Concert to Benefit Deer Lake Preservation Set for Sept.10
Deer Lake is set to kick off what organizers hope will not only be an annual event but among many concerts and programs that will bring visitors to one of the most precious environmental gems on the shoreline. A daylong concert of folk artists will be held on Sunday, Sept. 10, at the site, and the event promises to celebrate the property’s beauty and the patron’s support in preserving this special parcel.
The property, which has been a beloved site for thousands of area campers for generations, was almost sold for development last year before Connecticut Attorney General William Tong stepped in with an investigation into the owners, the Yankee Council of Scouting USA, due to questionable actions between the organization and its board in a potential deal to sell the property.
That matter was resolved when the council agreed to sell the property to Pathfinders, albeit for a substantially greater price than originally appraised. That deal, while a godsend for those who did not want to see development, also meant that Pathfinders would need to pay off a massive amount of debt, not an easy task for a small nonprofit.
Pathfinders board member and Deer Lake Facilities Director Tom Feiner said the event will mark a special period of the property’s history.
“People should come out and enjoy this and see what’s right in their backyard. They really need to come out and understand just exactly what got preserved here and what the money got spent on. Once this debt is paid off, we will place a conservation easement on the property, and then it will never, ever be developed. The amount of money we raised last year was astounding, and it was all due to the campers and donors who really wanted to save this spot,” said Feiner.
Organizers said everyone is invited to the property to “enjoy a day of music on the lake in the beautiful woodlands of the Connecticut shoreline.”
According to Feiner, all proceeds from this event will go to Pathfinders, Inc. to help protect and maintain the property for future generations to continue to enjoy.
“This will go to specifically pay that debt down. We still have about $800,000 to pay off on it, so every dollar really counts,” Feiner said. “It’s going to turn into a bigger thing next year, and we definitely want to make this an annual event.”
Feiner said music will fill the day for concertgoers and added that organizers had to turn away acts due to demand for event slots. The music will occur in the former dining hall, a spot that musicians love because of its unique acoustics, according to Feiner.
“We could only schedule so many people during that time period, but people will be thrilled by the acts we have,” Feiner said. “The show is actually going to be filmed and recorded and put into the Library of Congress. The hall is a great music space. Performers all love the sound in the hall. We eventually want to have a headliner in here that will record a live album at Deer Lake. We really hope we’re as big as the Newport Folk Festival someday.”
Performers at the event include Anything Goes, Lisa Aranci, Logan Whalley, Bill Last Trio, Jill Thompson, Bill Katz, Terry Lachance, Derrick Bosse, Bob Gotta, Ann Marie Menta, Christian Aja, Mary Ann McAllister, Marc Lendler, Douglas Mahard, Marty Brennan, Christine eddy, Tod Purcell, Lisa Walker, Randy Emmons, Ric Page, Diane Battistella, and Tom Boynton.
The public is welcome, and the music will take place in what is now called Clifton Hall, named in honor of the Clifton family and especially for longtime camp director and ranger Mark Clifton who passed away earlier this year.
The event is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 10, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 101 Paper Mill Road, Killingworth. Parking will be limited, so visit the organization’s Facebook page, “Deer Lake Music Festival,” for complete information on accessing the venue and obtaining tickets.
Tickets are general admission for the festival at $20. Patrons may bring their own chairs and picnics/food for enjoyment outside Clifton Hall.