The Sea.Hear.Now. festival has now become a staple here in Asbury Park. It has become the fest of all fests with approximately 35,000 people on the beach enjoying live music, art and surfing all at the same time. The festival has had some heavy hitters in past years with bands like Green Day, The Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam and many other greats. This year’s headliners were The Foo Fighters and The Killers. Not to shabby I would say.
But let’s start at the beginning. The festival also invites a few local bands that have earned their keep around the circuit to open the day. This year it was Alexander Simone’s Who Dat, Waiting on Mongo, Yawn Mower and Quincy Mumford. All amazing bands that continue to shine in and around Asbury Park. Since I started my photographic journey, I have always been excited for the bands that start off the day. For me its an adrenaline rush to kick start my ass.
This year, as in past years, the festival included some amazing bands/artists from all styles of music. We had the Beach Boys with John Stamos, everyone’s favorite uncle Jesse. There was Royal Blood, which was a heavier band than most. Greta Van Fleet put on a great show as they always do with Tash Sultana and Living Colour playing the other two stages around the same time. Weezer, The Breeders, Rebelution, Nathaniel Rateliff, Mt. Joy and so many more took the stages by storm.
Speaking of storms, the festival’s surfing contest was the best it’s ever been due to the rough surf generated by a hurricane miles offshore. The surfing contest is a great thing to watch while moving from stage to stage or when you’re waiting to see whichever bands you’re there for. Over at the Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery tent you never know who’s going to pop in and play a set. This is where you can also see all the amazing art that’s on display by members of the bands playing the festival. Sea.Hear.Now. truly has something for everyone. There was no shortage of food and drink vendors. We even had one of my favorites, our local Betty’s Icebox scattered up and down the boardwalk on bicycle carts to serve you some yummy treats.
Another great thing about this festival is being introduced to some new great bands that I probably would have never heard of or seen otherwise. Acts like Snacktime and Joey Valence & Brae were awesome to see. Of course the downside is you can’t get to see everyone so most people plan out their weekend according to the pre-released schedule which does a great job of staggering the set times. All in all there is approximately 15 bands performing each day on three stages, which in my opinion is a perfect balance of music and downtime to check out other things going on.
On top of the festival our kick off show happens at The Stone Pony the night before, this year was Oteil and friends who played to a sold out crowd. The world famous Wonder Bar had some great local bands like Yawn Mower, Sunshine Spazz and Baquenne. The Saturday night after shows always draw a sold out crowd as no one ever knows who’s going to pop in and jam. Saturday nights after show with The Ocean Ave. Stompers and The Tangiers Blues Band turned out to be insane with Brandon Flowers the singer of the Killers performing Bruce Springsteens “The Promised Land”. The Saturday after show at the Wonder bar had Babe Rainbow and the Sunday after show at Asbury Lanes had Danny Clinch and friends with a few of the members of Blind Melon along with a bunch of local musicians like Rachel Ana Dobken and many more.
For the next few months at least everyone will be trying to guess who next year’s headliners will be. A huge thanks to the organizers, staff and volunteers that make this festival one of the best I have ever been part of. Until next year have a safe and happy journey.
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