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Escape Music Festival enters crowded New York City festival scene

Musician Moby will perform at Escape Music Festival.

Musician Moby will perform at Escape Music Festival. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Ben Horton

A few years ago, New York had no major music festivals. Now, it's flush with them. This month alone offers CMJ and the CBGB Festival, as well as two new festivals: Modern Sky and the Escape Music Festival, an electronic and indie rock event with acts including Moby, Girl Talk, Placebo and Mayer Hawthorne. The festival was set to take place at Pier 9 in Red Hook but was moved to Governors Island less than two weeks before its debut.

amNewYork talked with founder Merritt Quirk.


Does NYC really need another music festival?

We looked into what New York City had and what it's missing. There's not a festival like this in the fall, and there was not a major outdoor festival in Brooklyn.


Why did you move from Red Hook?

Red Hook Container Terminal is a federally secure facility, which operates maritime-based businesses. Several congressmen and senators ? felt this was not a proper use of the site. When Governors Island Beach Club decided to extend their season for us, it made sense logistically for us to change venues.


What have you changed as a result of the new venue?

The theme of the event hasn't changed. We still have the same artists, partners and food lineup, many of whom hail from Brooklyn. The venue is a little more intimate and we have way more leeway to execute our vision.


You've said Escape was inspired by things you saw in Buenos Aires, Barcelona and Ibiza. What specifically?

I lived in New York City from 2005-2010, then I went to grad school in Spain. ? I saw a different way of producing shows there; they were really focused on the user experience. We're bringing in an electronic music party from Spain that will really showcase that.


What has been the biggest surprise for you in putting this together?

Getting the financing was really challenging. Once you get that in place, things come together. ? A lot of festivals lose money their first year. We're looking at this as a long-term venture.


If you go: Escape Music Festival is on Saturday and Sunday at Governors Island Beach Club, $65-$139.

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