Spinning records on that sultry night in the Hamptons: DJ D-Sol, better known as David Solomon of Goldman Sachs. Among the thousands paying up to $25,000 to attend the outdoor concert: the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler, and the hedge fund mogul Kenneth Griffin.
The payoff for the charities that were promised to benefit: all of $152,000.
Safe & Sound, as the July event was called, has gone down as the most tone-deaf musical moment of the Hamptons’ Summer of Covid. State health officials launched an investigation after Governor Andrew Cuomo excoriated the organizers and well-heeled revelers for “egregious social-distancing violations.”
But the night’s real surprise turns out to be the sums that were raised for charity.
To some, $152,000 is very un-Hamptons-esque. This, after all, is where a beachfront estate originally built for the Ford family was recently listed for $145 million.
“I never would have gone if I knew how little it would be,” said Daniel Tannebaum, one of the Manhattan residents who’s been spending more time at the beach since lockdown, working remotely for a management-consulting firm.
‘Sense of Relief’
Others find $152,000 a fair amount considering the expenses of putting on such an event, and the scrutiny that has created legal and crisis-management issues as well as potential government fines.
“I feel a little sense of relief,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who was born in Montauk and has lived on the East End full-time for more than 30 years. “I had the fear it would be zero.”
The same night as the concert, a fundraiser for All Star Code honoring Robert Smith — held virtually rather than at an oceanfront house in East Hampton — raised $700,000, while Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s gala, with about 35 micro parties at people’s homes, brought in $750,000 the following week.
Granted, the Safe & Sound “Drive-in Fundraiser Experience” was not a benefit organized by a non-profit. It was put on after months of lockdown by for-profit companies to present live music, modified for Covid, in the style of a music festival (complete with Red Bull, tequila and CBD oil). In a summer with few such happenings, it was an opportunity for people to have fun and raise some money for good causes.
Attendees at the Water Mill event were supposed to stay near their cars in socially-distanced splendor while the EDM duo the Chainsmokers performed after warm-up acts by Solomon (the Goldman chief executive officer moonlights as a DJ) and Schneiderman and his band.
Publicity materials specified that “all profits” would go to three charities: Southampton Fresh Air Home, which runs a camp on the East End for disabled New York City kids; Children’s Medical Fund of New York, which supports a Long Island hospital; and No Kid Hungry, a group that works nationally to get meals to low-income children.
This component helped some guests decide to buy their tickets. “We don’t go to splashy fundraisers, but the combination of Covid, charity and Chainsmokers seemed like a great reason to go out,” Tannebaum said.
But exactly how much money goes to the charities, in this type of set-up, was going to be almost anyone’s guess. The day before the event, Seth Kaplan, co-founder of In the Know Experiences, said they didn’t plan to disclose the amount going to charity.
When Bloomberg requested the information afterward, a spokesman provided the $152,000 figure, adding that an additional $90,000 of personal protective equipment also was distributed and about $575,000 was spent locally to put on the event.
“Our hope was to have a safe and enjoyable event during a difficult time and to raise some money for local charities, create jobs for the entertainment and events industries, and help local businesses,” said spokesman Joe DePlasco of Dan Klores Communications, who represents event producers In the Know Experiences and Invisible Noise. He added that neither took fees.
Southampton Fresh Air Home got $20,000, according to Executive Director Thomas Naro, while representatives of No Kid Hungry and Children’s Medical Fund declined to disclose the amounts received. No Kid Hungry said its contribution included Solomon’s performance fee, and the Children’s Medical Fund said its amount included that of the Chainsmokers.
–With assistance from Sridhar Natarajan.
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