Beach Road approved for three years 

Field compaction and ‘Jaws’ discussed with select board.

Adam Epstein, promoter of Beach Road Weekend, discusses the festival during a Zoom meeting with the Tisbury select board.

Tisbury’s select board has unanimously approved Beach Road Weekend for the next three years. The 2022 concerts will be August 25–28, the 2023 concerts August 24–27, and the 2024 concerts will be August 22–25. The approval came Jan. 26, with the understanding a draft agreement would be subject to some modifications. 

Town counsel David Doneski suggested to the board and Beach Road Weekend promoter Adam Epstein one such modification would be a requirement that the concert series actually be held all three years it is allowed to be held, and that each year’s concert series taking place was a requirement to be able to hold concerts the following year. 

Epstein didn’t object to that. Epstein told the board the dates selected for the concerts are designed not to overlap with another major event in August on the Island.

“It’s always the week after the fair,” Epstein said. “We chose it strategically so it would be on a softer weekend for the hospitality industry.”

“I like the fact that it’s that weekend after the fair,” select board member Roy Cutrer said, “because the fair weekend has always been the culmination of the season, and this helps us extend our season. The longer our season, the more profitable Island businesses are.”

On the advice of Doneski, the board held off on approving alcohol licenses for the concerts. Among other things, Doneski said the one-day licenses can’t be voted on in the same manner the concerts themselves were voted on. 

Epstein repeatedly expressed how grateful he was for the multi-year approval. “It’s an honor to be able to look this far in the future with you guys,” Epstein said. “It means a lot to me. And it’s going to do great things for the festival and the town.”

Epstein said Beach Road Weekend has become one of the major events of the season on the Vineyard. 

“After three years of really hard work — yours, ours, my team here, and a ton of vendors and local staff — we’ve been successful in establishing Beach Road as an exceptional Vineyard event on par with the Ag Fair, the Oak Bluffs fireworks, the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival — all the iconic events on the Island,” he said.

Epstein forecast the concert series was a few weeks away from selling out the 2022 dates, a significant departure from the $1.5 million loss it endured the first year. 

“It’s incredibly exciting to be sitting eight months away from this event, knowing that we’ve achieved the sales goals we need to actually reach a point where we are covering our costs, including the significant amount of money we pay the town of Tisbury for services as well as for the rent for the park,” he said. “And now we’re getting to a point where we can actually enhance that, and try to continue to grow the funding that we can put back into the town that hosts us and the town that I live in.”

Epstein told the board he had long had the goal of a revenue-sharing deal with the town. To that end, he said, he transformed the concert series into a nonprofit with goals that include supporting entertainment and recreational activities on the Vineyard.

“Direct to the community funding,” he called it. The high school music program, the men’s softball league, and youth soccer are or will be recipients of the nonprofit’s generosity, he indicated. 

“We have programs for environmentally friendly initiatives at the festival to reduce our impact on that site,” he said. “So we of course use food composting; we do recycling; we have no single-use plastics; the festival site is walkable from the ferry, so we don’t encourage people to park; we have incentives for people to ride bicycles to the festival, including free parking and a discount card [for all] food and beverages or merchandise bought at the festival, and we also of course help with traffic control in Tisbury by paying for officers to staff at Five Corners …”

Epstein also said Beach Road Weekend has partnered with 15 hotels, and those hotels have sold more than $1.5 million worth of rentals.

“I just wanted to let everybody know for the record that I have not participated in your program,” select board chair Jeff Kristal said. Kristal and his wife, finance committee member Jynell Kristal, run the Tisbury bed and breakfast Crocker House Inn. 

Select board member Larry Gomez, proprietor of the Greenwood House, also a Tisbury bed and breakfast, said he did not participate either. 

Epstein said he had asked both of them to participate in concert-associated lodging, but hadn’t contemplated the conflict. “I appreciate your sense of ethics,” Epstein said.

“Last year’s concert, from my point of view, was surprisingly empty of traffic,” Gomez said. He said it was indicative of an “excellent job” by the officers hired to work the concert. “And as far as noise goes, my end of town,” Gomez said half-jokingly, “I’m sorry I couldn’t hear it. Now I gotta buy a ticket.” 

“They did a great job last year,” Cutrer said. “I think that the noise control and traffic control, they did an excellent job.”

Martha’s Vineyard Commission member Ben Robinson said the last concert was scaled down, and that should be kept in mind when thinking about what will transpire in the years to come. Nonetheless, Robinson also said he appreciated the work Epstein had done.

“You’re doing everything you need to do on your end to make this work, and I think that’s good, that’s good to see,” Robinson said. “And I think that the partnership you’re building with Tisbury is good, and it feels like we’re going to have a really nice long-term thing going for us if we can do it properly and correctly, and make sure we don’t create problems that arise in the future. You’re doing an excellent job of predicting what you need to do, so I do appreciate that.”

Though Epstein hasn’t included “Jaws” in the lineup since the first year, the discussion turned to the blockbuster with ties to the Vineyard. “Jaws” is penciled in for Thursday, August 25, and will be accompanied by a symphony orchestra. 

Robinson wasn’t so sure a free showing of “Jaws” could be counted as an ongoing community contribution. “I don’t know how many times you have to see ‘Jaws’ before you want to stop seeing ‘Jaws,’ but I’m getting there,” Robinson said.

“I watched the ‘Jaws’ Fest at Owen Park years ago,” Kristal said. “I don’t think there’s ever a cap on watching ‘Jaws,’ first of all.” Kristal described watching Jaws as “magical” and “incredible,” especially when you can see a Steamship Authority ferry on the screen simultaneously with seeing one in the harbor.

In support of “Jaws,” Kristal said it drew thousands of people at Beach Road Weekend, and those people appreciated having the symphony accompaniment. “I can never get enough ‘Jaws,’ sorry,” Kristal said. “It’s either that or ‘The Godfather.’ They’re like cannolis.”

Epstein later told The Times mustering an entire orchestra and getting showing rights to the film is expensive, but “nothing worthwhile comes easy.”

He said the previous showing coupled with the Cape Symphony was very well-received. 

Robinson questioned whether the board had taken a look at what other municipalities charge for similar concerts before it agreed on a $12,500-per-day license fee for the concert. 

Kristal defended the license fee, and said the town did examine other license fees. He also said the fire chief and police chief have consulted with Epstein, and upped their duty numbers for the concert this year. 

Epstein said the concert series landscaper will prep the Veterans Memorial Park field, and return it to its original condition after the concerts are over. That landscaper, he said, will be onsite for the concerts too. 

“You can say the fields are in great shape right now,” Robinson said. “They’re not in as great shape as they have been in the past. They’ve sort of declined over the last couple years.”

Robinson said, among other things, the irrigation doesn’t work all the time. Epstein said he may have enough revenue after this year’s concerts to buy a scoreboard for the park, among other donations he said could happen. Robinson suggested he focus on the park.

“I would much rather you help the town with a long-term management of the fields,” Robinson said. “The DPW does great work, but I don’t know what training the DPW has received in turf maintenance. There is a level of training and a level of expertise that I’m not sure the town has on hand.”

Robinson said the field gets compacted, and that’s something that’s not always remedied.

“In a nutshell, as you all know, the field has had compaction in the past, and it has all been fixed,” Epstein said. “I mean, they did a restoration a few years ago — long before we ever did the concert. So compaction has happened before we ever started, and there was remediation done at the time.”

Epstein said Beach Road Weekend is willing to do its part, but all park users should contribute to the welfare of the park. “It shouldn’t be just me,” he said. “Everybody who uses that park should be part of that compaction effort.” He suggested a committee “that looks at the field,” one that involves softball, youth soccer, the festival, and anybody else who impacts the park, might be a good idea.

Robinson agreed. Robinson also said kids playing soccer is incomparable to 15,000 people at a concert.

No action was taken as far as a committee was concerned, or compaction mitigation was concerned. 

Epstein stressed to the board that Beach Road Weekend wants to “reward the town for its investment in us.” To that end, Epstein proposed “that once the festival hits profitability or generates a surplus, then 5 percent of that surplus be paid to the town of Tisbury …”

Though ideas were suggested, the “contribution components” of the agreement, as Doneski described them, were’t all concretely described in the meeting. However, Epstein later told The Times the 5 percent surplus would be money paid directly to the town. 

Beach Road Weekend also pays a $25,000 deposit on top of its daily licensing fees to cover municipal expenses like police, EMS, fire, DPW, and water department services. 

Kristal asked if the town could look forward to the Rolling Stones in the future. Epstein said the challenge would be to arrive at a ticket price that would compensate the famous band.


  1. Did I read this wrong or does Mr Robinson seem to not be happy with anything not even the movie Jaws!! Please help keep the movie as it was the high point of my friends family trip to Amityville.

    • Mr Murphy, it isn’t really about Jaws, what I said in the meeting that did not make it into the article is that maybe instead of showing Jaws again and again, perhaps use the stage and sound system to showcase some of the great local musicians on the island and have a free community concert the day before the main show. Just an idea.

  2. To Selectman Jeff Kristal, from Epstein, “I appreciate your sense of ethics.” ?????
    Mr Epstein needs to read the newspapers more often.

    • Whether it’s unpopular or not to say so, Jeff has been very vocal with me about a strict line that he was concerned about, including just putting artists and festivalgoers at his hotel.

      Hes routinely tempered my enthusiasm but stayed open-minded. its helped to provide a platform for us to build something.

      That open-mindedness has helped us learn how to work effectively in Tisbury to build a business, and to create a home were proud to live in.

  3. So far after two concerts the field was not returned to it’s original condition and I doubt it will be again this year. Is there a vaccine mandate for all performers, vendors and attendees? $$$

    • Mike, its well documented that repairs were done to fix compaction at veterans park that were created a few years before the festival had ever discussed. How many times did you complain about it then?

      What did you do to fix it?

      Please stop the hypocrisy. It’s disingenuous.

      And, now you’re suddenly worried about public safety? You gonna wear a mask while you play softball?

      As far as vaccine mandates, we have been an industry leader in safely producing events nationwide, during the pandemic. In fact, since September, weve produced around 100 shows where there were vax or negative test mandates for artists and guests.

      We will continue to follow the science and do whatever is necessary to keep people safe, just like we’ve done at every event produced on the Vineyard, or across the US since the pandemic started.

      Whats next on your grievance list? How about a little less complaining, and a little more doing?

    • If you have any evidence of the damage you repeatedly claim in these posts, please take pictures and send to our Facebook messenger. We will immediately investigate.

      If there is damage that we caused, that our professional, Vineyard based landscaper overlooked, we will pay him to get right out there and fix it, as we always have. Ill even pay for his services to meet you to discuss these allegations that you casually throw out without any regard for truth.

      We have nothing to be ashamed about because we care immensely about our town and protecting its resources.

    • As a non-profit radio station, WFUV is not able to accept advertising. As Beach Road Weekend shares a common goal as WFUV, we are proud to sponsor their programming through underwriting and donations that help them pay the high costs of operating a radio station in new york city.

      In exchange for that support, WFUV thanks us on the air.

      are you saying we should stop supporting them? Or are you saying that they should not express gratitude for our commitment to their sustainability?

      Please clarify?

  4. Whoa – Mr. Epstein is baring his teeth and claws – that is troublesome.
    The fact is, of course, that the field looked awful for a long time after both concerts – bald spots everywhere and severe compaction. You need to be paying for the year-round restoration of our field – none of it should fall on us Tisbury taxpayers.
    I wonder, are advertising signs allowed at the event? If so, remember there is a limit to the size they can be, and it is tiny.

    • Its “teeth and claws” to ask for someone to show us where the damage is? Why are you frightened of rational debate that uses fact and reason as its foundation?

      Here are the facts: Your argument makes no sense.

      The park was compacted prior to the first festival and had restoration work done before 2019. Should the others that used the park prior to 2019 and caused compaction have paid for that restoration work that was done instead of Tisbury tax payers?

      In fact, do those same users of the park, that actually caused the compaction then (prior to beach Road Weekend), and contribute to its current compaction pay anything to repair it?

      Once again, ive committed to being a part of any group that provides funding to do any restoration, but we should not be the sole entity paying for such a responsibility.

      Since you’re so concerned, why don’t you help us organize such an effort?

  5. Tisbury can’t get no satisfaction, but they try, and they try and they try!!! I’m sure The Rolling Stones have a bit of a higher standard than playing a gig in a mosquito infested swamp!!!

  6. I applaud Vineyard Haven for doing This deal with Mr. Epstein. I was at both the 2019 event and last year’s concert, both were very enjoyable experiences. Having been in both the food and beverage industry and the entertainment industry I would give Beach Road a pretty high grade for a festival in its infancy. I have also walked that field plenty, my daughter plays soccer there, I can’t say that I’ve seen any damage from the production. There will always be complaints and complainers,…

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