Returning to the festival’s original stomping ground — the beach at Asbury Park, NJ — for the first time since its debut in 2003, The Bamboozle 2012 promises that its tenth anniversary celebration will be legendary. Featuring over 100 acts performing on seven stages across the boardwalk, beach, parking lots, and renowned convention center, the last decade has chronicled its evolution from a local skate-punk gathering to one of the east coast’s largest music festivals.
An MTV article from April 2002 wrote about the original Jersey beach feature, what inspired Bamboozle’s current incarnation — the Skate and Surf Fest — which highlighted up-and-coming acts more than high-profile performers. Anyone with $10 and a skateboard or BMX could buy a pass, hit the quarter-pipes and rails, and rock out to local “ska, thrash, emo, pop, and hardcore, [as] punk was the basic flavor of the day.” While a more seasoned Bamboozle has come to headline big-name pop-culture acts, providing development opportunity for local artists is still a core part of its mission.
Every year original local bands vie to be a part of the festival by entering “The Break Contest,” or a battle of the bands whose winner lands a spot on a main stage. About twenty-five finalist groups get to perform on smaller side stages and in after-parties, a huge chance for exposure, as the festival’s December 2011 press release dubbed it one of the east coast’s largest music festivals, which puts it in the forty-plus-thousand-patrons category. While Bamboozle doesn’t officially release how many tickets are sold, some websites estimate even more people, closer to one-hundred thousand fans.
Joining the headliners for each of the three days are an array of bands, some seasoned, some local, all contributing to a wider spread of genres than in previous years. Acts for May 18 include Skrillex, Incubus, and Mac Miller. May 19 welcomes the Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance, Datsik, Less Than Jake and some other “great’s” from the skate and surf scene. May 20 will host Bon Jovi, Brand New, The Gaslight Anthem, Catch 22, and Buckcherry. A complete line-up can be found on Bamboozle’s official website.
To the dismay of many fans, Blink-182, the California based pop-punk band that epitomizes Bamboozle’s aplomb — catchy, punchy, and raucous — withdrew from the line-up, along with cancelling many of their other scheduled tour dates. Travis Barker, the band’s acclaimed drummer, had to undergo an emergency tonsillectomy. “Blink-182 will be greatly missed and all of us at The Bamboozle extend our thoughts and best wishes to Travis for a speedy recovery,” reads a banner on the festival’s website. “However, we are pleased to announce My Chemical Romance who will perform before the Foo Fighters on the main stage on Saturday, May 19.”
The after-party spotlights — some of which are free with a festival pass, others which need tickets that are purchased separately — offer a range of activities for the night owls. Including electronic dance parties, unplugged beach performances, a silent rave (which is similar to Bonnaroo‘s acclaimed “silent disco,” but with a scene-appropriate name), and Tragedy, an all metal tribute to the Bee Gees, rest up before this monumental long-weekend.