New York state is investigating The Chainsmokers’ concert over coronavirus concerns after video went viral showing a large crowd dancing without social distancing.
The EDM duo, featuring singer and Syracuse University alumnus Andrew Taggart, headlined a drive-in charity concert in the Hamptons on Saturday night. Precautions were in place, including providing temperature checks, face masks and hand sanitizer, but many fans appeared to not stay inside their vehicles or designated parking spots.
Photos and video emerged Monday, sparking criticism that Covid-19 restrictions weren’t enforced properly at the swanky event where tickets cost between $850 and $25,000. An estimated 2,000 people attended.
The New York Department of Health announced Monday it had sent a letter to Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman notifying him of an open investigation into the concert.
“I am greatly disturbed by reports concerning the ‘drive-in’ concert held in your town this past weekend, which apparently involved thousands of people in close proximity, out of their vehicles, a VIP area where there was no pretense of a vehicle, and generally not adhering to social distancing guidance,” Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker wrote to Schneiderman. “I am at a loss as to how the Town of Southampton could have issued a permit for such an event, how they believed it was legal and not an obvious public health threat.”
Zucker also demanded Schneiderman respond within 24 hours, letting the health department know if the town issued a permit and what security measures were planned to ensure public safety.
The Chainsmokers, known for pop-dance hits like “Closer” (feat. Halsey) and “Something Just Like This” (feat. Coldplay), have not publicly commented on the incident. Taggart, a 2012 graduate of SU’s Bandier music program and Visual and Performing Arts school, formed the group with fellow DJ Alex Pall that same year.
In the Know Experience, one of the main organizers of the event, told BuzzFeed News that guests were instructed not to leave designated spots for any reason other than to use the restroom. There were also dividers — black retractable belts — separating individual parties of up to 10 people in the “contested pit area,” and security guards enforcing people stay in their areas.
“Everyone was social-distancing and being responsible,” said one concertgoer, Southampton resident Jamie Books. “We had an amazing time and hope to see more events like this,” she added.
A rep for In the Know Experiences also told BuzzFeed News that they “collaborated with all state and local health officials to keep everyone safe.”
According to TMZ, proceeds from the event went to benefit No Kid Hungry, Southampton Fresh Air Home, and the Children’s Medical Fund of New York.