SOUTHAMPTON, NY — The Shinnecock Nation is speaking out after a string of warnings to residents from both Southampton town and village officials regarding “gridlock” and safety concerns raised by Saturday’s Palm Tree Music Festival.

The festival, co-founded by Kygo and his manager Myles Shear, which was held at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in recent years, did not see its permit renewed by the Federal Aviation Administration for 2024, resulting in a “last-minute venue change” to the Shinnecock Nation’s territory.

Both Southampton town and village officials have issued statements warning of gridlock conditions, loud music and other concerns, asking residents to stay away from the areas during the heaviest anticipated traffic times.

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Meanwhile, the Shinnecock Nation has been working hard to help set up for the event.

“The set-up for the Palm Tree Music Festival is well underway here at Shinnecock,” said Lance Gumbs, tribal ambassador for the Shinnecock Nation, on social media Thursday. “It was a last-minute venue change from the Westhampton Airport to our Shinnecock Territory. We look forward to hosting this event.”

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The event begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, he said, with about 10,000 expected to attend.

Speaking with Patch about the concerns expressed by local officials, Gumbs said: “The fear-mongering is real with them,” noting that the same event has taken place during the past three years, “just 12 miles down the road.”

Southampton Town police issued a traffic advisory Friday, stating that on Saturday, June 22, between the hours of 1 p.m. and midnight, the Palm Tree Music Festival will be taking place at the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton.

“Significant traffic delays and road congestion are expected along Montauk Highway and County Road 39 in the vicinity of the Stony Brook Southampton campus and the Village of Southampton,” police said. “Motorists are urged to avoid driving in these areas during this time.”

Temporary ‘No Parking’ signs will be placed in neighborhoods around the area of the festival to assist in alleviating road and traffic congestion, police said.

Festival attendees are encouraged to take shuttle services provided by the event or ride shares to the designated pick up / drop off points only, police added.

Southampton Town police will be assisting with traffic control at key intersections “and doing everything to help mitigate the anticipated traffic congestion,” authorities said.

Gumbs, who is handling tribal logistics and attended an organizational meeting for the event Thursday, also said he believes prices for the organizers of the event have been increased, since the event was moved from Westhampton to Southampton.

“The extortion is real, with every agency trying to get money out of this group as partners with the tribe,” he said. “It’s been so blatantly obvious, with all these so-called charges that the same groups didn’t charge in Westhampton.”

Gumbs expressed outrage: “Once again, they are showing us that every time we try to do something to help our people, the local politicians and agencies try to put their foot on our necks! They keep talking this nonsense about being good neighbors, but the only ones that have been good neighbors for the last 400 years is us! Those days are over. The Shinnecock Nation is doing this music festival, with or without their help, in a safe and enjoyable manner.”

The Palm Tree Music Festival organizers, Gumbs said, have “gone out of their way to accommodate us and the surrounding area, even to the point of putting up some of our tribal elders in hotels who might not want to hear the loud music. The overkill by law enforcement and local agencies and the extortion attempts to get more money out of our tribal partners is very disturbing on multiple levels. What changed other than the location?”

Gumbs said he believes there are actually more routes to the new venue site than in Westhampton.

“The Palm Tree folks have arranged with the MTA for a later train for patrons — something that wasn’t done in Westhampton — 65 shuttle buses to transport people to and from booth, the college parking area, and the Southampton train station,” he said. “Very similar to the U.S. Open model when they used other parking areas to get people to the same basic area in Shinnecock Hills.”

Gumbs added: “All this unnecessary fear-mongering, to discourage people from attending what is going to be a wonderful music event held on the Shinnecock Territory. I guess they forgot about all the concerts with Jimmy Buffett and others that were held right on the very college field where we are parking cars, for all those years — or all the U.S. Opens with massive traffic. What’s crystal clear to us at Shinnecock is that it’s fine for everyone else to do major events — everyone except the Shinnecock Nation.”

The Shinnecock Nation’s Annual Labor Day Weekend Powwow, which lasts for four days and brings 30,000 to 40,000 to the area, usually takes place at the same time as the Hamptons Classic, he added.

Earlier this week, Southampton Town Town Code Compliance and Emergency Management Administrator Ryan Murphy spoke with Patch about concerns.

“Any time you attempt to have an event involving 10,000 people without allocating sufficient time to plan for such an event, it invites concern for safety,” he said. “Although we recognize that the event is outside our jurisdiction and hope that whatever occurs will end up being a safe event, the town does have serious concerns about the ability of this event to occur safely and effectively on such short notice. Add to the lack of planning some of the jurisdictional nuances of the event occurring in sovereign territory — and we are not looking at a recipe for success.”

Murphy said he hopes attendees “respect the tribal land that they will be visiting, as well as the surrounding community. The land that they will be on is not an airport any longer, and there are tribal residents that live there surrounding the event site on the reservation. I also hope that they are respectful of the residential areas they pass through coming and going from the event.”

To residents, Murphy said to expect “gridlock conditions in and around the areas from late afternoon through late evening. I think it is safe to assume the worst traffic conditions will be in the 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. hours, and again from about 10 p.m. to 12 a.m., times with the highest expected arrival and departure times. I would avoid travel in the area at all cost.”

The Elks Club also has its carnival taking place on County Road 39 at the same, he said, with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. and the event ending at 11 p.m.

For those with noise complaints, Murphy asked that residents submit those online, via the town’s SOS system, “as opposed to overwhelming police dispatch with the complaints. This will record your complaint and will send it directly to code enforcement in the field,” he said. “Police, fire departments, EMS, the hospital and all other public safety entities will be taking actions and enacting procedures to try to mitigate the impact of this event to the surrounding areas as best as possible — and to preserve continuity of all emergency response services.”

The town’s concerns were voiced in addition to those detailed by Southampton Village officials.

On Friday, Murphy spoke with Patch about Gumbs’ belief that there was “fear-mongering” taking place.

“The same concerns raised now were addressed in the planning efforts for the airport,” Murphy said. “Each of the concerns being raised were different items planned for at the airport and accounted for in part of their planning process over the years. That planning process occurred over periods of months and was also refined year over year.”

He added: “Lessons learned from one year to the next were accounted for and planning was adjusted along the way. The planning process for this shift in locations and event was given about 10 to 15 days total time to account for all of the items that had been accounted for over the last three years at the previous venue. “

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Additional planning and concerns are also brought into the picture when you move the event from an open airport field to a residential community, and when you go from a county airport property, to a sovereign nation, Murphy said.

“Changes in jurisdiction and community characteristics should also be taken into consideration when creating the brand-new plan for the site. The size of the event area also changed from one location to the next. All of these are concerns and factors that should have been given adequate time to plan for and consider. 10 to 15 days is not adequate time to plan for an event of this scale. 10 to 15 days would not be enough time to plan for a wedding or possibly a backyard barbeque, let alone a 10,000 person gathering.”

Of the Annual Pow Wow, Murphy said, the event is annual and recurring. “It is a Reservation event, put on by them and for their benefit. It is not a private event put on by a private organizer that is renting space from the Reservation,” he said. “Comparing the two are apples and oranges. The Pow Wow is a slow coming and going of people, not a rapid influx and departure of 10,000 people. Even if the Pow Wow sees more people over the course of the event, that is spread out over hours and days. The characteristics of Pow Wow attendees is also different. It is a great, more family-oriented, cultural experience, not an electric dance music concert. The Shinnecock Nation does a great job of running the Pow Wow and has had years of refining their processes and procedures to manage that event successfully.”

On the accusations of”extortion” or “gouging,” Murphy said from the town’s perspective, “any charges being assessed to the event are the same or less than what would be charged to the exact same special event if it were occurring anywhere else” in the Town of Southampton.

“There are no special or unusual charges due to staffing increases to mitigate the impact of the event to the surrounding community,” Murphy said. “Many/Most special events in the town have fees associated with the events. There is nothing out of sorts occurring with this event in that sense.”

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