Raccoon Times: Rockaway’s Nightlife: A Boardwalk Music Hop

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 If you were hanging around Rockaway this weekend, you know the boardwalk was the place to be for live music and fun. All weekend the Rock!Away! Summer Fest (formerly known Rock!Away! Music Fest) was going on at the Beach 97th concession with a variety of bands and musicians for all ears. Not just local bands but performers from all over came out to the event. Also, on Saturday at Rippers (Beach 86th concession), the Wild Yaks celebrated their album release by performing along with Champagne Superchillin and Sky Creature. Both events kicked off around 5 p.m. and kept me on my feet all night.

The shows went on rain or shine. Fortunately, before the music got underway the weather cleared up and the ocean breeze was reviving. I went on Saturday to check out both venues. I started out at Rippers. Just ahead of Saturday’s event, Rippers finally got its beer/ wine license so the drinks are flowing again! I grabbed myself a nice frozen Beach Juice, which is a frozen tropical Sangria. Yum! On stage, Sky Creature was performing. They play electro dream pop with some classical influence. The music was stimulating, and sonic textures kept everyone on their feet.

Next up it was time to check out the Rockaway Summer Fest on 97th. So I strolled on over, taking in the ocean views along the way. They had quite the line up as well. Mike Delledera, The Tall Pines, Julia’s Guest Room, Sasha Dobson and Vic Thrill and Friends were on the line up for the night. When I arrived, The Tall Pines were ending their set and Julia’s Guest Room was up next. The festival was hosted by Rockaway’s very own Max Power. Power started his Rockaway music series back in 2014 and in 2017 the first music fest came about. “My goal is to shine a light on every venue in Rockaway and keep Rockaway growing as a musical place,” Power said.

Julia’s Guest Room hit the stage and they started out with a cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.”  The lead singer’s vocals were on par with Winehouses. Off to the side, there was a Rock!Away! merch tent selling t-shirts and more. They also had a live painting going on which was really cool to watch. The concessions were busy and every table was full. People of all ages were gathered to rock out to the music. People like Theresa Roedig from Long Island were enjoying the fest. “This is my first time attending and I’m having a lovely night, I love the music,” said Roedig, who is visiting family in Rockaway for the summer.

The next act was Sasha Dobson, an American jazz singer. She was recently added to lineup and people were not disappointed. It was soon time for me to head on back to 86th street to see the happenings over there. The band Champagne Superchillin was wrapping up their set. The main act the Wild Yaks was up next. They have a big following here in Rockaway. The guitarists, Patrick Carroll and Matt Walsh are also Rockaway locals.

As night started to fall, more people crowded around the stage. Not gonna lie, being surrounded by people enjoying music at a concert is a great feeling. Something I definitely missed during Covid. The stage was surrounded and people were standing on the tables in anticipation. The band started up and everyone went wild. People started dancing and jumping to the music and yes, beer went flying. I had a great time listening to the music.

Friend of the band, Daniel Paskoff, who is originally from Rockaway was also enjoying his night. “It was an epic event. I live in San Diego California but there is no place like Rockaway Beach, NY,” Paskoff. said.

The band was happy to be playing at Rippers, where their new live album was recorded. They were grateful for everyone who came. “People are enjoying themselves, partying on the boardwalk and enjoying the summer. Summer is on!” lead singer Robert Bryn said. The Wild Yaks will be playing at the Surf Club on Friday, July 30.

When things started wrapping up, it was time to rock away back to the 97th. Main Act Vic Thrill and Friends was on stage. The rain started but that didn’t stop anyone from dancing. Who doesn’t like dancing in the rain once in a while? Vic Thrill, the lead singer, was happy to perform. “Rockaway is the best place to have a gig, it’s the scene,” he said. “I have been hanging out in Rockaway for a long time and I love it here.”

Everyone was all smiles dancing the night away. They still had music playing after the bands got off the stage. Max Power was happy everyone had a great time and came out to support music. This is something he wishes to continue throughout Rockaway and his life.  “We are about spreading the energy and the goodness of Rockaway and the music that goes everywhere,” Power said. “We brought so many people to Rockaway this weekend and it was beautiful. It was not just me but Rockaway collectively with all the different music events going on.”

To see more events hosted by Power, check out his IG page @Maxpowerpresents. You can also follow @Rockawaybazaar and @Rippers86 to check out events that will be happening on the boardwalk this summer.

By Nicole Taylor-Lang

 

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