A drive-in performance by The Chainsmokers that was intended to raise money for charity instead turned into an EDM-centric public health controversy when some members of the crowd were spotted on video not appearing to follow social distancing protocols.
Taking place in the posh New York enclave of Southampton on July 25, the event made national headlines after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for an investigation into the show by the New York Department of Health. “I am appalled…We have no tolerance for the illegal & reckless endangerment of public health,” Cuomo wrote in an announcement that the investigation would take place.
Cuomo on Oct. 14 announced the results of this investigation: a $20,000 fine for show promoters In the Know Experiences. Furthermore, the town of Southampton is no longer able to approve permits for group gatherings without approval from the state.
“As I said immediately following reports of this event, it was an egregious violation of the critical public health measures we have had in place since the beginning of this pandemic to protect New Yorkers from COVID-19,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement. “We will continue to hold people and businesses accountable for their actions and the local governments must enforce the rules or else we will hold them accountable as well.”
The July show happened at a 100-acre outdoor sculpture park in The Hamptons, with tickets running between $1,250-$25,000 and proceeds going to a variety of charities. The opening acts included Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, who DJs under the name D-Sol.
According to the governor’s office, the biggest issue came with the area in front of the stage where attendees were seen in groups. “Critically,” Cuomo’s office continues in its statement, “the promoter’s Special Events Application omitted reference to a designated ‘friends and family’ section where concertgoers could freely congregate and where mask-wearing was not enforced.”
“The video that everyone is talking about was taken from an angle that doesn’t properly convey how careful we were to follow the guidelines created by the CDC,” In the Know Experiences told Billboard in July. “We did everything in our power to enforce New York’s social distancing guidelines and collaborated with all state and local health officials to keep everyone safe.”
The show’s promoters have declined to comment on this latest development. The Chainsmokers have also not released any statements regarding the show.
See Gov. Cuomo’s tweet below:
NEW: Following an investigation into the Chainsmokers concert in the Hamptons this summer, the promoters will be fined $20,000 for violating public health law.
Further, the Town of Southampton cannot approve permits for group gatherings without State approval.
— Archive: Governor Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) October 14, 2020