Thursday, June 30, 2011

No More Brooklyn "Pool Parties," But Concert-Goers Now Have ROCKBEACH to Look Forward To...If They Can Get There.

If you enjoy the outdoor indie-music scene in New York City, then you probably know about the free "Pool Parties" that have drawn crowds to the Williamsburg Waterfront area, aka the aptly-named East River State Park, for the past two years, and to McCarren Park, for the preceding three years, for epic live concerts combined with fun events like dodgeball, among other pastimes.

The "Pool Parties" by JELLY originally began six years ago, during the summer of 2005, at the site of the defunct McCarren Park pool, which closed in 1984.  However, after plans for the pool's restoration were set forth in late 2008, the 2009 summer shows were officially moved to the East River State Park (although, somewhat ironically, they were still referred to as "The Pool Parties"). Ah, the memories. I had my first and only (thus far...) crowd surfing experience during a Girl Talk concert at the Pool Parties in 2009.

This year, many concert-goers were distraught to learn that these treasured weekly summer parties were no longer going to occur, despite the efforts of Senator Chuck Schumer, among others, to keep the free concerts at the waterfront, as, apparently, according to the Wall Street Journal online, there was a financial/contractual dispute between promoter JELLY and the nonprofit organization that oversees local park events, The Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn. (There WILL still be other ticketed and free shows at the East River State Park this summer, from different concert promoters.  Pop culture website, Bumpershine, has compiled a list here.)

In place of the Pool Parties, however, JELLY announced today that it has teamed up with TOPMAN, a British Menswear company with feelers in both the music and fashion industries, to carry on the tradition of free, live music and dodgeball, and even bring back Slip n' Slide, from the McCarren Park days, in the Rockaways. The once-again ironically named festival, "ROCKBEACH," will take place over six weekend days between July 9 and September 10, and will even have real pools for fun-time frolicking. But, the Rockaways? To many people living in the city, even in the outer boroughs, the Rockaways are a foreign land. However, to alleviate the pressure of making travel arrangements (pretty much the only way to get there is through a very long and intricate ride on the MTA), party buses will be available, for $20 roundtrip, leaving from various, as yet undisclosed, locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. If you RSVP for the ROCKBEACH mailing list, at, you may be eligible to win bus tickets (subject line should read "ROCK BEACH RSVP").

The ROCKBEACH concerts, on July 9, July 24, August 7, August 20, September 3 and September 10, will all take place at the Aviator Sports Complex, located at 3159 Flatbush Avenue, in Rockaway, Brooklyn, New York, near the beaches of Fort Tilden, and the last three shows will also offer camping at Floyd Bennett Field, where the sports complex is located.  (For more on the real concrete jungle camping experience, see the Frugal Traveler's May 2010 article recounting his camping adventure at Floyd Bennett).

Thus far, the lineup has only been announced for the first show, Saturday, July 9, and will include performances by Penguin Prison, Wild Yaks, Janka Nabay and The Bubu Gang, and Monogold. So will ROCKBEACH really rock the beach? You'll have to attend to find out.
Crowd Surfing at Girl Talk -- 2009 Pool Parties, East River State Park

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