Revived Harry Chapin tribute concert to be held at the Landmark after dispute

Revived Harry Chapin tribute concert to be held at the Landmark after dispute
The 20th annual "Just Wild About Harry" tribute and benefit concert honoring Harry Chapin will be held at the Landmark on Main Street in December. (Photo by Robert Berkowitz, courtesy of Michael Kornfeld)

Port Washington’s Landmark on Main Street is “just wild about Harry,” as they prepare to host the annual Harry Chapin benefit tribute concert for the first time, announced just two months after the concert was stalled due to signage disputes between organizers and the county executive.

The 20th annual “Just Wild About Harry” concert, which celebrates the life, music and advocacy of Chapin, is scheduled to be held in the Jeanne Rimsky Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 4.

“For two decades, ‘Just Wild About Harry’ concerts have beautifully spotlighted Harry Chapin’s vast musical and philanthropic contributions that have enriched our society and established him as one of Long Island’s greatest cultural and humanitarian figures,” Nassau County Legislator Arnold Drucker (D–Plainview) said.

Chapin, while a famed folk singer-songwriter, was also a notable humanitarian who fought world hunger. He was a key figure in establishing the Presidential Commission on World Hunger in 1977 and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his humanitarian efforts.

The concert is in tandem with a food drive, which has collected over the years about seven tons of food for Long Island Cares – a food bank started by Chapin. All proceeds from the concert will also be donated to Long Island Cares. Concert attendees are also encouraged to bring non-perishable foods to donate.

The concert will feature 18 musicians and songwriters from Long Island who will be performing Chapin’s songs. It is sponsored by Roger Tilles and co-promoted by the Folk Music Society of Huntington.

“In his songs and his advocacy, Harry Chapin embodied the best of Long Island, and he was a true pioneer in the battle to end food insecurity and hunger in our region,” Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton said. “We are profoundly grateful to Richard Mayer, board Co-Presidents Hiram Matthews and Suresh Sani, and the entire Landmark on Main Street board for opening their venue to Stuart Markus and his team of wonderful musicians. We’re all so glad to know that the show will go on in Harry’s honor.”

The concert, which is historically held at the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater in Eisenhower Park, is typically scheduled near the anniversary of Chapin’s death on July 16, 1981. The venue is where Chapin was slated to play but never made it to when he was killed on his way in an accident on the Long Island Expressway.

Scheduled for July 16 this year, the concert was pushed out to Aug. 28 due to rain.

But just days before the concert in August, concert organizer Stuart Markus called off the event over a dispute with Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman due to large and abundant signs at the venue with Blakeman’s name compared to smaller and fewer signs devoted to Chapin. Markus called the executive’s signage “incredibly tacky and inappropriate.”

He said many individuals involved in the tribute concert, most notably the concert co-organizers, expressed “deep revulsion and consternation” about the large signs with Blakeman’s name, believing he was making the event more about him than Chapin.

While Markus offered Blakeman a compromise to their dispute – to hold the concert at Eisenhower Park so long as the signage was removed – it was not carried out. Now, for the first time, the concert will be held in the Port Washington theater.

The event was rescheduled after legislators Drucker and DeRiggi-Whitton wrote a letter to the theater’s co-presidents on Sept. 6 proposing the concert to be held at the Landmark on Main Street.

Tickets for the concert are on sale and are available for purchase online and at the box office.

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here