A Look At This Weekend’s Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival – June 10-12 – Asbury Park, NJ

With its anti-establishment esthetic, punk rock doesn’t always pair too well with sports aside from its association with skateboarding. But Boston hardcore has a deep connection to hockey. The Beastie Boys were part of a whole basketball/underground music crossover. Much like the early UK, punks and soccer hooligans today run in the same circles. And then there’s the 10 pin….

Yep, Punk Rock Bowling is coming to Asbury Park, June 10-12.

Bowling and punk rock formally met in the ’90s, with a few labels and bands running bowling leagues in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Around 2002 (no one can seem to remember) it became a full festival by the Stern brothers of the Better Youth Organization/Youth Brigade in Las Vegas with favorite punk bands from every era, copious drinking, and over 200 bowling squads from around the world. Now that festival will see pins knocked locally with main gigs at the Stone Pony Summer Stage on June 11 and 12, and smaller club shows around Asbury.

“I’m praying for waves in Asbury,” laughs Mark Stern, event director and drummer for Youth Brigade for the last million years. “We’ve been coming to Asbury Park for years now to visit with our friends the Bouncing Souls and Chunksaah Records, play shows at the Asbury Lanes, and surf in the Atlantic Ocean. We’ve seen the city grow over the past 15 years with all the new venues, bars and restaurants, and it just seemed like the perfect place to bring our event. We understood that a lot of people on the East Coast would love to attend Punk Rock Bowling but can’t make the trek across country to Las Vegas, so we decided to have an East Coast version, since there is such a vibrant punk scene out there.”

The main attraction will certainly be the headline shows featuring some of punk and hardcore’s most revered bands. Saturday starts with AP locals Lost In Society and Sketchy, before Long Island’s Iron Chic, Giuda from Italy, 88 Fingers Louie for some ’90s throwback, and NYC’s H2O. By evening, the original British punks The Subhumans will be firing off tracks from their 35-year history, followed by DC’s iconic Dag Nasty and the legendary Descendents, who have Hypercaffium Spazzinate coming out in July, their first record since 2004.

The Sunday show opens with Canada’s Brutal Youth, followed by up-and-coming New Jersey punks The Scandals, relentlessly melodic Drug Church from Albany, loved Midwesterners Off With Their Heads, the antagonistic Anti-Nowhere League, and New York’s smooth masters of reggae, ska, and soul, The Slackers. Then everything gets turned up a notch as NYCH stalwarts Agnostic Front assault Asbury, before the Morris-Dudowski-Stevenson-Cadena-Egerton version of (Black) Flag takes over and hands it off to London’s Cock Sparrer.

It should be something. Since these are long days, Punk Rock Bowling is also bringing in additional food vendors, giving you plenty of options to choose from. If you haven’t heard, AP’s become quite the street food hot spot.

And there will be those focused on bowling as well, which is a one-day tournament on June 11 at Bradley Beach Bowl in nearby Bradley Beach. There will be 26 teams of four bowlers each, bowling three games “league style,” the top four of which receive a cash prize. They’ve also made it very clear in 2016 that there ain’t no semi-pro bowlers allowed, after some no-good ringers cheated in Vegas last year.

Things officially kick off Friday night, June 10, with The Bronx headlining The Stone Pony, supported by The Falcon, Night Birds and The Lippies. Or the ska kids can walk two blocks north and catch Mephiskapehles with the Hub City Stompers, Moral Panic, and Suspect at the Wonder Bar.

The party will be reaching crescendo Saturday night, June 11, when The Virus headlines the Wonder Bar, an after party to the Summer Stage festivities, with Blanks 77 and Pears. That same night, inside the Pony will host Mariachi El Bronx with World/Inferno Friendship Society and Morning Glory.

“We are hoping that this will be the first of many years to come,” adds Stern. “The response has been great so far and we urge everyone to get tickets early as the capacity isn’t as big as Vegas, and this is looking like it will sell out.”

If you’re into 7-inch splits, 7-10 splits, and split lips, this could be a good way to kick off your summer.


The Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival takes place June 10-12 in Asbury Park, NJ. For tickets, lineups and additional information, go to punkrockbowling.com.