Contrary to popular belief, there was no skating or surfing at Skate And Surf Festival on May 18. For the first time in8 years, the music festival was brought back in place of the failure that was last year’s Bamboozle Festival. In fact, Skate And Surf Festival pre-dates Bamboozle Festival, originating in 2002 in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Originally, the festival was supposed to go on at Plaza Green at iPlay America in Freehold, New Jersey but was moved to Six Flags Great Adventure for the weekend by popular demand, although most attendees will agree that Six Flags is one of the worst venues for concerts.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature was not on Jersey’s side, casting the entire day with grey skies and light showers. Aside from the bad weather, Skate & Surf Festival was somewhat of an actual disaster for its first round. The setup alone for the event was an absolute mess. On one side, three stages are directly next to each other while the main stage — almost the same size as the others — stands a few feet away from another hidden stage.
Even though it seemed like everyone was here to defend pop punk, there were so many different types of music featured at the festival, including hip-hop/rap, alternative, ska, electro, indie rock and screamo. With the stages being so close to each other, there were a lot of mixed signals throughout the day: in between sets, it was almost impossible not to hear the next band over.
At the Aquarian Better stage, pop-punk bands like Mixtapes put on energized 30-minute sets before spectators got too soggy from the rain. (The bassist even performed without an actual bass for most of the gig, which was impressive.) The Ohio natives were the most interactive band by far, engaging the crowd in witty dialogue in-between all of Maura Weaver and Ryan Rockwell’s lighthearted male-female call and response sing-alongs.