Radiohead/Beasties rock fest may be scrapped. Authorities deny permit for next weekend's Field Day festival on Long Island

By Gary Susman
Updated May 28, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Beastie Boys really do have to fight for their right to party. The Field Day rock festival, which the Beasties, Beck, and Radiohead were to have headlined on June 7 and 8 on New York’s Long Island may be scrapped because local authorities have denied promoters a permit, citing crowd control concerns. As of late Tuesday, the promoters were hoping to get an emergency town meeting called to work out a deal with local police over security at the overnight-camping festival, which was to have drawn 50,000 fans to a park in Suffolk County, 70 miles east of New York City.

On Tuesday, Long Island newspaper Newsday reported that county health officials had denied the permit because it wouldn’t be able to gather enough police from area towns to patrol the festival, at Enterprise Park in Calverton, N.Y., and that the local council meeting at which promoters could appeal the decision wouldn’t take place until two days after the scheduled date of the concert. As if that weren’t enough, Newsday reported that a local environmental group, the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, was suing promoters because they had allegedly failed to do a proper environmental impact study on the possible harm that 50,000 camping concertgoers might inflict on Enterprise Park’s wildlife.

As of late Tuesday, a Field Day publicist told that the festival was not being canceled. ”We are moving ahead with efforts to keep the Field Day Music Festival on track,” Field Day executive Producer Andrew Dreskin said in a statment. ”This notice of denial was premature and we are continuing to work closely with the town of Riverhead [the governing municipality] and Riverhead Police with ongoing meetings. Obviously we are disappointed by this decision, but it appears to be based more on procedural issues than substantive problems. We believe we can resolve this issue quickly so that we can stage a festival that benefits the town, the county and a world wide audience that seeks to come to Calverton.”

The Bonaroo North East festival is supposed to take place at the same venue in August, but Suffolk County Bureau Of Public Health Protection chief Bruce Williamson told that organizers of that event still have plenty of time to come up with security plans.