RockStock Returns Saturday

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 After a hiatus last year due to Covid, Rockaway’s biggest summer kickoff party is back! The 15th Annual RockStock and Barrels is on Saturday, June 12.

Jimmy Dowd of St. James NYC, Steve and Christian Stathis of Boarders Surf Shop and Walker Hornung of Into the Whip Records are ready to bring the community out once again and celebrate everything great about Rockaway. From surfing, to skateboarding, local music and vendors, it’ll all be on Beach 90th Street from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

With the new skate park on Beach 90th finally complete, skateboarding will be one of the biggest highlights of this year’s RockStock. “To see the outcome of what we fought for and being able to show that skateboarding isn’t going anywhere and to have everybody compete in that beautiful brand new skate park is just—wow,” said Dowd, who is among many who spent several years maintaining the temporary skateparks at the site and advocating for a skatepark that Rockaway deserved.

About $2,000 in cash and prizes are at stake for the winners of this year’s skate contest thanks to some generous donors. Sponsors include Rockaway Hideaway Properties, a local vacation rental company, Steve Rodriguez of Sticks & Stones, the 2050community and even Red Bull. Skudin Surf has also donated a $1,000 voucher for their indoor wave pool at the American Dream in New Jersey as one of the prizes for the day. Andrew Gelles of Substance Skatepark, another sponsor, will be Emceeing the contest. The contest begins at noon and continues ‘til 4:30 p.m.

Hornung has the job of putting the rock in RockStock and he’s come up with a great lineup to showcase some local talent. The main stage, sponsored by Drink Rockaway and lent out by Bungalow Bar, will be on the boardwalk. Always the supporter of original music, Hornung has invited Brooklyn-based female punk band Witch Slap to kick off the show at 11 a.m. Then starting at noon, any musician or group who wants to come by to play an original song or two can during an open mic session. “It seems there’s not many venues where people can go and play original music, so we want to support that,” Hornung said.

Starting at 1 p.m. are some local musicians that have played since the original RockStock—Bobby Butler and Jenna Baker of “The Butthead and the Booty Shakers,” who may whip out their brand new tune “Nutcracker Man.” Samsara, a group of teens from Queens and Long Island with grunge, funk, metal and alternative influences will take the stage at 2 p.m. Another local favorite, Squid Trio, headed by Guy Nevirs goes on at 3 p.m. At 4 p.m., Walker himself and The Brotherhood of the Grape will perform, including new tunes from their last album “A Sacred Thing,” with a special appearance by B.M.W.A. And at 5 p.m., the family band, from Broad Channel, will be playing some southern classic and jam rock to close out the boardwalk show.

As far as the surf goes, while the Eastern Surfing Association usually hosts the surfing contest, they’re not running it this year. However, surfers might still want to bring their boards out. “Word on the street is there will be some magic on the beach,” Dowd said.

The shopping village will be on the boardwalk, but a bit more limited than in past years. Some of the local vendors include St. James, Boarders, Sweatpeas & Gypsies jewelry, Swellife and more. The Queens Public Library Mobile van will also be on site offering books to borrow and other activities.

While RockStock will go on until 6 p.m., the party won’t end on the boardwalk. The after party will continue at Whit’s End on Beach 97th Street, where Exit Verona will be performing.

After missing out on last year, the organizers can’t wait for Saturday. “We’re super stoked to be back and offer it to the community. We got shut down last year because of Covid like everything else and we’re super excited to jump off the summer season with the festival. It’s free, family friendly and I think the whole neighborhood is pumped for this,” Dowd said. Hornung added, “We do this because we love it. We love surfing and skating and music and we love Rockaway. The love of that Rockaway lifestyle, it’s infectious. People want to be in Rockaway.”

For more information about RockStock, check out www.RockStockNYC.com  and follow @StJamesNYC on Instagram.

By Katie McFadden 

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