The final Pool Party on Sunday marked the end of an era of dance parties and free summer music in Williamsburg — but nobody’s really worried that a new era won’t start up without a pause.
Hipsters certainly flocked to East River State Park to witness Doug E. Fresh rap the last chapter in the five-year JellyNYC “Pool Party” series, but no one was worried that this year’s conclusion would be permanent.
“Of course, I loved it, I’ve been coming for five years — but it’ll be back next year in another form,” said Heidi Hamplin. “The scene always evolves.”
Evolve it must, given that series’ co-founder, Sarah Hooper, has said that she “hates” what the beloved Pool Parties have become: lame concerts with muted speakers, too many security guards and too much oversight from the state and its patron, Open Space Alliance. She even hinted that Jelly’s current side-project, a six-show free series called “Rock Yard” on Wythe Avenue, could replace the Pool Parties (so named because they began at the McCarren Park pool).
Hooper didn’t fork over any of the juicy details when she took the stage on Sunday to give a crammed park its final farewell.
“Thank you so much, we love being in Brooklyn,” she said to a roaring crowd. “Don’t ever let anybody tell you that you can’t be yourself.”
Of the dozens of concert-goers interviewed, most said that they don’t think that the free music scene will die this summer in Williamsburg. But if the new series is anything like the Pool Parties, there are bound to be more problems on the administrative side.
Last week, Sunday’s concert was on the chopping block when the Open Space Alliance canceled the show, claiming that Jelly owed $31,000 in back payments. Jelly founders denied the tardiness but paid a fee and rallied for donations to let the final show live.
Worse, the bad vibes between Jelly and the series’ main organizers have hit their peak over the past two years. The change of venue from McCarren Park to the state park and the Pool Party’s rising popularity — with acts like Grizzly Bear, Snoop Dogg, and MGMT — likely led to their constant bickering about park maintenance and concert fees, party layout, and noise.
But at the end of the day, when the sun went down and the last of the hipsters stumbled out of the park, nobody spent too long on goodbyes.
“There will always be free music in Williamsburg,” said a Frisbee-tossing Alex Fredericks. “This was great. But we’ll see it again.”