When Mint 400 Records owner Neil Sabatino told me he was thinking of holding a new festival, Indie Binge at Pet Shop in Jersey City, I was excited. In previous years he has organized the North Jersey Indie Rock Festival with other labels as a way to promote some of the best local artists in the area. The first two of those events were at the mammoth Cathedral Hall in Jersey City. The third installment was at the new and beautiful White Eagle Hall. Though these venues were great, albeit a bit challenging logistically, it was time for a change. It was the right decision. Along with the name change to Indie Binge, the move to Pet Shop proved a stroke of genius. Pet Shop is more in line with the spirit of a local event. In fact many of the bands have played there in the past. By all accounts the inaugural Indie Binge, held last Saturday, was a smashing success.
Alice and I knew it was going to be a great day when we actually found a free parking spot. In Jersey City. Then again it is not often we arrive in town at 10:00 AM for a show. Despite the early start time a good crowd had gathered by the time the first band of the day, The Racer, opened the PS Wine Bar stage. 33 bands throughout the day took to 3 different stages highlighting why our local scene is as good as any. Upstairs in the back was the Main Stage and up front the Acoustic Stage. Downstairs was the intimate PS Wine Bar Stage. When you’re dealing with multiple stages and a lot of artists it could be a recipe for disaster but it is a testament to the organizers that everything seemed to go flawlessly.
As official sponsors we stationed ourselves upstairs at the YDKJ booth, spread out our stickers (get them now, new logo soon!) and it was no problem to move to the various stages to catch the acts despite the large crowd. At the booth we were also able to invite many bands and friends to come chat for a bit and just have some laughs. Also a place to have a drink or nosh on excellent vegetarian food. This is the spirit of the festival that Sabatino has always advocated for. An event where there is not only great music but a place to network, catch up with old friends and make new ones.
It was great to see established bands like LKFFCT, Quality Living and The Mercury Brothers as well as newer groups like Blue Vervain and Phoneboy. The event was a success on all levels. At one point while waiting at the bar for a drink I overheard a conversation between a patron and bartender. “This is pretty amazing, isn’t it?” said the customer. The bartender answered “It is awesome and I can’t believe how many people are here on a Saturday afternoon!” The only question left is when can we do this again?
Sponsors included 3143 Management, Rock-It Docket, Pyrrhic Victory Recordings, Neon Peach Records, Sniffling Indie Kids, Come Here Floyd, New Jersey Stage, One More With Brian Erickson, DIY Radio, Makin Waves, Jersey Beat, and You Don’t Know Jersey.
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