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Surfs Up! SEA.HEAR.NOW Catches a Wave at Asbury Park's North Beach

The tides rolled in and so did the music lovers of Asbury Park for 2023’s Sea.Hear.Now extravaganza. The weekend was jam packed with scenic views, melodic guitar-rock tunes, and even better memories to be made. Being our first time ever experiencing Sea.Hear.Now, we were taken back by how gorgeous and inviting the event was. The location took our breath away and convinced us to return again for years to come. For the last six years, Sea.Hear.Now has transformed the boardwalk on North Beach into a safe haven for music lovers of all ages and the uniqueness of the event maintains Sea.Hear.Now as a highly anticipated event to end the summer with.

Sea.Hear.Now first began in 2018 as a music, art, and surf festival, hosting musicians, art exhibitions, and surfing competitions throughout the two day festivities. After only their first year of operation, Sea.Hear.Now was acclaimed as the best new music festival of 2018 by The Pop Break. As much as Sea.Hear.Now is a music festival, the event also showcases art and surfing while additionally raising money annually for ocean-focused environmental charities. In the past, the event has spotlighted pro-surfers such as Quincy Davis and Sam Hammer during their competitions with artists such as Blondie and The Beach Boys providing the ocean’s soundtrack. The event also designates a section to being an art gallery where exhibitions from artists such as Pearl Jam have been displayed. All in all, Sea.Hear.Now is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. So many festivals nowadays are focused on being the most extravagant

yet, Sea.Hear.Now consistently remains a serene and relaxing weekend escape for music lovers of all ages. The event is manageable with only three stages, affordable for both days, and conveniently located beside numerous hotels and tourist attractions. Not to mention children under the age of 6 can attend for free with a ticket holder!

This year, Sea.Hear.Now showcased 30 musical acts alongside 20 surfers, including alternative band The Killers and surf instructor Sam Hammer. Both days were filled with transcending guitar rock tunes and even better views. From your peripheral vision, one could watch the surfers enjoying the waves while dancing with their friends to those on stage. From Saturday’s lineup, our top performances are Living Colour and Greta Van Fleet.

Originating in New York City during the 1980’s, Living Colour currently consists of guitarist Vernon Reid, lead vocalist Corey Glover, drummer Will Calhoun, and bassist Doug Wimbish. Stylically, Living Colour’s sound is a creative fusion influenced by heavy metal, funk, jazz, hip hop, alternative rock, and punk. Their standout lyrics range from topics focusing on personal to political troubles, giving an additional depth to their music vocally. The band's music seamlessly transfers from a track to stages, displaying their comfort in front of live audiences and with their talents. I had never heard of Living Colour prior to their performance at Sea.Hear.Now, however the ensemble is composed of four very polished musicians who phenomenally engage an audience with their groovy melodies and personas.

Next from our personal picks off Saturday’s lineup, is rock band Greta Van Fleet, who, hands down, put on the most high-energy and entertaining performance of the festival. Forming in 2012, Greta Van Fleet consists of brothers Josh, Jake and Sam Kiszka on vocals, guitar and bass, with Danny Wagner on drums. Greta Van Fleet have been a sensation since the beginning of their career, with their debut track “Highway Tune” topping the Billboard U.S. Mainstream Rock and Active Rock charts. In 2019, the band’s album From The Fires took home a Grammy for Best Rock Album and they’ve since played arena shows around the world, harboring a loving, die-hard fanbase.

This is all to say, Greta Van Fleet has mastered the formula to a spectacular show, and they didn’t disappoint Asbury Park for Sea.Hear.Now. Fans waited out all day in the sand to be front row for Greta Van Fleet’s golden hour set, and the moment they stepped on stage, fans knew it was worth the wait. The four piece ensemble were dressed head to toe in extravagant, glimmering clothes. If you could even take your eyes off of the musicians, the stage was just as brilliantly decorated, with flames coming out and a sparkling full drum set. Within the first three songs, each individual artist showcased their talents in separate solo sections, the most thrilling being Danny Wagner’s drum solo and Jake Kiszka’s acoustic guitar section. The set was filled with hard rock riffs, drum rolls, and exaggerated vocals, reminding us all that rock n’ roll is still very much alive and evolving.

As Saturday finally came to an end, Sunday rolled in like the tides at Asbury Beach with another fantastic lineup of musicians and surfers. From Sunday’s sets, our personal favorites were The Beach Boys and Weezer.

As if there couldn’t be a better location for them to perform, The Beach Boys took over Sea.Hear.Now’s Surf Stage with their surf pop tunes. Although the band's lineup has gone through numerous alterations, the music still contains a feeling of nostalgia and nonchalance. The roots of the band go back to a garage where the group first started performing. In the early ages of The Beach Boys, the music centered heavily on beach-related themes until eventually touching on more personal topics, however, the set list for Sea.Hear.Now was stacked with the vacation tunes that put The Beach Boys on the chart. On a side note, the event coordinators for Sea.Hear.Now truly did a magnificent job, not only putting together the event, but selecting performers; The Beach Boys were the perfect selection for this event and attracted masses of all ages to the performance. The Beach Boys have a mixtape of songs that practically everyone is just born knowing, thus even if you don’t know the music by heart, the lighthearted instrumentals and environment will have you dancing along either way.

Following The Beach Boys on Surf Stage was rock band Weezer from Los Angeles, California. The band has consisted of members Rivers Cuomo on vocals, Patrick Wilson on drums, Scott Shriner on bass, and Brian Bell on guitar since 2001, making them a tightly-knit group whose musical skills blend together effortlessly on stage. Weezer’s music has previously been categorized as geek rock for the easygoing tonality and lighthearted topics of the tracks, however the musicians are extremely well-versed on their instruments and can have fun while still sounding refined in front of large masses. Weezer has always been a part of my summer soundtrack since elementary school and was yet another fantastic choice Sea.Hear.Now’s end of summer escape.

If you haven’t yet gotten to experience Sea.Hear.Now for yourself, we highly encourage signing up for updates on next year's experience below to be the first to snag tickets. The annual festival offers a serene getaway to a stunning beach boardwalk filled with music and breathtaking views. The spectacular location is an excellent vacation spot for those traveling in, offering a variety of hotel options practically on the festival grounds of Sea.Hear.Now. Check out our photos below and sign up for updates on the 2024 Sea.Hear.Now experience!



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