Thursday, June 28, 2012

Culture: Punk Island 2012, Governor`s Island, New York City

Punk rules. At least on last Sunday the punks got a whole island for themselves: Governor`s Island. This small and mostly green piece of land south of Manhattan, New York City, was the venue for "Punk Island 2012", a free of charge rock festival. The official website of the organizers (http://punkisland2012) claims that 50 bands attended the huge event and performed on 7 stages!

My girlfriend and I took the ferry from Manhattan, which also was free of charge. We enjoyed the beautiful summer day, strolling over the green meadows from stage to stage, following the sound of the groups. My girlfriend also found a place in the shade and wrote a poem.

I was surprised that not many people visited this spectacle. Maybe the competition from the European Soccer Championship and another rock festival on Randall`s Island, New York City, which happened both at the same time, stole many prospective attendees.

They  missed a lot. The 50 bands delivered a variety of styles. I guess the program showed the state of art in the current punk scene. Some bands served experimental and complex sound pictures. But why not? Punk is now almost 40 years old. That's a lot of time to grow up.

The band I most remember also was the festival´s final act: "Sworn Enemy". This is a hardcore band from Queens, New York City. Their very powerful performance animated their audience to dynamic punk dances.

Being a German I also was surprised that this event was commerce free, I wouldn´t have expected that in America! At similar rock events in Germany there would have been  a lot hawkers offering food, t-shirts and drinks. And they would have sold a lot of alcohol. German rock festivals therefore have some "Oktoberfest attitude". My girlfriend explained to me that Governor´s Island is a state owned property and the lack of alcohol and other commercial offers was part of the permission to hold a music festival there.

"Punk Island" was a very peaceful and friendly party. Those who liked to let some steam off participated at the dynamic circle runs and jump dances before the stages. Others enjoyed the concerts sitting in the grass like attending a family picnic.  I certainly hope that this  event will recur next year.

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