Asbury Park’s Sea.Hear.Now festival kicked off its inaugural year in a big way last month, when Bruce Springsteen surprised fans by joining California punks Social Distortion onstage for a searing three-song set including “Ring of Fire.”
It was just one special moment of the festival, which brought 45,000 to the shore to celebrate the revival of Asbury Park and watch pro surfing, view art galleries and check out a wildly eclectic crew of artists including Brandi Carlile, Blondie, Incubus, Deer Tick, Ben Harper and Jack Johnson (who apparently hit the waves as well as the stage.)
“The inaugural SHN was fantastic,” says legendary rock photographer Danny Clinch, who organized the festival with promoter and Clinch’s childhood friend, Tim Donnelly. “We were blessed with great weather and good waves and our partners at C3 did a great job with production and execution of our ideas. Our crowds were warm and family friendly and reflected the great vibes that the artists were putting forward. Jonny from Social D said he knew he was in for a great day when he rolled off the tour bus and was staring at the ocean!”
Asbury Park’s historic waterfront has been considerably revitalized due to commercial estate lender and developer IStar, which began acquiring properties in 2009. Part of iStar’s $300 million investment resulted in the reopening of the beloved bowling alley-concert venue, Asbury Lanes (which Springsteen also christened last June) and new luxury condominiums. The sleek Asbury Ocean Club, a new fixture along the Asbury waterfront, opens next year – just in time for Sea.Hear.Now’s second act.
Clinch reveals “we are already working on next year.” The festival announced today that it will be held September 21st and 22nd next year.