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Crash landing! Hipsters stay away from Floyd Bennett Field concert series

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It’s the beach-blanket bomb.

A promoter’s plan to bus hipsters from Williamsburg to concerts in far-off Mill Basin has failed miserably because the notoriously laid back brethren couldn’t handle the cost of — or the time consumed by — the commute.

The promoters of the Rock Beach Concert Series told us they are considering moving “closer to home” after concerts on July 9 and July 24 at Floyd Bennett Field — more than nine miles away from Brooklyn’s biggest hipster enclave in Williamsburg — had an incredibly low turnout.

A little more than 150 people showed up to enjoy the six-hour music festival on July 24, barely making in a dent in a space next to the Aviator Sports and Recreation that can hold thousands. Even fewer people were found playing volleyball and splashing around on the concert’s signature water slides and wading pools.

The concerts are free, but attendees are charged $20 to be bussed from Williamsburg to the 83-year-old former air strip on the other side of the borough — just paces from the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge on Flatbush Avenue. Attendees sign up for the concert by RSVPing to www.rockbeach.us.

But the commute’s apparently too difficult for Brooklyn’s hipster community — especially since previous concerts promoted by the same group — JellyNYC — were held at city parks within walking distance from their homes.

“Commuting is a pain in the [rear end],” said Tom McDonough, who runs Rock Beach’s dodgeball station. “It used to be that you would roll out of bed and the concert would be right there, down the block — now you have to commute. Turnout is less than what it would be since it’s not in our backyard.”

Other attendees said they also missed the accessibility of other venues like hipster haven McCarren Park in Williamsburg.

“I think the commute to Rock Beach is a big issue,” Chris D’Angelo said, using the fabricated name for the venue. “It’s a train to a bus if you’re not within walking or biking distance. That was one of the great things about [McCarren Park], it was so easy to get to. Also, there was a neighborhood surrounding the park with lots to do before and after the show.”

But D’Angelo said he actually enjoyed the concerts — and its water-logged amenities — once he got there.

“The venue is pretty awesome,” he said. “You got dodgeball, slip ‘n’ slide, beer, food and when I started to feel the effects of the sun, I found out there was a sweet pool I could cool off in. I had a blast, but I felt like a kid being pulled out of a candy store when they came over the P.A. and said the party buses were leaving.”

E-mails to JellyNYC for comment were not returned. Nor were calls to Aviator, which is getting paid to host the shows on a concert-by-concert basis.

According to its advertisements, the Rock Beach concert series will last until Sept. 10. The last three weekends of the concert series will include sleep overs under the stars now that Floyd Bennett Field has expanded its campgrounds.

But JellyNYC has been known to switch up venues — or simply abandon its scheduled events: last year, it cancelled a concert when it couldn’t pay venue operators.

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Reader Feedback

Or from Yellow Hook says:
What? I thought that bike lanes were able to take you EVERYWHERE, and you never ever needed an EVILLLLL car.

Guess not.

Maybe Daddy can drive you next time.
Aug. 1, 2011, 12:56 am
Anonymous from Williamsburg says:
If they got some bands who are really popular and have a large fanbase -- for example, Weezer, Guided By Voices, TV on the Radio, Vampire Weekend, many others -- people would come. It's no worse getting there than by public transportation (if the trains ran normally on weekends): from Williamsburg, if you have an unlimited MetroCard, take the G to Fulton St., walk to Atlantic Terminal and get the 2 to last stop, Flatbush Ave./Brooklyn College, get on the Q35. It's the way hipsters go to the nude beach at Fort Tilden Beach, just not over the bridge to Rockaway.

How come people go to all kinds of remote rural locations for festivals? JellyNYC was putting on low-rent shows with bands that may be good but are not well-known. If you had spectacular shows, people would come.
Aug. 1, 2011, 6:31 am
Ian from Williamsburg says:
I think the low turnout was mainly due to the bands that were booked. Those bands don't draw a large crowd when they play in the city. Add an hour or more of commuting to the concert and you're going to lose at least half of your crowd. Then add the fact that you're going to see them play on what is just an endless slab of concrete and it makes it even less appealing.

And to the reader's comment about bike lanes, there aren't any bike lanes down Flatbush. Put in a protected bike lane on that road and I guarantee that there will be a much larger turnout for everything in that area, be it for hipsters, hippies, yuppies, or families.
Aug. 1, 2011, 8:29 am
mike from GP says:
@Or: do you ever have a point?
Aug. 1, 2011, 9:21 am
manhatposeur from manhatta says:
Its too far! Worse the L train does not go there. Dam those crumedgeons! At least they can find a venue in Bushwick.
Aug. 1, 2011, 10:03 am
B from Ridgewood says:
Wow, really great use of the H-word, guys. Mature and professional journalism.
Aug. 1, 2011, 2:39 pm
Stf from E Williamsburg says:
Ian, there is a bike lane on Bedford ave all the way down to Sheepshead bay and then a protected bike lane from there to the "rural" part of Flatbush ave. You do not need to ride down Flatbush ave to get to Floyd Bennett field. Or you could take Ocean avenue that runs parallel to Flatbush ave and it is wide and does not have a lot of traffic.
Aug. 1, 2011, 9:23 pm
Mat from Marine Park says:
Somehow glad the little weaklings couldn't endure the trip. I guess there never will be another Woodstock for so many reasons. Since when do you need a bike lane to ride a bike? Maybe you need a private, elevated sky way with a clear weather proof dome and A/C?
Aug. 1, 2011, 10:05 pm
gimme from around says:
all of this is just too funny, hahaahahaha, just desserts for all
Aug. 1, 2011, 11:38 pm
mike from GP says:
Mat,

Rather silly comment from you. Bike lanes literally save lives. Probably from folks like you.
Aug. 2, 2011, 12:10 pm
Aunt Bea from PArk Slope says:
Bike lanes DO save lives. Why, just yesterday, I saw one jump in front of a speeding bullet, saving an entire ironic busload of hipsters.
Aug. 3, 2011, 2:37 pm
Nadia from Bay Ridge says:
If it was advertised to other areas instead of just Williamsburg there would have been a bigger turnout.
Aug. 4, 2011, 7:33 pm
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
This not about Floyd Bennett Field or the bands. It's about a promoter that did a terrible job. Floyd Bennett Field is a great place for shows.
As far as the commute, people go to NJ for shows all the time and that commute really sux.
Get a promoter that puts on better shows and advertises better (I never heard about the shows until I read this). Not everyone lives in Williamsburg (or want to).
Aug. 8, 2011, 7:05 am

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