Hey, what are you doing on the last weekend in April? If you’re like 85 percent of the music industry and a lot of fans, you’ll be heading to Indio, California, for the 2005 version of the Coachella festival.
But if you’re just a normal fan who doesn’t want to shell out $150 for a two-day Coachella pass (not to mention maxing out that credit card on plane tickets, a hotel room and/or a rental car), then you can head to Asbury Park on the New Jersey shore to catch the Bamboozle Festival, which takes place April 29-May 1 at several venues.
A true anti-Coachella, this year’s Bamboozle is three days of punk and emo in just about every subgenre imaginable: My Chemical Romance, Brand New, Alkaline Trio, Thrice, the Starting Line, Fall Out Boy, the Bouncing Souls, Straylight Run and Flogging Molly are among the headliners, and more than 50 other acts round out the bill. And a ticket for all three days costs just 79 bucks.
The festival was started three years ago by of a couple of Jersey guys — John D’Esposito and Kevin Kopacko — who wanted to not only celebrate the bevy of local talent that’s sprung to national prominence over the past few years (most of the bands on this year’s bill hail from the Garden State or nearby), but also because they were sick of seeing festivals pass up their beloved Asbury Park.
“I came up with the name for the festival one day when I was looking out the window of the Stone Pony [a landmark rock club in Asbury Park], just staring at this building that was three-quarters completed, then just abandoned,” D’Esposito recalled. “And I was like, ‘Some corrupt politician just bamboozled the city again.’
“Asbury lost the Warped Tour to another market a few years ago, and the city has such a rich musical scene and history. It’s had such a rough 12 years, that we wanted to make a festival that would develop as the city develops.”
So they decided to start a festival in the Warped Tour model — low ticket prices, massive lineups — and after two years of calling the Stone Pony home, this year’s Bamboozle has expanded to several other Asbury venues, like the Convention Hall (which also has a storied musical history) and Bradley Park. And even though they’re going up against the Coachella, D’Esposito isn’t worried about Bamboozle going under anytime soon.
“We went up against Bonnaroo a few years ago, and this year, while we have had five to seven bands decline our invitation to play, we’re still getting a ton of cool bands,” he said. “The bands come here for the same reason the kids do: They know it’s going to be a party. It’s a punk-rock spring break. There’s the beach and the hotels, and it’s three days of nonstop music and partying.”
For more information about the Bamboozle festival see www.TheBamboozle.com.