Following last year's buzz around the Escape to New York music fest, complete with glamping and a killer line up, we were pretty excited to hear that the Escape team jumped on the Montauk hipster bandwagon. Prior to the event very little information was released; there was no concrete line up available to the public, no clothing vendors were publicizing their future presence at the festival, and there seemed to be a lack of buzz around the fest. Regardless, we were still looking forward to a low key day of hanging poolside at Sole East, listening to DJs and taking in the activities that were promised, and boy, were we underwhelmed.
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Arriving at the gates on Saturday afternoon we were confused as to why the property was so quiet. When we think music festival, we think thumping music, throngs of people and a general sense of carelessness everywhere. Once inside the gates we were greeted by....no one. Well, that's not totally true, there was an arts and crafts table where a three year old was crafting some sort of tie dyed sheet.
Making a beeline for the bar, we passed a DIY clam station. I've seriously never seen anything like it in my life; these dudes were just going at a stack of clams with a knife and bare hands. Once we got our drinks from the indoor bar, we decided to make some friends, one of whom was a performer at the festival. Another first: the musician practically begged us to attend his set, which attracted exactly four people.
Rocco Gardner, the founder of the Escape Empire stated that he wanted to keep the festival small, so as to not piss off the town and to make it a more intimate event. He told East Hampton Patch that “It doesn’t have to be a massive event to be a massive success,” adding that "this time around, the intent was size management and a family friendly event."
Other than poolside DJs like Albert Hammond Jr and Michaelangelo L'Acqua and musicians playing guitar in the garden, there were clothing vendors; an assortment of tees from The Whalebone Collective, some pricey vintage pieces from A Little Wicked in the East Village and Rica swimsuits. There were also synchronized swimmers, matching not only their moves, but their retro red swimsuits and flowered swim caps as well.
Perhaps we had way too high of expectations for the festival, set after last years wacky event. I mean check out these pics, and these ones too. Without a permit and with expectations of only 500 attendees, Escape To Montauk did what they could as a "boutique" music festival. Although from here on out, I think we'll be sticking with just authentic music fests.