Nile Rodgers and Chic were joined onstage by guests Adam Lambert, Chromeo, Russell Peters, Mystery Skull, Prince Paul and Swedish star Avicii, who had the crowds screaming for more, as Bridgehampton National Band presented a dance party to benefit All for the East End, an organization raising funds for local charities.
In addition to the musical performances, a signed guitar, two rare signed albums, and a silent auction all took place to raise funds for East End non-profit organizations.
Onstage, Nile Rodgers described his victory over cancer and shared how he spends his life giving back to others.
The AFTEE event, Rodger had said, would be the “greatest dance party" the East End of Long Island had ever seen. "Dance music unites, dance music is happy, and the Nile Rodgers Dance Party will bring all ages to the dance floor.”
All ages attended the show and danced for over four hours on the large field, with the musical line-up bringing something for every musical taste.
Rodgers and Chic performed international hits Rodgers wrote, such as "We Are Family," "Good Times," "Le Freak," "Greatest Dancer," "I'm Coming Out," and "Like a Virgin;" he has produced hits for Madonna, David Bowie, Duran Duran and Diana Ross. And, he has co-written and plays his Fender“The Hitmaker” on the new Daft Punk hit “Get Lucky,” which has broken records and gone to Number One in 73 countries.
Crowds of young people were eager for Swedish DJ sensation Avicii, chanting his name before he took the stage and screaming for his performance. Some young people sat on each other's shoulders, and one young man jumped off the stage into the crowd. Security was vigilant in holding back the crowds.
For Rodgers, a man who believes in giving back, orchestrating the AFTEE concert came naturally.
"It touched my heart," he said.
Growing up in New York City, Rodgers said community programs were vital to the existence of a little boy who faced adult challenges.
"That's what helped me to navigate through troubled waters," he said. "My mom had me at 14 and both my parents were heroin addicts."
Having grown up poor, Rodgers never forgot those experiences and vowed to dedicate him life to helping others.
"I've been involved in charitable programs my whole life," he said. "I was socialized to care about people. We were taught that if there was a little old lady, you escorted her across the street. So when I was approached to do this, I thought it through and said, 'Sure.'"
At the same time, Rodgers said he didn't want the event to be a typical one-shot fundraiser but rather, aimed to "curate it in a way where it felt scale-able," he said. "You want to try and build a model that's sustainable after the first year. There are always different growing pains but if you have a good concept, it may be something that sticks."
The goal, he said, would be to organize similar events in the coming years.
Monday's event, Rodgers said, will be a mix of "super talented" artists that will appeal to all ages.
No stranger to philanthropy, Rodgers, after 9/11, began the We Are Family Foundation, to bring different people together, to learn to live together peacefully.
Charitable efforts, Rodgers said, "just feel normal to me. It's not the thing that you do to score extra brownie points. That's just how I was raised. I don't know any other way."
Of the AFTEE event, he said, "The community can come together and pull something off that we can maybe develop as a model that will be replicated around the country," he said. "People wil see the essence of who entertainers are — how altruistic they are, and how they can seemingly come from such disparate backgrounds and all work together in this wacky melting pot."The Riverhead Project's owner, Dennis McDermott, who sat on the board to organize the event, said Riverhead Town was helpful in facilitating the event, which sold 4000 tickets.
"This is great for the North Fork and Riverhead," McDermott said.
After the show, the artists went to The Riverhead Project for dinner and many headed to the Suffolk Theater for an after-party.