Thousands Arriving for Festival in Asbury Park

Coaster Photo – A five-story stage is rising at the north end of the Asbury Park beachfront for the Sea.Hear. Now festival

By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI  

Music will fill the air at the north end of Asbury Park this weekend as the Sea.Hear.Now festival arrives, bringing with it an estimated 20,000 people.

Restaurants and bars are preparing along with area police departments.

The two day festival, Sept. 29 and 30 with headliner Incubus, will be held on three stages specially built for the event located on the north end beach and in Bradley Park.

It will feature over 25 bands including Jack Johnson, Incubus, Social Distortion, Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals, Blondie and more, along with unique art and surf culture experiences.

“The festival producers, Danny Clinch of Between The Sets, and C3 Presents, the team behind events such as Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, are the best in the business,” Councilwoman Eileen Chapman said. “We know what they are going to bring to the city is going to be spectacular and we look forward to this being the first of many Sea.Hear.Now Festivals in Asbury Park.”

Several streets will be closed to traffic during the event starting Fri., Sept. 28 at 9 a.m. until Mon., Oct. 1 at 6 a.m.

They include Ocean Avenue from 4th Avenue to Deal Lake Drive; Kingsley Street from Fourth Avenue to Sunset Avenue and Fifth, Sunset, and Sixth and Seventh Avenues between Ocean Avenue and Kingsley Street.

There are also several beach closures with Sunset, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Avenue beaches closed, including the dog beach from Friday until Tues., Oct. 2 at 9 a.m.

Fisherman’s Parking Lot will not be accessible to the public starting Fri., Sept. 28 at 8 a.m. until Wed., Oct. 3 at 5 p.m.

The Boardwalk from Convention Hall to Eighth Avenue will not be accessible to the public on FridaySaturday and Sunday. Beach lockers will also not be accessible during the festival.

The Grand Arcade at Convention Hall will be closed to the public Saturday and Sunday.
James Douglas, general manager of Anchor’s Bend restaurant along with the Oyster Bar and Beach Bar, said his three restaurants are located in the festival’s footprints so only ticket holders will be allowed in.

“We are preparing ourselves for an influx…they expect 20,000 people per day,” he said. “We are getting ready like it is a really good Saturday or Sunday.”

Douglas also said they would streamline the menu to items that move more quickly for the event.

Douglas said he was the manager during the last major music festival, Bamboozle in 2012, and this one will be similar, so he feels prepared.

Mark Yakabofsky, restaurant manager at Kim Marie’s Eat and Drink Away on Kingsley Street, said they are not making any special plans for the event.

“We’re packed every weekend so we’re not doing anything different,” Yakabofsky said.

Aly Kennedy, owner of Asbury Park Roastery in Convention Hall, said they are planning as if it is a weekend in July.

She expects to go through at least 60 pounds of espresso and a 100 pounds of ground coffee.

They will also have 20 gallons of cold brew concentrate on hand.

Kennedy said much depends on the weather as well.

She recalled that during the Bamboozle festival her shop did not do well until Sunday night when a chill filled the air and people wanted something warm to drink.

“The weather’s a little tricky. Bamboozle was a bust for us, but Sunday night it got cool and there was a huge run on cocoa. We had our longest lines ever,” she said.

Police departments are also warning residents and drivers that roads may have a high traffic volume and some will be closed

Neptune police issued a statement saying, “The festival is expecting to have over 20,000 attendees throughout the weekend and will cause a significant impact on the traffic, both vehicle and pedestrian, in the surrounding area.”

The Neptune Police Department has been working in conjunction with the Asbury Park Police Department and the festival planners to prepare for the traffic and any other potential issues that may arise.

Township police warned residents, especially those in Ocean Grove, to be aware of the festival and prepare for slow travel, detours and a significant increase in foot traffic, especially near the boardwalks of both towns.

Additional officers will also be on duty to monitor traffic, parking and all concerns.
Visit www.seahearnowfestival.com for festival information or call police on the non-emergency line at (732) 988-8000 with questions pertaining to Neptune.

In Allenhurst Chief Michael Schneider said his department will be adding additional patrols due to the expected increase in traffic.

“Typically during these events we see an increase in traffic,” he said.

He also said there is no need to close off any of the streets in the borough.

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