoters are facing a $20,000 fine.
The charity performance in question took place on Saturday, July 25th, from Southampton. About 600 vehicles, presumably holding around 2,400 fans, turned up for the gig, which promoters billed as a socially distanced drive-in show. To be sure, organizers reportedly spaced attendees’ cars apart (throughout the 100-acre Nova’s Ark Project), took temperatures upon arrival, and even required each concertgoer to stay within a 300-square-foot area surrounding his or her automobile.
Nevertheless, video later showed that guests exited these designated areas and congregated before the Chainsmokers stage, interacting and dancing largely without adhering to social-distancing guidelines. Responding to one of the short clips on Twitter, an outraged Governor Cuomo said that he was “appalled” and ordered the aforementioned investigation.
Similarly, New York’s 56th governor unveiled the results of the probe in a tweet, recently writing: “Following an investigation into the Chainsmokers concert in the Hamptons this summer, the promoters will be fined $20,000 for violating public health law.”
Cuomo also took aim at Southampton – whose business owners previously decried the increased state-level scrutiny they began receiving after the show – specifying that it “cannot approve permits for group gatherings without State approval.”
Responses to the governor’s tweet announcing the fine appear to fall into three main categories. First, some are praising the move and criticizing those who participated in the July concert. Others yet are expressing the opinion that the fee doesn’t go far enough. And a third but equally vocal group is maintaining that the fine – as well as New York State’s relatively stringent lockdown measures – represent an abuse of power.
Building upon the latter sentiment, a multitude of individuals and businesses have pushed back against the state’s controversial ticketed event ban, which first made headlines in late August. Under the New York State Liquor Authority-implemented regulation, “licensed on-premises establishments” including bars, restaurants, and clubs can host “only incidental music” – and not “advertised and/or ticketed shows.”
The SLA quickly doubled down on the rule, stating that it’d been in effect since the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset. And musicians, for their part, promptly fired back with a petition and a firmly worded lawsuit.
Elsewhere in The Empire State, authorities have continued their crackdown on prohibited events, including a “floating nightclub” that resulted in multiple arrests and a rave beneath Brooklyn’s Kosciuszko Bridge.