Punk in the Park Music Festival 2022 Delivers Surprises, Joyous Moments, and Memorable Music
DAY 1 – PHOTO GALLERIES
Bad Religion | Face to Face | The Vandals | The Adolescents | 7 Seconds | Manic Hispanic | Subhumans
The Bronx | Bad Cop/Bad Cop | The Flatliners | Love Canal | The Briefs
DAY 2 – PHOTO GALLERIES
Anti-Flag | Good Riddance | CH3 | Pulley | Beach Rats | Mercy Music | The Vulturas | Winter Haven
Punk in the Park is always a great time! Free alcohol for the first three hours at any event ensures there won’t be dull moment. Mix that with a truly motivated punk scene and you’ve got the makings for amazing moments and endless memories. A well-organized event with a stellar line up, Punk in the Park doesn’t disappoint.
Day #1 – Saturday served up one amazing band after the other. The Bronx owned the stage with their gritty lyrics and hard-driving energy. Vocalist, Matt Caughthran has the presence of a hard-core punk singer from the late 1980’s. His lyrics, stage presence, and voice are a testament to the opening days of hard-core and the band’s hard and tight riffs are well-thought out with a motivated sound that demands the attention of anyone fortunate enough to stumble upon their set.
Subhumans were another fun and nostalgic band that made the event feel like a standout. Dick Lucas and the boys are old as shit (aren’t we all?!); but they have not slowed down at all. Watching Subhumans play brought back memories of shows in the 80’s, taking people back to the days when punk rock had no rules except to have fun and pick up the guy that gets knocked down in the pit.
Perhaps the biggest question at Punk in the Park was who would be performing in place of Dead Kennedys. Punk in the Park was able to pivot and ensure a wonderfully fun and energized set by a “Surprise Guest”. When it was announced a week before the event that the legendary drummer of Dead Kennedys, D.H. Peligro, had died in his home, there was sadness, disappointment, and speculation about who would replace Dead Kennedys at Punk in the Park. A truly irreplaceable band, the thought of another band taking their set time was tough.
As a promoter what do you do? Leave a 30-minute unfilled slot in the middle of your event? No, you do not; you fill it with someone awesome and you make it a surprise. That’s what Punk in the Park promoters did; they filled the set. The anticipation was swelling all day with rumors of who would take the stage in place of Dead Kennedys. I heard every name from Black Flag to TSOL. But when I heard the first cords of “Urban Struggle” (before anyone had taken the stage) I knew it was The Vandals.
The moment the guitar started that very recognizable riff, the crowd grew silent, and the band took the stage with an energized, full-bodied rendition of their most recognizable song. The crowd reacted in unison; exploding into several huge pits, people crowd surfing, dancing, and screaming. The Vandals played arguably one of their best sets at Punk in the Park this year, seemingly in honor of D.H. Peligro and their brothers, Dead Kennedys.
We did overhear a few complaints, which hardly overshadowed the glory of the event (these aren’t our personal complaints as we arrive prepared for most anything).
- No wi-fi – “I spent the whole time trying to find my friends”
- Freezing cold nights were a very real issue – “Why the hell don’t you have this event two weeks earlier?”
- And the random porta-potty complaints (You’re punk rock, you should be able to handle an outhouse!)
However, we did have one personal inquiry worth mentioning. Sunday’s lineup opened with The Vulturas who took the stage at 12:15pm. There was a huge line stuck at the gate, unable to get in. Why not start admittance early enough for everyone to get to the stage? I’m not sure if the booking agents at Punk in the Park are aware, but The Vulturas are loaded with amazing band members, including some punk rock legends; one of the best punk bassists in the world (Matt Freeman) and Manic Hispanic (co-front man) Louie Perez III, guitarist Rob Milucky of Devil’s Bridgade, Joel Ronamoe on drums, and Gilbert Pichardo on Rhythm Guitar!
As I stood there watching Louie perform to the people who had managed to get through the gate on time for “Fractured”, I was thinking… how did this happen? Who didn’t see that this was not enough time to get everyone in? Also, who in their right mind didn’t know that this band is way more than “up and coming”? The Vulturas have arrived, they have “Headliner” written all over them! I totally expect to see them in a better time slot next time for sure!
After The Vulturas got Day #2 up and running with their amazing, explosive energy, we prepared for the rest of Sunday’s lineup, which had no lack of punk rock talent. Every band was great. Agent Orange brought a solid performance that was a crowd pleaser with the usual sing-alongs and large pit antics. But, for me, Sunday’s standout performance came from Anti-Flag.
I was standing next to a couple who had brought their 13-year-old son to his first concert. He was nervous, but anxious to see his favorite band, Anti-Flag. Deep in the crowd, ready for the inevitable pushing and dancing, he stood at the ready, eager to catch a glimpse of his first punk show up close. And then it happened, Anti-Flag took the stage in all their glory.
Full of life and protest, energy and talent. Anti-Flag makes you feel like they are playing for you alone, like this is their last chance to make their important message heard, like the world’s solutions rest on their shoulders, like they have something to prove; every single time I see them play I feel like they are literally playing to save lives.
The energy, the message, the intensity, none of it was lost for even a moment on this young man that stood next to me. His face ablaze with shock and joy and fear all at once. Isn’t that exactly why we all go to punk shows still? For the shock and the joy and the fear all at once? When Justin asked the crowd to put their middle fingers up to oppression, the boy looked at me as if to ask for permission. I said, “go ahead only if you want to, it’s your punk show now”. His face glowed with excitement, and he raised his hand, jumped in his spot, and smiled like he had just been liberated. Thank you, Anti-Flag, you liberate us every time you take the stage.
– 13 Stitches Magazine