Rockstock Rocks A Sun-Drenched Year 18!

 Rockstock Rocks A Sun-Drenched Year 18!

By Kami-Leigh Agard

At age 18, when many teens are bragging about their license to drive—this past Saturday, June 22—Rockstock and Barrels NYC Surf/Skate and Music Festival celebrated its 18th year, driving in folks from all over (even across the Atlantic from Paris, France) to Rockaway for a sun-drenched all-day celebration of music, surf, skate, volleyball, shopping and more. As aptly commented by Councilwoman Joann Ariola, “Rockstock defines Rockaway. It’s Rockaway vendors, Rockaway bands, and Rockaway kids showing their talent in the ocean, on the sand, at the skate park, and folks just coming from all over to experience it.”

With temps in the 90s—from early-o’-clock at 8:30 a.m., this year’s Rockstock was chock-full of surfers of various ages in the ocean, competing in surfing heats presided by the Eastern Surfing Association. Happening simultaneously under the beaming sun was the “Ice Cream Volleyball Tournament,” hosted by the Riis Park Volleyball Academy. One parent from Howard Beach, Angela Hubb, whose daughter participated in the volleyball tournament said, “This actually is the first time we’re attending Rockstock. My daughter is here playing volleyball with her friends, and it’s a beautiful day. It’s nice to see so many kids and families out doing a sport they love. And there’s a lot of community out just enjoying the music and food. What a positive experience for families! Our kids are learning the sports they love, while as families, we’re enjoying being by the ocean together here in Rockaway.”

As for the music, Rockstock would not be an 18-year-old mainstay without the always epic, thoughtfully curated music lineup by co-founder, Walker Hornung of Into the Whip Records and band, “Walker and the Brotherhood of the Grape.” This year’s music lineup included: Walker with Indolore and Bill Fleming; Double RR; Thompson Newkirk; Kindergarten; The Set Theory & Friends; Glenn Strange—plus, closing out the day-long event was local favorite, Indaculture and Friends at The Wharf afterparty.

Hornung said, “At age 18, basically—you’re legal to drive, legal to fight in a war, but you can’t buy a beer. What I’m so proud about our 18 years of planning Rockstock is that the neighborhood comes together, and everybody just hangs out, enjoying what makes Rockaway…Rockaway. Also, as a musician and lover of music, I’m so happy to see the community enjoy so much talent in one day, including my son, John, who’s also a musician playing with his band, The Set Theory. Plus, every year, we’re able to attract musicians overseas to play.”

One such overseas music artist is Indolore, a colleague of Walker who came to Rockaway from Paris, France just to perform at Rockstock. The Parisian music artist, Guillaume Simon, said, “I’m originally from a small seaside town in France by the Atlantic Ocean, just like Rockaway. We’re staying at Rogers Hotel. I feel very lucky to be here, plus next week, Walker and I will be reuniting to perform in Paris.”

Local, John McKay, who has attended Rockstock since year one, said that the oceanside event is a Rockaway gem. He said, “I still have the t-shirt from the first-ever Rockstock. To see how Jimmy Dowd and Walker have continued to make Rockstock a Rockaway tradition is amazing. Whatever the weather, each year, locals look forward to it. It’s a Rockaway mainstay.”

After Rockstock’s oceanside event on Beach 90th, the sun-drenched revelry continued at The Wharf with popular rockstars, Indaculture, then the after-afterparty the next day on Sunday, June 23 at The Rockaway Hotel’s poolside.

For Jimmy Dowd, Rockstock co-founder, this year’s weather combined with the overall turnout and feedback—it was all an 18-year exhale. “This is the 18th year. Isn’t that amazing? What really resonates with me is for the 18 years of planning Rockstock is the fact that I see kids, who are now in their twenties or even, early thirties, coming back now to experience different aspects of this festival. And as for people, who mention to me, ‘I remember bringing my first date to Rockstock when I was a teenager,’ it just blows my mind that Rockstock has been around for 18 years. We’ve become a generational thing, and it’s just really cool to see all the different age groups come and go. And, you know, it’s really nice to see that,” Dowd said. “We’re just so happy to see how Rockstock continues to touch so many people in the community.”

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