By Charles Layton
Bamboozle, the giant music festival, comes to Asbury Park the weekend of May 18-20, so the question is, how will that affect us?
“We’ll probably be seeing a lot of drunks” — Neptune Mayor Randy Bishop.
“”We are going to have quite the little disaster on our hands” — Neptune Committeewoman Mary Beth Jahn.
“A nightmare” — The triCity News.
That’s the scary scenario. The promoters and Asbury Park officials paint a happier picture: Safe and under control is their prediction. But even if they are right, the tens of thousands of young music fans will surely clog streets and make parking much more of a headache than usual.
Jahn thinks Ocean Grovers should expect to be “trapped in your homes with only the Parkway Market to sustain you.” She suggests that everyone who has a parking space in the Grove should stay put throughout the weekend. Don’t drive to the supermarket for ice cream and expect it not to melt before you can get home, she says.
Crowd estimates have been lowered in recent days. Original estimates were for 110,000 to 120,000 people over three days. At the Tuesday night meeting of the Neptune Democratic Club, Bishop said between 140,000 and 175,000 might come. But this week, based on advance ticket sales, the promoters are predicting only about 90,000 total — 20,000 on Friday, 40,000 on Saturday and 30,000 on Sunday.
Some 80 musical acts are expected to perform, including Foo Fighters, Skrillex, Incubus, The Gaslight Anthem and, for the old timers, Bon Jovi. One of the most popular bands, Blink-182, canceled this week because its drummer had to have an emergency tolsillectomy.
The annual Bamboozle event began in 2003 as a jam-band weekend at the Stone Pony, but moved to the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford in 2006 because it had outgrown Asbury Park.
This year marks its return to Asbury, an indication that our neighbor to the north has truly arrived as a leading music venue. Most of the action will be on seven stages along the boardwalk between The Paramount Theater and Eighth Avenue. The main stage will be right on the beach.
Police will barricade the boardwalk area north of Convention Hall, and no one will be allowed in without a festival wristband. The promoters will provide some 9,700 parking spaces at Monmouth Park, with shuttle buses hauling people in from there. Others will arrive by train at the Asbury station. Still others will be dropped off by their parents and picked up later.
Neptune officials say several hundred out-of-town security and emergency people will be coming into Asbury to help out. The Neptune PD will help with traffic in and out, costing a considerable amount of police overtime. But the Township will be reimbursed for that and other expenses connected with Bamboozle.
Band performances begin each afternoon and run late into the evening, but after the performances there will be “after parties,” which doubtless will run for hours past midnight.
Bishop predicts that people who miss their buses out of town will end up sleeping on the beaches.
“What’s going to happen,” he asks, “when you have people passed out all over the place, and when you have people trying to take advantage of people passed out all over the place?”
We’ll find out, won’t we.