Updated Feb. 2
Just weeks after getting preliminary approval of three dates in August for Beach Road Weekend in Vineyard Haven, promoter Adam Epstein has pulled the plug on the event.
“We could certainly pull it together. We could book it and have it on sale,” Adam Epstein, CEO of Innovation Arts & Entertainment, said in a conversation with The Times after the announcement was made. “In a good year, you’re taking a chance that people will or won’t buy tickets,” he said. On top of that are logistical challenges and risks based on public safety. “Until I can know and feel 100 percent confident that public gatherings, mass gatherings, are safe, I can’t be entirely 100 percent comfortable producing an event like this,” Epstein said. “Aside from what anyone else in government might tell me, my interest in public health overrides everything else.”
Epstein said the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing pandemic, particularly the slow rollout of the vaccine, contributed to the decision to postpone the three-day music festival. Beach Road Weekend had received preliminary approval for Aug. 27 to 29 at Veterans Memorial Park in Vineyard Haven. Epstein plans to go back before the select board at its next meeting to begin planning for the 2022 concert.
Beach Road Weekend enjoyed a successful first year, and had a lineup for 2020 that included Norah Jones and Beck. Epstein had also made some deals with the hospitality industry to sell packages to the event.
In deciding not to move forward with the 2021 festival, Epstein announced a new initiative for 2022 — something that he had hoped to introduce last year. Ahead of the three-day Beach Road Weekend, Epstein is planning 025Live — a first of its kind, Islandwide event meant to support the Vineyard’s music community, which has been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. 025 refers to the first three numbers of Island zip codes. According to the release, events will be held every night leading into the Beach Road Weekend dates — Aug. 22 to 25 — featuring local bands, national touring artists, “and secret shows featuring musicians scheduled to play at Beach Road Weekend.”
According to Epstein, a board for 025Live will be announced in the coming weeks. Updates will be provided at The025Live.com.
“It’s part of an effort to invigorate the local music community and bring them into this larger festival environment,” Epstein told The Times. “We all know the Island has a strong music community, but it’s lacking that sense of towns working together. I’ve seen a lot of competition between towns … and I think music can be a way for us to forget about the town boundaries and bring us all together.”
Some of the venues that used to be hotspots for the music scene are gone, Epstein said. He’s hoping to find spots in every town for performances. He envisions selling one ticket that would give customers a chance to see all of the performances.
“It’s extremely likely we’ll have events in , and I can’t think of a better time to get it off the ground than now,” he said.
Meanwhile, his promotion company will continue its foray into drive-in entertainment, providing places for movies to be shown and concerts to be held — all of them opening April 1. Innovation Arts & Entertainment will have sites in Boston, Austin, South Carolina, and one on Cape Cod. The site on the Cape has not been announced, but it won’t be in Yarmouth. That site ran afoul of an agreement the town made when it acquired the property. Epstein said two Cape towns are in the running for this year’s venue.
“The Yarmouth Drive-In turned out to be the most active live entertainment venue in North America last year,” he said. “We hosted over 60,000 people on that site, over 44 concerts. It was a fantastic site. It was a blast. It kept my staff employed. We got to work with an industry that’s just been destroyed.”
Updated with more details.