During the summer in New York, many outdoor venues offer a refreshing summer breeze with their concerts, but few offer a sea breeze. Jake Szufnarowski, formerly a promoter of concerts at Wetlands and the Knitting Factory, now owns Rocks Off–an imaginative company that promotes concerts at several venues, hosts party buses to stadium concerts, offers guided rock ‘n’ roll walking tours of the East Village, and hosts occasional film festivals and podcasts–but he is probably best known for promoting concerts aboard boats. Each year, from June to October, Rocks Off hosts more than 30 concerts aboard several boats that sail casually through the New York Harbor.
On a Rocks Off! cruise, the multi-level boat is already rocking even before the bands. The cruises are a win-win situation. Looking at the stage, the passengers enjoy an intimate setting for a live music performance; looking out the portals or standing on one of the decks, the passengers view stunning nighttime skylines of New York and New Jersey, including several bridges and a close-up of the Statue of Liberty.
The more frequently used boats–the Jewel, the Lucille and the Harbor Lights–have a capacity of 100 to 400, but the cruises are comfortably undersold to avoid overcrowding. Cruises generally embark at 8 p.m. and return to dock about 11 p.m. Throughout the ride, dinner and drinks are available for purchase, and smoking is allowed on the decks. Dinghies are available for those who must leave the boat before it docks. Passengers must be at least 21 years old.
Rocks Off’s 17th Annual Concert Cruise series this summer included performances by the Menzingers, the Slackers, Electric Six, the Funky Meters, Every Time I Die, O-Town, Ryan Cabrera, the New Mastersounds, City of the Sun, Murphy’s Law, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Lucero, the Sonics, Fishbone, Steve Conte, the Pietasters, Murder by Death, the Giraffes, H2O, and several tribute bands.