The weekend was finally upon us. While the sun was hiding behind clouds and rain the entire weekend, music lovers from the tri-state area and beyond convened in the Six Flags parking lot in Jackson, NJ (conveniently located next to the worlds tallest roller coaster, King Da Ka).
Just by looking at the hefty line-up it was clear Skate and Surf had a lot of expectations to live up to coming into the weekend. With the fact in mind that this festival was revived from years past, many had expectations that the festival would be executed at the same caliber that it used to be. Many were also interested in seeing what it would become.
Several of those who would have attended the usual Jersey festival held at this time of year called Bamboozle found themselves at Skate and Surf hoping that it’d be just as incredible as past festivals.
The festival was supposed to take place at Plaza Green at iPlay America in Freehold, New Jersey but was moved to Six Flags Great Adventure for the weekend to hold more attendees. While the move seemed to have made sense at first, I believe this was the pivotal downfall of the ultimate success of Skate and Surf.
In my eyes the festival had its highs, but unfortunately also had its inevitable lows.
Getting to Skate and Surf was a struggle in itself. The doors didn’t open until 2 p.m. and traffic was unreal. People wanted to get to this festival early, and considering the line-up I can’t really blame them. I was only coming from the suburbs of Philly, and sat in a line of traffic for over an hour just to get into the park.
Finally, I grabbed my press pass and headed into the festival around 2:45 p.m. As I mentioned earlier, the weather was not ideal for an outdoor festival by any means. I don’t blame Skate and Surf for something they can’t control, however none of the stages were covered which put all the bands at risk for ruining extremely expensive instruments and equipment. If I was an artist playing, I’d be hesitant to play too. It seemed that Skate and Surf made do with what they could, but the chance of electrocution hung over for most of the day.
Upon entering the soggy festival grounds, I headed straight to the Fueled By Ramen tent to meet up with my friend Maria (pictured with me in the picstitch bottom right hand corner!), luckily she was there working so I had someone to hang with for the day. I then went over to the To Write Love On Her Arms tent to get my interview with them done before hitting the stages. (Be on the look out for that later in the week!)
It took me a second to realize the four smaller stages were directly next to each other. Even though the two stages on each side would switch off, depending on the band sometimes the stages on the other side were too overbearing and their sounds would bleed together. This made it difficult to focus on one bands sound sometimes and you could tell that some of the artists had a hard time hearing themselves while they performed.
While the festival catered to almost every genre imaginable, Saturday’s bands were definitely heavy Pop Punk- based bands. I spent the day running around from stage to stage staying for two or three songs of each set.
Surprisingly though, the first artist I was able to catch was T. Mills on the main stage. I am by no means a fan of T. Mills, but I will give him credit in the fact that he has fun with what he’s doing. His persona on stage is something else, but what captivated me most is when he dedicated a song to his grandmother who recently passed away. He showed a side of T.Mills that isn’t usually seen, which I thought was pretty sweet.
The first full band I caught was Brooklyn’s own American Authors, and these guys knew how to have fun with the crowd. They fed off the energy that was put forth by the kids who didn’t let a little rain ruin their fun. I’ve never seen or heard of them before, but I really liked their style.
Hundredth was the next band I watched and boy was I in for a crazy ride. They were another band I had never heard or seen before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. The crowd this time was a lot more intense, and the security in the pit even had to carry kids out for getting too wild.
I found myself wondering over to Balance and Composure’s set, which seemed to draw a big crowd. It became clear that the Aquarian Bigger stage crowd wise was continuously growing as night fell considering Into It. Over It. And Transit (pictured top left hand corner of picstitch) were set to follow B&C.
The main stage was running late all day, causing a serious issue for the closing acts and the pushing back of many set times. However, this worked in my favor because I was lucky enough to be able to catch Paradise Fears (pictured bottom left hand corner or picstitch) on the Aquarian Better stage and Mayday Parade (pictured top row center of picstitch) on the main stage with enough time to run back to Aquarian Better stage to one of the hometown Jersey natives I Call Fives’ set to catch their last and my favorite song, “Elevator Music” (pictured top right hand corner of picstitch)
Sadly, Paradise Fears set fell short due to technical difficulties because of the rain but they made sure to slip in their hits. This was my first time seeing them live, and I really enjoy their pop sound. My favorite song, “Sanctuary” was awesome to hear live, especially because of vocalist Sam Miller’s inspirational spoken word/rap in the middle of the song.
Mayday’s set never disappoints for me. They’re one of my favorite bands and their live performance is something I always look forward to. Seeing them perform as the rain got harder was actually such a cool experience. I’m an avid concert goer and you’ll always see me in the pit, however when I have a press pass I usually like to kick back and enjoy the show. I couldn’t help myself though when Mayday Parade was on stage. You don’t know truly what dancing in the pit to “Jersey” is until you do it in the pouring rain in New Jersey.
At this point in the night, the crowd was growing restless. YouTube sensation Timeflies hit the main stage next and the crowd wasn’t afraid to make it known that they wanted Fall Out Boy. During Timeflies set, it was easy to hear the chants for Fall Out Boy over the singer’s voice.
Almost an hour later than the planned set time, the moment everyone was waiting for was finally here. Fall Out Boy is most definitely back and after their 16 song set, it is safe to say the crowd welcomed them back with open arms. There are few moments in my life that can compare to seeing Fall Out Boy perform “Sugar We’re Going Down” in the pouring rain. Fall Out Boy kept thanking everyone for sticking out in the rain, and didn’t take much time to stop between songs in hopes to fit their entire set in. One of my favorite moments of their set was when they were introducing their song “Save Rock and Roll”. Bassist Pete Wentz explained how the title is essentially a joke but the fact that thousands of people were outside enduring the rain at a rock show was what rock and roll is and should be.
All in all, Skate and Surf: Day One was wet, chaotic, and a little bit of a struggle to get through with major technical difficulties. It seemed throughout the day organization was no where to be found. I think the biggest miscommunication was between the six flags staff/security and the actual Skate and Surf staff. No one really knew what was going on or when which made it difficult to keep the day running smoothly. However, the bands for the most part respected the kids who stuck it out, which I thought was pretty cool. Many of the bands said during their sets that you’d only find kids in New Jersey and the tri-state area scene who have this much heart for their music regardless of the weather.