Escaping a Teepee at Escape to New York Festival


Escape to New York had a lot on its plate… and I’m not just referring to the World’s Largest Festival Brunch, which was planned to kick off on Sunday. The first-year festival on the Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton billed itself as more than just a three-day music event — like its sister festival in the UK, Secret Garden Party, Escape to New York promised an interactive experience of art, music, food, camping and culture (and by culture, I mean hipster culture)

The festival catered to a fancier crowd (after all, this is Southampton), one that expected on-site glamping with suped-up teepees, private performances and catered food by Fat Radish; while festival-goers expected an indie-happy lineup headlined by Edward Sharpe and Patti Smith, an off-the-radar dance tent and the convenience of raging the day away, in the comfort of their Hamptons ‘hood.

Although the 3-day party was cut short due to bad weather on the reservation (yes, I woke up in a soggy teepee with a soaked cell phone), Saturday proved successful enough for Escape to New York to announce that they’ll be back next year…. 

Next year, already? A bit soon, no? Clearly, this British bunch has a hold on the teammates-in-tank-tops who raided the empty lot off Route 27 for 3 days (did I feel like I was crashing a private party? Yes, yes I did), but a star-studded campsite does not a festival make. So let’s backtrack and face some facts…. [My HuffPo review]

Thank goodness for Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros who brought in an enthusiastic crowd on Saturday night. The stage, equipped with a busted NYC Taxi, was enough to impress the most cynical of cynics who compared this first-ever fiesta to Coachella. A calypso-inspired, steel-drum rendition of “Home” brought the creative set to a close. This was exactly the type of act that Escape to New York needs. One to keep your indie mantras, but draw a large crowd too. (Did their private performance on Sunday at the Mondrian diminish the importance of said show? Yeah, a bit). 

Founder Freddie Fellowes’ creative vision was brilliant. The festival was in fact full of surprises, pop-up performances and secret stages. This Midsummer’s Night Dream was a delightful change from the standard three-stage triangle formation we are used to finding during festival season. I loved the bicycle-driven musical Toad who played some of the best music I heard all weekend and the dance-off ring (and by ring, I mean an actual wrestling ring aka wedding ring) hidden deep inside the foggy forest.

Xaphoon Jones (of Chiddy Bang) spun an electric set on Saturday night. There’s nothing better than an out-of-nowhere, out-of-this-world DJ set, especially when most of the festivals this seasons have been on a recycling binge. Heilbronn, Duvall and Alex English rocked out too. 

Teepees and safari tents are winners, in theory…. 

The Minus. 

When you say glamping, I expect glamping. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some mud, but when someone shouts “G” for glamorous, I leave my supplies at home. Sans the bed, mirror, lights, bug spray and amenities of our promised “package,” these were just teepee shaped tents. Good thing I’m always Amazing Race ready. 

Asia Dogs, Standard Hotels, Milk Studios, Soho House, Veuve Clicquot, Fat Radish, Urban Daddy — there were super sponsors everywhere. And yes, there were some great acts (The Vaccines, Au Revoire Simone, Edward Sharpe) but put your money where the cash is. If E2NY had put just one art installation or chic-boutique on hold, they could have brought in a big name; and a big name draws a big crowd, and a big crowd brings energy. And energy was the one thing this clan forgot to buy. On Friday, they expected 5,000 people and according to The Guardian, 1,000 attended at max. (Side note: I lived for the low-key, well mannered and easy-going staff. If their attitudes were a result of the small crowd, it was still a great result.)

Despite the cheap cigarettes, Shinnecock proved to be a poor location choice. We weren’t really wanted there, as evident by the quick cancellation of the event on Sunday, and by the odd placement of the campsite off of 27. Second, the standard Native American-inspired garb found at fests (I’m 100% guilty of it) suddenly seemed inappropriate. While there was major space to roam free in the art-filled forest, the late-night ride to the grounds felt a bit like the start of a scary movie — and not even a good one.

Oh, and did I mention there was no liquor? 

I’ll never turn my back on innovation, and in that department Escape to New York wins. Winkel & Balktick produced a forest full of fantasy from the Panda Pit to the robotic Gamelan Orchestra. But what E2NY really needs is to get out of their own way. We get it, you’re the cool kids (I mean, Alexander Skarsgård probably stayed in your teepee — we saw him roaming the campsite during a surprise set from Gary Clark Jr.), but cool kids won’t fill acres. We will. Fans like me who love to fest, be it with Best Coast or Boyz Noize, will fill your field with fire.
And some fire is exactly what you need.



Album Art
140 plays

The Jackson Pit (Jackson 5 vs. Passion Pit) by Xahpoon Jones

Because your Saturday night set made even the hipsters smile…. no really, it did. You’re Welcome!



Follow Friday.


oundup of my favorite things this week…
Escape to New York Style.
Let’s get glamping! 

Festival. Escape to New York.
Any fest with a manifesto is alright by me, and Escape to New York has one for the books. What makes a good party? What you do, not what you see; Who you meet, not who you see; and what you make happen, not what you watch happen…. Born out of the Secret Garden Party in the UK, the quirky Escape to New York Festival is taking over the ancient lands of the Schinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton this weekend. The mystical music includes Patti Smith, Best Coast, The Vaccines, Alex English, Rich Medina, VHS or Beta and of course, Edward Sharpe. There’s stages and tents and art and teepees and creation galore. Yes, I said teepees, but more on that later.  


Au Revoir Simone.
There’s something about Au Revoir Simone. Three girls from Brooklyn, two vocalists, two keyboards and one drum machine makes for melancholic melodies. There’s a Corner store sound to the instruments and a Middle school garage band sound to the vocals. It’s like the Cranberries met the Juno Soundtrack…. but I like them, I really like them, and their synthy sweetness. So take off from your teepee for this trifecta. 

Paris Remix ft. Au Revoir Simone; Shadows

Eat. World’s Largest Brunch. 

Escape to New York is making big moves on Sunday… moves towards a record breaking brunch. They’ll be attempting to knock the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s biggest brunch at a live music event. The menu, by Silkstone, will include fresh fruit, yogurt and granola, avocado toast with 6-minute eggs and the traditional English dish, Bubble and Squeak. Of course OJ, Bloody Marys and Champagne will be on hand… just in case this brunch bunch gets rowdy.

Images via Escape2NY