By Elijah Nevlin
ON the weekend of Sept.16 and 17, the Sea.Hear.Now music festival made a triumphant return to the Jersey Shore. Since 2018, the beaches of Asbury Park, New Jersey, have been home to a unique mix of art, surf and music that perfectly encapsulates the town’s history as an artistic hub.
This year was no different, as countless legendary bands took the stage to celebrate the final days of summer. The festival is split between three stages. The Park stage is set in front of the famous Convention Hall and was home to smaller indie acts. The other two stages, named Surf and Sand, sat right on the beach. On the sand in between the two stages sat sculptures and paintings from local artists, while the ocean featured constant surfing.
The first day featured great music across all three stages. The Park stage kicked off with Yawn Mower, the first band heard for many guests as they entered the festival gates. Highlights for the secondary Sand stage included the fun loving Philadelphia band Snacktime, hard hitting garage rock duo Royal Blood and legendary funk metal group Living Colour.
The Surf stage was home to some huge names. Sheryl Crow soaked up the sun in an incredible afternoon show. Greta Van Fleet was highlighted by a flamboyant twelve minute guitar solo. The night one headliners were Vegas legends The Killers. As a band who idolizes Asbury native Bruce Springsteen, they were a perfect choice for the event.
The second day was arguably bigger in terms of star power. On the Park stage, the hottest names were Steven Sanchez and Mt. Joy, the latter of which especially had people flocking to see. The Sand stage saw unfortunate news, as Tegan and Sara were forced to cancel due to illness. The stage headliners, The Breeders, still managed to put on a show strong enough to fill the missing gap.
Over on the Surf stage was perhaps the most fitting band to play a beach, the Beach Boys. Joined by superfan John Stamos, the band’s remaining members played a show at 80 years old that would have you think they were still young, packed with hit songs that transcended generations. Following them was Weezer, who had fans hooked from the moment they walked out, keeping energy high all through the classic “Buddy Holly” guitar solo that closed out their set.
The weekend’s headliners, the Foo Fighters, played a massive two hour set that could have filled a stadium. The show featured a tribute to their late drummer Taylor Hawkins, who passed away last year. Dave Grohl even mentioned the festival “is definitely Taylor’s vibe.”
There was no better climax to the weekend than the cathartic performance of “Everlong.” Sea.Hear.Now was an incredible experience, with music that keeps the spirit of Asbury Park alive.