Festival Friday: Skate & Surf Review
There’s an undeniable magic within the city of Asbury Park for music fans of all ages and demographics. Whether you’ve been around since Bruce claimed the Stone Pony as his stomping grounds or you were just raised on punk shows at the Lanes, there’s a lot to be sentimental about within the vicinity of the famous Asbury Park Boardwalk - and this weekend was no exception.
Skate & Surf Festival returned to the beach boasting one of its best lineups to date for its third year after an eight-year hiatus. The Gaslight Anthem, Dropkick Murphys, Manchester Orchestra, The Front Bottoms, Acceptance, The Story So Far, The Wonder Years, Real Friends, and Modern Baseball topped the bill, but this fest was particularly cool in the sense that it also had a ton of the best up-and-coming bands playing, too. Elder Brother and Alcoa, two of my favorite “side projects” of The Story So Far’s members and Defeater’s frontman, respectively, had dynamic sets on Day 1, while my dear friends in A Will Away and Head North both had kids screaming and singing along to their sets later in the day on Sunday.
There was no shortage of technical difficulties, with a generator failure pushing back all of the sets on the East and West Stages on Sunday night, but it did not take away from the atmosphere that the bands’ and fans’ energy alike managed to create throughout the weekend. Fireworks played what was their last set in NJ before their recently announced hiatus, and emotions were definitely running high. The Acceptance reunion was better than I could have ever hoped for, and The Gaslight Anthem managed to send the weekend off with one of the best hometown sets I remember seeing from them. All in all, it was a very cool weekend surrounded by many friends and fans from near and far all united to support the music they love. I’d definitely love to see some female fronted bands on next year’s lineup repping that girrrrl power in punk music they way it should be - but aside from that, this is another great fest in the books for the New Jersey music scene. Check out my gallery of photos and be sure to tweet me if you see yourself in any of them!