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Back in the ‘hood! Rock Beach promoters move concerts back to Williamsburg • Brooklyn Paper

Back in the ‘hood! Rock Beach promoters move concerts back to Williamsburg

You no longer have to trek out to Floyd Bennett Field to see The Death Set this summer. The band’s just one of the acts that were slated to play an indie concert series at the Mill Basin field, but are now performing in more hipster-friendly Williamsburg this Sunday.
Photo by Brock Fetch

Hipsters couldn’t hack the hike across the borough, so JellyNYC’s moving its concerts back to Williamsburg.

The promoter announced on Wednesday that its third Rock Beach concert — which was expected to take place at Floyd Bennett Field in Mill Basin on Sunday — will now take place on Bogart Street between Rock and Varet streets under a new name: Rock Yard.

And hipsters couldn’t be happier.

“I am psyched,” said Tom McDonough, who ran Rock Beach’s dodgeball station at Floyd Bennett Field. “Last week. I wished it was back in our backyard, but I had no idea it would turn out this perfect. It’s right around the corner.”

The bands The Growlers, The Death Set and Cerebral Ballzy — all of which were supposed to perform at Rock Beach — will be gracing the Bogart Street stage on Aug. 7, beginning at 2 pm, JellyNYC announced on its website, www.rockbeach.us, on Wednesday.

“Back in the ’hood!” the website proudly exclaims.

But the sudden venue change came as a surprise to workers at Floyd Bennett Field’s Aviator Sports and Recreation Center, who were expecting to host Sunday’s Rock Beach Concert.

“We didn’t know what was going on,” explained Gregg Williams, Aviator’s director of marketing. “We’re responsible for putting the stage back up and providing security [for Sunday], but we never heard from them. [JellyNYC] likes to surprise people, but this time they surprised the venue!”

Alexander Kane, founder of JellyNYC, did not return a call for comment.

But it’s clear that Rock Beach’s low attendance numbers sparked the move. During the July 24 concert at Floyd Bennett Field — which is more than nine miles from Williamsburg — roughly 150 people showed up for the six-hour music festival, dotting a space that could hold thousands.

Rock Beach and Rock Yard concerts are free, but those going to the Rock Beach were charged $20 to be bussed from Williamsburg to the 83-year-old former air strip on the other side of the borough.

But the commute disagreed with many concert-goers.

McDonough called the trip a “pain in the ass.” Hipster Chris D’Angelo also bemoaned the commute, claiming that some had to “take a train and a bus” to get to the concert if they didn’t make it to JellyNYC’s party bus in time. JellyNYC former concert site in McCarren Park was so much nicer, he said.

“It was so easy to get to,” D’Angelo explained.

The Rock Beach concert series was expected to stay at Floyd Bennett Field until Sept. 10. The last three weekends were going to include camping now that campgrounds in the federal park have been expanded.

All of those plans are now up in the air — an uncertainty that JellyNYC seems to thrive on: last year, the Open Space Alliance, which hosted JellyNYC’s pool parties in Williamsburg, canceled the promoter’s last concert during a contract dispute, but the show went on after the two groups hammered out a deal.

— with Aaron Short

Very few people showed up at the second “Rock Beach” concert at Aviator in Floyd Bennett Field on July 24. Hipsters seem to be avoiding the concerts like the plague.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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