After a stint when the festival was alternately known as Bamboozle, Skate and Surf returned to its roots for two days at Asbury Park this year. A forecast that predicted thunderstorms and rain for most of the weekend thankfully didn’t come to fruition (except for a short while on Saturday night) as fans generally experienced a temperate couple of days. The fragrant, salty sea air wafted over from the boardwalk, a reminder of just how close the beach was.
“Asbury Park is hands-down one of my favorite places on this Earth,” Modern Baseball’s Ian Farmer said when I briefly caught the band backstage. The grounds were actually laid out around the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel (where most of the bands were staying), which made for a fun bit of star watching as musicians came and went through the lobby.
A perfect middle ground between the hectic one-day affair of Warped Tour and the full-blown, three-day Riot Fest, Skate and Surf provided the best of both worlds over its two days. The crowd never suffocated and lines weren’t too long for food or Port-a-Potties. The structure of alternating performances between two sets of stages (GameLoud-World and East-West) helped to reduce the wait times, although this did make for some tough scheduling conflicts on Sunday evening.
And it also bears saying: Fans at pop-punk festivals always seem to really be there for the music. One of the main reasons I love Riot Fest so much is for its lack of pretension. Likewise, Skate and Surf wasn’t an event for posturing or going for the sake of being seen; it was an event for hearing some of pop-punk’s (and metal/emo/hardcore’s) most exciting, up-and-coming acts and veteran forefathers.