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Makin Waves with Asbury Park Surf Music Festival: Still a thrill

originally published: 08/02/2018

Makin Waves with Asbury Park Surf Music Festival: Still a thrill

Asbury Park Surf Music Festival returns Aug. 16 to 19 to Anchor’s Bend, Convention Hall’s Grand Arcade, the Wonder Bar and The Asbury hotel. The fifth annual Asbury Park Surf Music Festival will feature Satan’s Pilgrims, Surfer Joes & His Band, The Volcanics, Frankie & the Pool Boys, Black Flamingos, The Men in Grey Suits, Great White Caps and more at the main event on Aug. 18 at Anchor’s Bend, as well as dozens of vendors and special activities throughout Convention Hall, plus three other days of events throughout Asbury Park, as well as Highlands. Find out more at PHOTO BY GEORGE KOPP

During the past six years, husband-and-wife team Vincent Minervino and Magdalena O’Connell have parlayed a love of surf rock into a festival, a record label, a band, a DJ business, concert promotion, and other special events.

From Aug. 16 to 19, the Asbury Park Surf Music Festival returns with almost as much fun as getting tubed. The fest actually will kick off in Highlands with a free all-ages show at the Seafarer Bar with sets by Lost Culture, a surf trio from AP. The fun continues on Aug. 17 with Hi-Tide Presents’ monthly Aloha Friday Happy Hour with DJ Devil Bat, aka Robbie Butkowski, the guitarist in Black Flamingos, also drummer Minervino’s band with bassist Declan O’Connell, his brother-in-law. DJ Devil Bat will be spinning on the roof of the Asbury hotel. Surf guitar legend Dick Dale will make the fest nice ‘n’ gnarly when he rocks the Wonder Bar on Aug. 17 with The Volcanics, who’ll also play the main event on Aug. 18 at the Anchor’s Bend with Satan’s Pilgrims, The Madeira, Surfer Joe & His Band, Frankie & the Pool Boys, Black Flamingos, Le Agamemnonz, The Men in Gray Suits, and Great White Caps. But first a “Let’s Go Trippin’” after party to the Dick Dale show will be at The Asbury hotel with live music from Ninth Wave and spins by DJ C Cow of the legendary NYC Tiki bar Otto’s Shrunken Head.

In addition to the slammin’ music, the main event on Aug. 18 throughout Convention Hall will feature Tiki cocktails, barbecue, vendors, a car show, a Twist contest, symposiums on surf guitar and cocktail recipes, and an after party with The Coffin Daggers, DJ Jukebox Jodi and go-go dancer Anna Copa Cabanna. 

On Aug. 19, the festival will feature a Tiki Brunch with Slowey & the Boats back at the Anchor’s Bend, then a free Hangover Pool Party with The Surfrajettes and The Primitive Finks at The Asbury hotel. A screening of the 1963 Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon classic “Beach Party,” featuring the music of Dick Dale, will be shown on The Baronet screen of The Asbury. Finally, Last Call with DJ Hi-Tide & Friends will take place at Little Buddy Hideaway. 

In the following interview, O’Connell not only talks about the Asbury Park Surf Music Festival, but also her and husband’s Hi-Tide record label, concert promotions and DJ gigs, and his band, Black Flamingos.

Question: Take me briefly through the entire festival day by day, what folks should expect and what they shouldn’t miss.

We start the weekend with a pre-party on Aug. 16 at The Seafarer in Highlands, one of our favorite summer spots. They have great food and drinks with a beautiful view of The Atlantic. On a clear day, you can even see NYC! We have a brand new local act Lost Culture playing live that night, we will play some records, and there will be food and drink specials with fire pits!

On Friday, we have an Aloha Friday Happy Hour with Robbie from Black Flamingos playing records and some great cocktail specials on the roof of The Asbury Hotel. We have guitar legend Dick Dale returning to Wonder Bar with our friends The Volcanics from L.A. opening up the show. We’ll end the night in The Soundbooth at The Asbury with more cocktails, Ninth Wave performing live and DJ C Cow spinning vinyl ’til last call.

Saturday is the main event and the format is pretty much the same as previous years: live surf music all day, vintage cocktails, vendors and more. We’d definitely recommend reserving your spot! This year, we have Satan’s Pilgrims as our headliner, who haven’t been to Asbury Park in over a decade! We also have some great up-and-coming bands with some veteran combos that released new music this year. It’s our strongest lineup yet for sure!

The Saturday symposiums are unique, fun and educational. Lorenzo Valdambrini (Surfer Joe) will discuss surf music history with demos of Surfy Industries pedals at 11 a.m. Tickets are an additional $5. Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en will present tips and tricks for building your bar and mixing great cocktails at home. That’s 5 p.m. and tickets are $10!

Sunday, we have a Tiki Brunch with Slowey & The Boats at The Anchor’s Bend, followed by our Hangover Pool Party with The Surfrajettes and The Primitive Finks. We’ll take a short dinner break and meet back up on the roof of The Asbury for a sunset screening of “Beach Party” 1963. We’ll end the night at Little Buddy Hideaway downtown for some more cocktails and vintage vinyl.

Q: What is new with the festival that you’ve never presented before?

In the past, we have had smaller offshoot events. This is the first year we have more consciously made it a full blown weekender. We have also teamed up with businesses in Asbury Park for discounts/perks for festival attendees (just show your ticket). We really want the festival-goers to experience the area. A good percentage are traveling to NJ for the event.

 Makin Waves with Asbury Park Surf Music Festival: Still a thrill

Satan’s Pilgrims will headline this year’s Asbury Park Surf Music Festival on Aug. 18 at the Anchor’s Bend. PHOTO BY DAVID BARAJAS


Q: Which act are you most looking forward to presenting this year and why?

A: That’s a tough question. We are excited for Satan’s Pilgrims, of course! We are releasing a new 45 (RPM) vinyl single from them at the event. We have Les Agamemnonz touring the U.S. for the first time (from France); Frankie and The Pool Boys, who just released an amazing new album and are from California, and our good friends The Volcanics, also from California. We recently had the pleasure of seeing The Madeira live in Ft. Lauderdale at The Hukilau, and we toured with Surfer Joe in Japan, so it will be great to see those guys again. Most of the artists playing the fest this year, we have seen separately, but it will be amazing to see them all on the same bill!

Q: What non-music aspect of the festival are each of you most excited about presenting this year and why?

I am looking forward to the Sunday evening wind-down with “Beach Party” on the roof of The Asbury, and a last toast to the festival weekend at Little Buddy Hideaway. Music-related, we are both excited to enjoy the main acts and relax more than we have in the past on Saturday. These are some of our favorite bands.

Q: Have you concocted any new cocktails? If so, what are they and what do the consist of?

A: Get ready for an updated menu from previous years! We worked with Beam-Suntory, Cruzan Rum, Sipsmith Gin and Suntory Whisky, The Anchor’s Bend staff, and our favorite ‘40s and ‘50s Tiki drink recipes for the big weekend. None too sweet -- all delicious and well balanced! Our personal favorites include the Tokyo Sour right off the Trader Vic’s Tokyo menu and the Singapore Sling.

Q: Out of all the acts performing at the festival, which ones are on your Hi-Tide Recordings label, what did you release as their last record and when, what are you releasing as their next record and when, and how can folks find out about them?

Hi-Tide Recordings artists play throughout the weekend this year are Black Flamingos, ‘Neon Boneyard,’ 2017, with Little Dickman Records; Frankie & The Pool Boys, ‘Ewa on the Beach’ seven-inch, 2018; The Men In Gray Suits, ‘Panic at the Pier,’ 2017; The Primitive Finks, ‘Horror Party Stomp’ seven inch, 2017;  Slowey and The Boats, ‘Set Sail’, 2017); and ‘The Surfrajettes,’ 2017. We have fall/winter releases for The Surfrajettes, The Primitive Finks, Black Flamingos, Les Agamemnonz, and Slowey & The Boats. All music is available on digital outlets, and for physical copies and release info.

Q: Out of all your accomplishments since last year’s festival, whether as a presenter, artist, DJ or entrepreneur, which are you most proud of and why?

The record label, for sure. The response to our artists and releases has been so positive. I am extremely grateful for each person that has bought an album, gone to a show, or supported our bands in some other way. We will continue to introduce new sounds to the surf music genre and make sure there are shows to hear it live!

Q: After the first APSMF in 2014 at the Lanes, did you ever think that Madison Marquette would get so intensely behind the festival with co-promotion, such as the big digital ads in the Grand Arcade?

The Lanes closing was sad, but we have been supported by MM since the very beginning. They gave us the opportunity to hold our event in the sand with the ocean as a backdrop. It doesn't get much better than that.

We are now in our third year working with them, and as the event grows, that hasn’t changed. We have a great relationship with the team. They are always up for trying something new.

Q: What’s up for next year that you couldn’t do this year but plan to going forward and briefly can share?

Planning for next year has already started, and we hope to expand and utilize the boardwalk space moving forward.

Q: After so many years playing and presenting surf music, what is it about it that still is a thrill for each of you?

There are new groups starting all the time. Part of the excitement for us with the festival and label is discovering them -- whether it’s internationally at a show or rough mixes that have been shared with us. There’s a lot of older, traditional-style surf by artists, largely West-Coast, who have been playing for 30 years. We have the best time bringing new groups through on tour for the area fans to check out!

Q: Do you listen to surf music when you don’t have to or do you prefer to listen to something else? If the latter, what and why?

Just the other day, I believe, Vincent said, ‘I don’t know what kind of music I like anymore!’ Our listening habits are so diverse these days, but it’s mostly vintage-inspired sounds.

We have been on a big Boogaloo kick lately, mixing that into DJ gigs, and learning about the history. Funny, it’s from a similar era as the surf music we play too. Yes, we listen to classic to current surf music all the time. At any given moment our house is full of soul, Brit pop, lounge, exotica, space-age-pop, Latin, jazz, etc.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! We appreciate the support with the festival and can’t wait to see everyone down on the sand again on Aug. 18!

Bob Makin is the reporter for and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at And like Makin Waves at

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State Theatre Presents Diana Krall: Turn Up the Quiet Tour
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Diana Krall live in concert as part of her Turn Up The Quiet World Tour on Friday, October 12 at 8:00pm. Tickets range from $43-$153.50.  This concert will feature songs from Diana Krall’s stunning new album, Turn Up The Quiet, out now on Verve Records as well as a mix of some fan favorites. 
Kean Stage Presents The Manhattan Transfer
(UNION, NJ) -- Going strong after more than 45 years, Grammy Award winner The Manhattan Transfer, with tenor vocals from Kean University alumnus Alan Paul '71, will captivate Kean Stage audiences with their distinctive four-part harmonies at Enlow Recital Hall on Sunday, September 30 at 3:00pm.
3rd Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- The North Jersey Indie Rock Festival returns to Jersey City on October 6. Presented by Mint 400 Records and Sniffling Indie Kids, the festival includes acts from those labels and Little Dickman Records, Rhyme and Reason Records, and State Champion Records.  The festival takes place at White Eagle Hall. Doors are at 4:00pm and the music starts at 4:30pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
The Dryden Ensemble Presents Bach Cantata Fest
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The Dryden Ensemble will present a Bach Cantata Fest on Saturday, October 20 at 7:30pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 6587 Upper York Road, Solebury, Pennsylvania, and on Sunday, October 21 at 3:00pm at Miller Chapel, located on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey. Tickets are $25 for general admission and free to students with an ID. They may be purchased at the door or online at
Steve Barton & Robert Darlington From Translator To Perform at Randy Now's Man Cave
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From the Ballpark to the Concert Stage: Bernie Williams LIVE! at The Grunin Center
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“Here’s Lucie!” Lucie Arnaz LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center
Even though the weather outside Holmdel, NJ’s PNC Bank Arts Center is cloudy with some light intermittent drizzle this Wednesday, September 12, 2018 afternoon, the venue’s stage is still shining brightly with talent thanks to a live performance by television, film, and stage actress/singer Lucie Arnaz!
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Virtuoso Jazz Violinist Jean-Luc Ponty LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
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An Interview with Bernie Williams
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Event calendar
Saturday, Sep 22, 2018


Asbury Park Porchfest @ Booskerdoo, Asbury Park - 12:00pm

Carl Chesna & Co. @ Hotel Tides, Asbury Park - 1:00pm

Echoes @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

Cole Swindell @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

GRUPO NICHE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

The History of Motown @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Drake Bell @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live feat. The Glimmer Twins @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Opera Theatre of Montclair Presents Hansel and Gretel @ Central Presbyterian Church, Montclair - 4:00pm

Oscar D’León with Tony Vega and Los Hermanos Moreno @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 8:00pm

SunDog Band at Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ @ Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ, Paterson - 9:00pm

Celtic Thunder X @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Young Person's Concert @ River Dell Middle School Auditorium, River Edge - 1:00pm

Tigerman record release show for “Descend Into Savagery” @ Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Hubby Jenkins @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm


Souvenir @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents SILENT SKY @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 8:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Incorruptible @ Ritz Theatre Company, Haddon Township - 8:00pm

West End Festival of the Arts- Theatre Brut Session 2 @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 2:00pm

Evita @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Claire, Anton et Eux" @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College, Princeton - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

HUMAN ERROR by Eric Pfeffinger @ West Windsor Arts Center, Princeton Junction - 8:00pm

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Assisted Living: The Musical @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 2:00pm

Brick City @ Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union - 3:00pm


SWAN LAKE - THE ATLANTIC CITY BALLET @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 7:00pm

SOLE Defined @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


Monthly Saturday Writing Retreats @ Tiferet Journal, Bernardsville - 9:00am

View all events


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