Four years now of this amazing festival with four years of perfect weather. The Sea.Hear.Now festival took place on the beach in Asbury Park and as usual kicked off with some awesome local talent. This year we had Dentist, Lost in Society, The Vansaders and Dogs in a Pile. This did present a dilemma which started some conversations earlier in the week about who was going to see which bands as they all started at the same time. I think the most incredible part of this festival is that every year the styles and genres of music is all over the place. Festivals are not about one or two bands but about the atmosphere of thousands of people coming from all over to experience things for the first time. Sure, a lot of us like to plan out who we are going to see on each day but along the way it’s the unknown that takes us far in our musical endeavors. Checking out bands we have never seen or heard of is a great way to expand ourselves musically.
After the locals it was a wide array of bands that blessed this beautiful weekend. The Surfrajettes, an instrumental surf band, made a huge splash and even joked to the crowd about no singing. Bands like Skip Marley, Peach Pit, Cinafunk and Shakey Graves put on a display of really cool soul, funk and lots of style. Each year there seems to be an iconic 80’s artist and this year was no difference. When they made the announcement that Culture Club was playing my head froze in excitement. One of my all time favorites Boy George was coming to the Asbury Park beach to perform in front of my very eyes. Just like Billy Idol did last year, Culture Club did not disappoint.
The festival was setup with Stevie Nicks and Green Day as the headliners. I mean, come on. Each and every year the festival seems to bring in some of the biggest names in the industry. Past headliners have been Pearl Jam, Incubus, Dave Matthews and more. Make no mistake this festival is a sea of musical styles. This year we had Billy Strings, Gary Clark Jr., Courtney Barnett, Fletcher, a home town gal, and a lot more. Cage the Elephant put on a show to die for as did Michael Franti and Spearhead. Top it off with Andy Fasco and the UN and it’s just an insane weekend and performances to see.
Danny Clinch the co-founder of the festival has an awesome gallery in town (Transparent Clinch Gallery) which offers an insane display of iconic photographs he has taken along his journey. In the transparent Clinch gallery tent you could pop in and look at or purchase some of the performers art work on display. For the first time ever they even had a display of photographs taken by the man himself, Bruce Springsteen. The tent is also a place where you never know who is going to show up and perform a little pop up show.
And if all that isn’t enough for you the festival kicked off Friday night with shows at The Stone Pony and Wonder Bar. This year the Pony had the Backseat Lovers and Annie DiRusso and the Wonder Bar had a bunch of local bands like Sunshine Spazz, Yawn Mower and Gods. On Saturday night, the after shows were Ocean Ave Stompers and the Tangiers Blues Band at The Stone Pony with the Surfrajettes and the Black Flamingos at the Wonder Bar. The Sunday night after show to end it all was at Asbury Lanes and featured many artists who jammed on start until about 1:30 am the morning.
Three long days and nights for myself and others but I will say the C3 Entertainment and their staff runs this festival like no one else. They make sure not only is the fan experience a great one but also us photographers are well attended to. I already can’t wait till next year.
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