Innovation Arts acquires two major Island festivals

Entertainment company that hosts Beach Road Weekend will put on Oyster Fest and Food and Wine Festival.

Innovation Arts and Entertainment has acquired the Martha's Vineyard Food & Wine Festival.

Innovation Arts and Entertainment, the company that brings thousands of concertgoers to the Island during the summer for Beach Road Weekend, is acquiring the Martha’s Vineyard Oyster Fest and the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival.

The news came as Innovation CEO Adam Epstein made a number of big announcements during a “business after hours” event for the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce at the Cardboard Box Wednesday evening. “It means a lot to be in front of you all. It’s emotional and hard to describe,” Epstein began. In 2019, Epstein said, his company did $40 million in annual sales. That fell to $3 million the following year, as COVID shut down most live events in Massachusetts and across the country. “That gives you an image of the impact of the pandemic on live events; it’s no more apparent than right there. We struggled, we made it through, I kept my staff on, it was important to keep us together, we are still standing,” Epstein said.

Despite the pandemic, Epstein noted some milestone successes of Innovation on the Vineyard, including solidifying a successful summer concert series, bringing international touring artists to the Vineyard to perform, and bolstering local industry in all forms. 

“We invested locally and partnered with another local business to rebuild the live music venue right across the street at the Loft,” he said. “We have created a successful three-day Beach Road Weekend music festival, which is bringing thousands of people from all different states and six countries to this Island in August.”

Epstein expressed his pride in finally being able to expand the musical offerings into the shoulder season and beyond, to elevate the Island even when the summer crowds aren’t around. With this, he announced that Innovation will acquire Oyster Fest and the Food and Wine Festival. The Food and Wine Festival will be moved from the fall to a time in May 2023, and Innovation will be looking to collaborate with Island industries to offer travel packages and tickets to festival events, all within the same point of sale. 

More than $1.5 million in hotel rooms have been reserved for Beach Road Weekend alone, and Epstein said he looks forward to creating the same sort of buzz with the other events that he will now be organizing. 

Another big announcement Epstein made was a new ongoing music event, called the Vineyard Campout. The event includes weekend-long concert events with the same band performing multiple nights at the Loft, and the audience will be staying at the Martha’s Vineyard Campground for the duration of each string of performances. The Vineyard Campout will take place each weekend in September, and Epstein anticipates eventually converting the event into a hotel-promotion event in October and November. 

Additionally, Epstein noted that the Martha’s Vineyard Concert Series is back, and will be hosting at least 30 different concerts at the Loft, the Old Whaling Church, and the Performing Arts Center, with noteworthy names like David Bromberg, Don McLean, Graham Nash, Tom Rush, and more.

As far as this year’s Beach Road Weekend goes, the festival is nearly sold out, with more than 10,000 three-day passes already sold. “Enthusiasm is everywhere. My staff and friends remind me daily how excited we are to show off the Island we love,” Epstein said. 

To date, Innovation has only been selling three-day passes, but starting in May, they will be selling a limited number of one-day passes exclusively to folks on the Vineyard. 

“Islanders get first access to them, so for two days in May, day passes will only be available in-person on the Island,” Epstein explained. Day passes available during those two days will be significantly discounted from the original online price. 

Epstein’s final announcement was that the showing of “Jaws” accompanied by the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra that kicked off the 2019 festival will return this year, but this time it will be free to the public. He asked business owners in the room to help ensure the “Jaws” event remains free in the coming years by offsetting the approximately $75,000 cost. Any donations will be made tax-deductible to the Friends of the MV Concert Series. 


“Jaws In Concert” will be held on Thursday, August 25. Beach Road Weekend takes place from Aug. 26 to 28, with the Avett Brothers headlining the Friday show, Beck headlining the Saturday show, and Wilco headlining Sunday. 


  1. Congratulations, Adam and Innovation Arts and Entertainment. I don’t know where you get the energy, Adam. I know you will do a great job with these events.

    • As long as there are portapotties—and housing, be it dorms, moldy basements, treehouses, garden sheds, or tents, to house all the burger slingers and and everyone else who serves the hungry, full bladdered, sleepy or sick throngs, who cares? What, me worry? Hold a festival and they will come. And no one will be using our ER or need medical care because, you know, there’s no housing crisis for the hospital or anyone else. Besides, people who are immune to accidents and illness don’t need medical care from ghost doctors and nurses who can’t find housing here. But festivals? We got ‘em!

      As long as Adam is fulfilling a dream that addresses a non problem of not enough $$$ or festivals, and gives the housing crisis the proverbial finger, what the hay. Imagine using one’s ingenuity and money to help solve the island’s most serious crisis. Or not. Let’s get enough enthusiastic people who service hordes to make money and we’ll pretend people like Adam don’t contribute to the housing crisis for essential island workers. But he’s very good at what he does and at convincing others that festivals ($$$) are a priority. Especially now. More festivals! Less housing! Create more need for restaurant staff who can sleep (and pee) in the bushes.

      There isn’t even a NOD to the housing crisis in this article, (except for camping in the campground, lol. In September.) What housing crisis?

      • These are not two new festivals. They have each existed and were operated by Vineyarders who were unable to continue to produce them. Had they gone under or folded, the non-profit organizations that counted on the revenue they generated would suffer.

        Both festivals will continue to support the causes they were intended to support.

        I understand that it’s easier for her to shoot first and ask questions later, but Jackie’s uninformed remarks won’t solve any problems and won’t help find any solutions.

        I have always been an open book. So, if you’d like to sit down away from the keyboard and see hard facts about what’s being done, reach out away from your keyboard.

        Or stay uninformed. But don’t pretend to know my intentions if you do.

        When you say things like you do here, you make it harder for anyone to stand up and try. Vicious comments and maligning those that you don’t know just scares people away . It’s unfriendly and inhospitable.

        Don’t pretend that you actually care about anyone . It’s clear that you are only interested in spewing grievance and hurting people you’ve never tried to get to know.

        • Instead of whining about your critics, how uninformed we are, how we don’t know you, and how we don’t understand how this is not about profits, why not use this opportunity to explain? How is a $1500 Tier III 3-day VIP pass, plus all the other tiers for Beach Road’s music line-ups not encouraging of thousands of off-Islanders to come spend on vacation packages and other profit-making schemes? There’s not an issue with making money per se, but let’s not pretend these festivals are something they are not. Why did you change the season for the Food Festival? Does May bring in more hoards than autumn? No time like the present to explain the intentions of big festivals and your intentions with them, when making money for many (non-profits) seems at stake, according to you. But maybe I do misunderstand. Hotels and restaurants and stores for tourists are not non-profit, are they? Are you? Why would anyone want to privately get answers to legitimate public criticisms and questions? “You just don’t understand” is never a good answer, especially when you are free to explain what we need to understand. Right here! Imagine that. That’s always been the case. Also, did you know islanders go off-island for great concerts and never whine that we need them on the island?

          And speaking of uninformed, islanders always have and always will be able to dance and listen to music without doing it among hordes of off islanders and vacation packages with everyone paying between $95-$1500 for the pleasure. Maybe you are less about the island than you’d like us to believe, but until you explain what benefit (aside the bucks) there is, the question remains. We’re all ears.

          There’s no misunderstanding about why many folks don’t like encouraging massive crowds with their money, traffic, and crowds, (and viruses), despite a festivals’s efforts to keep people out of the bushes (and out of our hospital that needs more staff and housing just to accommodate locals).

          • To put it another way, in my 50+ year association with Martha’s Vineyard, the Beach Road festival is the most un-vineyard-y thing I can imagine.

          • A newspaper message board is not the place for deep dives into the processes and procedures for any business.

            I am an open book and everyone’s got my email and phone number.

            If you want to actually learn about the events, then let’s meet up for coffee. There’s nothing to hide.

          • Adam, if this comment forum is good enough for you to tell me I am vicious, unfriendly, inhospitable, don’t care about anyone, and am only interested in hurting people, then surely this page is good enough to state your intentions in acquiring more festivals that bring thousands to the Vineyard. A direct answer is not rocket science nor does it require disclosing a business plan while shmoozing over coffee. A stated goal RE the benefit to island life is good enough for me. We’ve been dancing and enjoying music since forever, with or without hoards of off-islanders.

            Everyone understands what “bolstering local industry” means.

            Everyone has been impacted by the pandemic.

            Bragging about bringing thousands of people from all states and 6 different countries for 3 days in August isn’t convincing to those who can’t afford those $30 burgers, discounted tix they don’t want, don’t have secure housing, and need to go off for necessary medical care. We need teachers and police and supermarket cashiers. How do expensive, crowded festivals benefit lifeblood islanders? Musicians and artists have always flocked to the island and always will— until tourism and it’s agents and those in the building industries make this an impossible place to live— unless you’re wealthy and can throw around a few housing crumbs, including discounts to concerts.

            Are we there yet?

            I haven’t had a permanent general physician since September, after having had the same primary care doctor for over 2 decades. I and many others need that more than a concert. It sounds like an exaggeration that THOUSANDS of islanders stop to thank you. I doubt I am the only one who recognizes that the very last thing I need or want is a discounted ticket to be in crowds of people. Now, of all times. And no one loves music more than I do.

            I don’t understand why you don’t spell out your intentions— It’s easy enough to publicly explain to vicious little me where and how I’m wrong to think that crowded, expensive festivals have little-to-nothing to do with island life. I’m not the only one who questions WHY. But I’m sure lots of people enjoy huge festivals—and I’m glad some non profits can still benefit financially along with the hotels, restaurants, shops, and promoters— even during covid.

          • Jackie, this is silly to engage on a message board. I pm’d you my contact info. But the simple explanation for ticket prices is that the festival costs around $4.5 million to produce. It’s important that we offer affordable options for islanders as much as possible, so we offered over 1000 three day weekend passes for $99. Obviously $99,000 in revenue is not going to get close to meeting our break even point, so we created a bunch of very expensive vip packages to raise a large amount of revenue.

            We also have a tiered ticket price that rewards people who purchased early with three day passes for $175. We sold a few thousand tickets at that price too, and then raised the prices again to $250 for the next 1000 tickets. That process kept repeating, and The longer people waited to buy, the more expensive those tickets got. Now a three day pass is $375, and after we add sponsorship revenue and food and beverage revenue, we are close to breaking even.

          • Adam, we are talking at each other. You’re not hearing me and I’m not paying attention or even do I know your point. And although I respect your business acumen and know you are very honorable at how you do what you do, I am objecting to what I consider contributions to the island’s problems. Your business model is successful when the (over) populated island grows and invites more people in and more of everyone who sees to their needs. There’s no thought of conspiracy, that’s ridiculous. It’s the way islanders have made money since forever, but now self-reliance, including housing for residents, has entirely shifted to barely there. I have a problem with bringing thousands more people to the island, all needing and wanting basic needs met and lots of amenities. It works well for people making money, including some non-profits organizations, but it exacerbates the real disconnect for families who can’t stay here anymore.

            The mindset that encourages a dependence on more and more hoards of people coming and spending, ignoring what we actually need, is clearly not beneficial except to those in the game. It’s bad for the island, whether or not you allow yourself to see this real perspective.
            This isn’t the 1970s anymore.

  2. More events! Bigger crowds! Wonderful!
    Perhaps we can pack enough people onto the Island to sink it.

    • such a shame. so much life is being sucked out of the island or for the sake of the rich getting richer. this is indeed sad and the promoter and owner hasn’t been the nicest person to tall to especially online. oh well, so much for Martha..

      • I’m not “the promoter.” Im a human who has faced endless online attacks from people like you who don’t even attempt to get to know me.

        Not only do I live here now, but before that I’ve been traveling to the island since 1988. Back then, live music and the island was active and alive with it everywhere.

        Festivals from the No Nukes to Livestock with JT were happening across the island every year. There were many live music venues that celebrated togetherness avd creativity.

        Every day someone approaches me and thanks me for fighting to keep a little of that spirit alive, and most people express sadness that the scene is gone.

        When did your version of the island become the place where dancing and listening to music were against the rules? When did togetherness become a liability?

        Why are you so sour about listening to music under a sun-filled sky?

        When did you get the impression that this festival was about rich getting richer?

        If you had a clue, or even asked to learn about it, you’d realize that not a single dollar has been made in profit. More money has been paid to local talent and workers than has ever been made by myself or anyone at innovation arts.

        I’m happy to prove it so you’d stop making untrue allegations. Please just stop slinging arrows from an uninformed perspective.

    • more people, yeah, that’s what we need, NOT…more , bigger, and, lovers of the island, NOT. “small is beautiful. economics as if people matter” , how we wish… but, you’re right, enough people, with their abundance of stuff, to sink it. Glad I knew it when…

  3. Yes Adam all those musical events were wonderful but all had a local/regional feel & support to their cause
    IMO when I hear your countless ads for Beach Road weekend on WFUV it sends the message all of your marketing goals. The more the better = profits. Just saying.

    • Gayle, we have not made a profit, and have been supporting local musicians since the beginning of the MV Concert Series and Beach road thru the revenues generated.

      I’m not sure why you assume that this is about profits. There havent been any.

      But, please tell me who gets to be the arbiter of what a local and regional feel appears like? We get many compliments from thousands of islanders who not only buy tickets to our events, but showing respect to them by offering them the lowest price tickets, and investing in ensuring the quality is first rate.

      And the money spent on WFUV, or WCAI supports public radio and in return for the donations we make, they acknowledge us on their station with a thank you. It’s underwriting, not advertising.

  4. If a business is expanding their MV footprint I would assume it would like to achieve a profitably end result on the assumption of growth

    • The purpose of our business and the 501-c3 we established on the island is about supporting the live entertainment and recreational opportunities here. Frankly, you have no idea of our business model and are quick to criticize because of that ignorance.

      We did not seek out these new relationships. Both came to us. These festivals we purchased were not new events. We were selected to take them over because of our credentials and respect for how we create partnerships that elevate and benefit those partners selflessly.

      The food and wine festival is being moved at the request of the Edgartown Board of Trade, who created the event and from whom we will deliver for and continue to promote. We support and approve of their desire to focus on the Spring instead of the fall when weddings dominate the accommodations landscape.

      There is no grand conspiracy. We serve at the pleasure of EBOT for the next five years.

  5. As I have said dozens of times, a newspaper comment section is not the place for productive dialogue, nor does it lead to any solution of any problems.

    I address those here who choose to allege that we cause harm based upon their opinions and malign my intentions.

    Just like we eliminated traffic at Fuve Corners at each festival we’ve hosted with planning and investment in the community, there are solutions to problems and they are just not going to emerge here with staccato hyperbolic statements.

    I’m willing to engage anyone. My contact info is out there, and if you truly think I’m a problem, I’m happy to sit down and discuss how we can turn lemons into lemonade.

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