Gathering of the Vibes will not take place in 2017

Crowds won’t gather in Seaside Park in Bridgeport for the Gathering of the Vibes next summer, as they did in 2015. The 2016 festival has been called off by promoters, who expressed hope of returning in 2017. – Audra Napolitano photos

Crowds won’t gather in Seaside Park in Bridgeport for the Gathering of the Vibes next summer, as they did in 2015. The 2017 festival has been called off by promoters. – Audra Napolitano photos

It will be a second straight summer without the Gathering of the Vibes.

Those on the email list for the music festival, which had been held in Bridgeport’s Seaside Park for many years, were informed by founder Ken Hays Wednesday that the event would not be held in 2017.

It marks the second straight year without the Gathering of the Vibes setting up camp. In late November of 2015, Hays informed fans that there would be no festival in 2016, and expressed hope of returning in 2017.

“I too am disappointed and had hoped for a different outcome,” Hays wrote. “However as the world changes, we too must change.”

Hays said “smaller, family-friendly festivals” would be announced in the coming months for members of the VibeTribe, supporters of the multi-day, multi-stage outdoor concert.

“This offers us the opportunity to gather, camp and play together within exclusive VibeTribe camping areas,” he wrote.

Hays, a Weston resident, first “gathered the vibes” in 1996 for a festival named Deadhead Heaven: A Gathering of the Tribe to honor the life and music of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. The event was held on the campus of SUNY Purchase, which had agreed to the show without realizing it would be a Jerry Garcia memorial concert.

The Gathering of the Vibes Music, Arts, and Camping Festival in Seaside Park in Bridgeport had grown from 3,500 participants to the more than 25,000 in recent years.

Hays grew up in Greenwich as a self-proclaimed Grateful Dead aficionado. He spent many nights as a young man frequenting their shows, and making friends within the Deadhead community, and especially “having fun right out of college.”

In a 2012 HAN Network article, Hays said he had always been inspired by bringing communities together in “the spirit of music,” and realized that he wanted to honor the fellowship felt by so many Grateful Dead fans by planning a memorial show for Jerry Garcia.

 

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