ROCK! AWAY! Music Festival Takes Over the Peninsula This Weekend


Live music puts the rock in Rockaway and this weekend, the peninsula will surely be rocking as more than 60 bands will take over nine different venues as part of the 2nd Annual ROCK! AWAY! Music Festival, presented by Max Power.

Last year’s inaugural ROCK! AWAY! Festival, mostly held at Riis Park Beach Bazaar, was a big success, but this year, it has exploded in size and awesomeness. Starting Friday, July 13, and continuing right through Sunday, July 15, bands and musicians playing every genre of music you can think of, will be playing across the peninsula. This time around, you’ll find live music from Arverne to Riis Park, with venues including the Rockaway Brewing Company (415 Beach 72nd Street,) The Rockaway Beach Bakery (87-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard), Epstein’s Beach (88-22 Rockaway Beach Boulevard), Rippers Concession on Beach 86th Street, Connolly’s on Beach 95th Street, Low Tide Bar at the Beach 97th Concession, Caracas at the Beach 106th Concession, AB-Studios (111-22 Rockaway Beach Boulevard) and of course, Riis Park Beach Bazaar.

 As far as the kind of music you’ll hear? Festival organizer Matt Preiss, also known as MAX POWER, says—“everything.” “Hip hop, pop, jazz, punk, garage, rock and roll—it literally covers everything. There’s even an open mic at the Brewery on Saturday that will allow anyone to show what they got. We’ll also have some great DJs at Caracas. It’s all about people that create and put out that great energy that music brings,” Preiss said.

The acts will include everyone from local favorites like Big Squid, Wine With Sue, Rattrap Bumpkin, Blame Mercury, the Skells and Blac Rabbit, which recently made it to the Ellen Show, in the mix, plus some other big names like Chris Shifflett of the Foo Fighters playing an acoustic set at Epstein’s, Mobley, a pop artist that’s currently on tour around the country, playing at Epstein’s and Riis Park, one-man band Hastings 3000, the Deaf Poets and more.

In what he calls a “labor of love,” Preis began the ROCK! AWAY! music brand in 2014 to shine a light on Rockaway’s music scene and the many venues that host musicians. This year, with the help of local venues like the beach concessions offering up their venues and acts, that music scene will get more exposure as part of the ROCK! AWAY! Music Festival. With the festival covering such a wide area this year, Preiss has the help of many like Kelly Knapp of Noise Love, who helped book the acts at Rippers this weekend, Kim Gantz of Atypical Sounds, who helped bring in heavy hitter, Mobley to the lineup, Low Tide bringing in Wine With Sue, Caracas who’s featuring Big Squid , and more. “It’s people like that who’ve helped me bring some real fire to ROCK! AWAY!” Preiss said. He also credits Rich Hill with helping him start the ROCK! AWAY! music series in 2014. “He’s very busy now but he’s still helping and if it weren’t for people like him and everyone that’s pitching in, this wouldn’t be happening,” Preiss added.

Most of the shows in the lineup will be free to the public, although some smaller venues like AB Studios, Epstein’s and Rockaway Beach Brewery may have a cover charge from $5 to $10, but Preiss says it’s “well worth it.” The costs help pay for the bands that are playing at those venues.

For a full lineup and details, be sure to check out the schedule on page 16, but also stay updated by visiting, as the schedule is subject to change.

While this year’s ROCK! AWAY! festival may seem big, Preiss says he has plans to go even bigger next year, with more venues, more bands and sponsors to make it an unforgettable Rockaway event.