As Coronavirus cases continue to surge in the United States, people are in search of new forms of entertainment. The drive-in concert may have seemed harmless on the outside, though this jam-packed charity concert at the Hamptons this past week has received quite the backlash from California governor Cuomo.
Chainsmokers, an EDM-pop group made up of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall, performed in Water Mill, New York, in front of thousands this past Saturday for a fundraiser event. The event, according to the website, was labeled as a “safe and sound” gathering, following “social distance guidelines.”
Organizers for the event say they sold tickets for 600 vehicles. The idea was that guests could enjoy the tailgating experience of a concert safe in their own 20 square-foot boxes. Even the website noted guests should not leave their cars or the General Admission area unless using the restroom. If using the restroom, a mask is required.
With all said and done, social media shows a different side of things. A video from Adam Alpert, the duo’s manager, has been circulating throughout the web. The footage shows a mass gathering in front of the stage without any sort of social distancing in place.
The gathering is despite the event’s claim to “follow local health and safety standards.”
Many fans and onlookers took to social media to label the group as “irresponsible.”
“This irresponsibility of the Chainsmokers having any sort of event in the current climate is absolutely appalling,” said one Twitter user. “I am not ok with you risking everyone’s lives so that they can watch you press a space bar all night.”
One fan Jesse McLaren tweeted that it is “fitting that the Chainsmokers are causing permanent lung damage,” of course, making reference to the side effects of Coronavirus.
Howard Zucker, New York Health Commissioner, noted that he felt “greatly disturbed” by the concert and is planning to open an investigation with the New York State Department of Health.
Zucker wrote to Jay Schneiderman, town supervisor for South Hampton, saying, “I’m at a loss as to how Southampton could have issued an event permit for this. How could they believe that it was legal and not a clear threat to public health?”
Of course, despite the apparent footage of huge crowds dancing and singing along, organizers from the event stood their ground in saying “social distancing guidelines” were followed.
Organizers from Invisible Noise and In the Know Experiences said that the “event organizers followed all current and proper protocol.” This protocol included the positioning of sanitizing stations throughout the grounds, spacing each spot greater than six feet apart, restroom sanitization every ten minutes, marked zones for parking, contact tracing, attendee temperature checks, and guest mask enforcement. The organizers even provided complimentary masks upon guest arrival for those who did not have one on them.
The funds from the drive-in event went to No Kid Hungry, Children’s Medical Fund of New York, and Southampton Fresh Air Home.
So far, Chainsmokers have not made any comment.