Punk Rock Bowling Festival: Celebrating the Classic Rock of Punk
From Chris Bradley & his Extraordinaires to The Specials, the 'Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival' stop in Asbury Park showcased a mix of entertaining and legendary punk, reggae, and ska music. Luckily, I was on site to catch the music.
The festival ran the course of the weekend, with The Specials headlining Saturday night and NOFX headlining Sunday night.
On an outdoor stage across from the boardwalk, in the heat of the day, and under a vibrant full moon hanging over the ocean, the bands reminded me why I love punk so much. In true 'festival' style there were vendors with spiderweb-patterned purses, band logo designed skateboards, and Dr. Martens. Concert goers varied from now-adult fans with their young children to fans with full on Mohawks and piercings.
The Specials, punk legends that emerged in the late 1970s out of the U.K., showed that after decades of band transformations and changes they have not slowed down. With a set full of drums, guitar, and horns, it was an honor to be in the audience for a band that made such a mark on punk and ska music. The vocals of Charles Bradley crooned across the beach, for all to hear. Even sound-checks could be heard throughout the day while wandering on the boardwalk.
Leaving the show, I found numerous groups of people, dancing in their leather jackets and such, outside of the venue. They were listening for free on the boardwalk, with glimpses of the light show at the top of the stage across the way, and just enjoying the music. And that, to me, was the essence of rock and roll in its finest form. Pure Enjoyment.