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AP.net Review: Skate and Surf Weekend

Posted by: Thomas Nassiff (05/22/13)
Hop to the replies to check out my full review of last weekend's Skate and Surf festivities. You all may have heard the negatives about it in our open thread -- but there were some positives to be realized as well.
If Skate and Surf doesn’t return next year, we’ll know why. It paled in comparison to 2012’s Bamboozle, which on its own wasn’t a perfect experience... But if you came to see good bands, you left Six Flags Great Adventure having seen plenty of them.
 
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05:23 AM on 05/22/13
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Thomas Nassiff
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Skate and Surf ReviewsSome details about Skate and Surf have made their way out onto the Internet over the past few days. The big takeaway is that many attendees considered it to be something of a disaster. That’s a pretty fair summary of the two-day festival that was held at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ.

But, like there is in so many things, within the fiasco of Skate and Surf there is a major positive to be realized.

When you’re stuck in seemingly constant rain for two days straight, and when you’re in a big parking lot in New Jersey, and when you’re regretting how much you paid to be in that parking lot, and when you’re realizing that you aren’t experiencing what you thought you’d be experiencing, it’s pretty easy to get fed up. But if Skate and Surf attendees last weekend were angry during their experience, they at least didn’t do one thing: They didn’t leave. Maybe there weren’t as many people at the festival as there should have been...but the people who did show up came to stay.

I think it speaks to the power of music people love. There isn’t much that can deter a passionate young person from seeing a band that he or she likes if he or she really wants to see them -- whether that band is Miss May I or Glassjaw, Crown the Empire or Saves the Day. Not 48 hours of rain. Not stages that are set up so close that bands are drowning each other out between songs. Not the fact that most of the bands are kinda bummed out to be there.

When you’re seeing Into It. Over It. play with a full band for the first time, who cares that you can hear a generic metalcore sextet in the not-so-distant distance while Evan Weiss is tuning his guitar? When you’re losing your shit belting along to Balance and Composure’s closing bulldozer of “I Tore You Apart In My Head,” who cares if you feel like you’ll never be dry again? When Transit is ripping through “Please Head North,” are you pouting about the fact that your day-so-far hasn’t been as magical as you imagined? Isn’t the two-hour wait to pick up your wristband at will call worth it when Patrick Stump is ending your night singing into a microphone perched upon a grand piano?

For all of Skate and Surf’s drawbacks -- and it had plenty -- it had one crucially important thing going for it. The festival had an absolutely killer lineup. All of those bands I just listed played on Saturday alone -- and they were accompanied by Streetlight Manifesto, Andrew WK, Mayday Parade, Coasta, Mixtapes and more to boot. That’s about as decent a billing as you can get for a festival like this.

Sunday saw more big names. The main stage alone featured this series of performances: Bayside, followed by Saves The Day, followed by Rx Bandits, followed by Glassjaw. The festival catered to the masses, though, as A Day To Remember and the surprisingly delightful Macklemore & Ryan Lewis rounded out that stage’s night. Elsewhere on the grounds, Hostage Calm, Daylight, Cartel and Leathermouth all put on solid sets.

Good music proved it can rise above a lot of disappointment. Daylight frontman Taylor Madison hit a sweet spot when he asked the crowd, “Well this is a shit-show, isn’t it?” It was. He knew it and the crowd knew it. Madison’s band was playing on a stage in the rain with no cover over it because the side stages looked like they came out of a Fisher-Price “My First Festival” playset. (I think I took that joke from someone on Twitter, but I can’t remember at the moment.) But Daylight played a number of grunge-tastic numbers from its latest release, Jar, and during a few moments, no one at the shit-show really cared about the fact that maybe they could have built a better stage in their backyards.

Those moments came often. They came during all of Fall Out Boy’s glorious set to close Saturday’s rain-soaked activities. Did they start their set over an hour after they were supposed to? Yeah, they did. But you know what? I got to watch Seahaven because of that hour-long main-stage delay. So you know, there’s a silver lining in everything.

If Skate and Surf doesn’t return next year, we’ll know why. It paled in comparison to 2012’s Bamboozle, which on its own wasn’t a perfect experience. It surely made everyone appreciate how smoothly a festival like Warped Tour constantly operates. It certainly made a few people regret their road trips or airfare purchases. But if you came to see good bands, you left Six Flags Great Adventure having seen plenty of them. You also left having ridden some pretty cool roller coasters, even if the security detail was doing an embarrassingly bad job of managing who was coming in/out of the amusement park/festival grounds. The lion’s share of bands were total professionals, putting up with the conditions and doing their jobs in an excellent manner, delivering quality performances.

In a weekend where positives had to be actively searched for, we were able to find an important one. At the end of the muddy day, the music won.
05:41 AM on 05/22/13
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ViTOP
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Music >
06:43 AM on 05/22/13
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BallOutBoy
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This pretty much sums it up. Traffic was a joke, security was a joke, the will call line/organization was a joke, the stage set ups were a god damn atrocity, almost nothing was on the proper schedule, plenty of shit John D promised simply didn't happen.

But at the end of the day, even after missing Candy Hearts, Coasta, and Mixtapes due to the asinine will call process, I still enjoyed all the music I got to see.

Fall Out Boy was incredible, Streetlight Manifesto was amazing, Seahaven and Into It. Over It. put on incredible sets. Glassjaw, RX Bandits, and Saves the Day were all amazing (especially Glassjaw. Holy shit). I even got to see Hostage Calm (one of my favorite bands) in a super intimate setting as most of the crowd was at the main stage for Bayside (and I only missed a couple Bayside songs as a result) and that was worth the rain and money alone. Even Macklemore turned out to be a lot of fun.

Basically, the only thing John D succeeded in was booking talented and professional bands. The bands and the music saved this thing for everyone. They saved it from John D's giant ego and inability to back up his words with action, they saved it from him pushing his bullshit Gamechanger nonsense, they saved it from the odd decision to book shitty DJs that literally no one wanted or cared about between bands. They saved it from all of that.
07:08 AM on 05/22/13
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Chuck!
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Thanks for the honest assessment given that AP (I think?) was a sponsor this year.

I couldn't be happier that I skipped this. When I think about the early Bamboozles I went to, it's puzzling that John D is apparently so incompetent now.
07:39 AM on 05/22/13
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Such an accurate assessment. Skate & Surf was a complete disaster, but it was an extremely enjoyable disaster. It would have solved so many problems if they simply put roofs over the stages. But oh well, I got to see so many amazing bands play incredible sets (FOB, Streetlight, Hundredth, Hostage Calm, Macklemore, Issues, and so many more.) Of Mice & Men's performance kind of summed up the whole entire festival though. After around a half hour delay or so that was filled with pouring rain, technical difficulties and waiting, OM&M finally took the stage. They took the stage in a very different way though, Austin's didn't have a microphone and the guitars weren't working. The crowd sang every single word of every song and just had a complete blast despite the shitty situation.....basically the definition of how Skate & Surf went. Even though everything that could have went wrong, went wrong, I wouldn't have had it any other way.
07:49 AM on 05/22/13
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TheRealJohnOC
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There were a lot of things I was pissed about but I had no complaints about the music. Almost every band I saw gave it their all and as a fan, you can't ask for much more. Plus, one of the best sets of the weekend wouldn't have happened if there was no rain. If you saw Of Mice and Men on Saturday, you saw something special. The band could have cancelled their set since the rain flooded out the stage and the equipment. The first two songs only had bass and drums. No guitars and no vocals. Austin and the boys led the crowd in belting every word. It was a pretty magical thing to experience. Most of the stage problems weren't John's fault either. They had a covering for the mainstage but couldn't put it up thanks to the fire marshall. They also had a little tarp for each of the side stages but the fire marshall X'd that off. There was supposed to be a VIP viewing area. Guess who nixed that idea? Was it a disaster overall? Absolutely. Did the music outweigh my bitching? Absolutely.
08:44 AM on 05/22/13
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This was a good review man, I've always appreciated warped tour because of it's consistency. It's a shame of what's become of our former Boozle/S&S but hopefully something good will come of this.
09:16 AM on 05/22/13
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I knew this would be a pile of shit from the word go. The original plan to have it at iPlay would have been even worse. This is just a piss poor job by everyone involved. I'm very happy that I didn't waste my money or my time with this.
09:24 AM on 05/22/13
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There were a lot of things I was pissed about but I had no complaints about the music. Almost every band I saw gave it their all and as a fan, you can't ask for much more. Plus, one of the best sets of the weekend wouldn't have happened if there was no rain. If you saw Of Mice and Men on Saturday, you saw something special. The band could have cancelled their set since the rain flooded out the stage and the equipment. The first two songs only had bass and drums. No guitars and no vocals. Austin and the boys led the crowd in belting every word. It was a pretty magical thing to experience. Most of the stage problems weren't John's fault either. They had a covering for the mainstage but couldn't put it up thanks to the fire marshall. They also had a little tarp for each of the side stages but the fire marshall X'd that off. There was supposed to be a VIP viewing area. Guess who nixed that idea? Was it a disaster overall? Absolutely. Did the music outweigh my bitching? Absolutely.

I run a major outdoor event complete with stages, coverings, etc. and all it takes is one quick meeting with a fire marshall pre-event to know what you can and cannot do. If John had done that he could have found alternatives, made other arrangements, etc.

The fact that stage covers and VIP areas didn't come up when meeting with Six Flags about holding the festival is a joke and shows complete disorganization. Trust me, if this wasn't discussed pre-event, it is absolutely John's fault. These problems are preventable.
09:58 AM on 05/22/13
xBranx
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This was a fucking awesome read.
10:14 AM on 05/22/13
WhatJulianSaid
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I run a major outdoor event complete with stages, coverings, etc. and all it takes is one quick meeting with a fire marshall pre-event to know what you can and cannot do. If John had done that he could have found alternatives, made other arrangements, etc.

The fact that stage covers and VIP areas didn't come up when meeting with Six Flags about holding the festival is a joke and shows complete disorganization. Trust me, if this wasn't discussed pre-event, it is absolutely John's fault. These problems are preventable.
tell that to undermydreams mannn hahaha
11:10 AM on 05/22/13
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tell that to undermydreams mannn hahaha


Haha I wasn't following the original thread, what did I miss?!
11:13 AM on 05/22/13
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Haha I wasn't following the original thread, what did I miss?!
Well, I'm sure nothing that you didn't already know about him haha he just defends the worst people/organizations sometimes. I can't stand "snobs" like that and neither can a lot of people on here, he was getting catty that I complained about all the flaws within the festival pretty much haha
11:26 AM on 05/22/13
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I have a feeling Bamboozle will be back next year with John D and Skate and Surf will not happen again.
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