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Punk Island Music Festival is coming to NYC. It’s gonna be free and very fucking loud

By Kate Hoos

The season of summer outdoor music festivals is upon us! We all know the names of the big players- Governors Ball, Warped Tour, Bonnaroo, The Meadows, Riot Fest- but there are smaller contenders for your attention too, bubbling right below the surface. One such fest is Punk Island taking place June 23rd. It’s now in its 11th year, and holds the distinction of being the largest all ages, all free, DIY punk festival in New York City.

The annual fest is held every year in June under the auspices of Make Music New York, itself a city-wide celebration of free live music featuring every genre imaginable from polka to bluegrass to rock. Though hundreds of artists and dozens of organizations perform and hold events, no other group stages an event as big as Punk Island. Over the years it has been held in various locations around the city, moving to Randall’s Island in 2017- ground zero for outdoor concerts in New York City for well over two decades.

Photo Credit- Kate Hoos

The festival lineup for 2018 features over 70 bands, all veterans of the punk scene in NYC and the surrounding areas. There are no big flashy names, the stages are spartan do-it-yourself get ups, and you’re very likely to find yourself bumping elbows in the crowd with someone who just played a set not ten minutes before, shifting from performer to audience member seamlessly. Comradery, inclusiveness, and community are pillars and principles that guide the fest and are what have kept it afloat all these years in the changing landscape in New York. This is not the clean shiny vibe of the Warped Tour and there is no corporate sponsorship, you don’t even have to pay to get in. It is a punk-as-fuck affair that relies on the spirit and drive of the DIY punk scenes that have been thriving all over the world for the last 40+ years.

So, if you’re ready to spike your hair and break out your old denim vest covered with band patches, then make sure you head to Randall’s Island on Saturday June 23rd for Punk Island 2018. Things kickoff at 10am and go to 8pm with the performers broken into six different areas or stages- Brooklyn Transcore, Taking Back Queens, Gilligan, Hoosatron, Basement Dwellers, and All We Got! Records– all curated by local punks from New York. Any genre you can imagine under the punk umbrella is represented with bands ranging from riot grrrl and queercore (Nevva, Lady Bizness, Trashy) to pop punk and ska (Disposable, Answering Machine, The Holphonics) with a dose of hardcore (Maafa,  Enziguri) and even some grindcore (Mary Todd) thrown in for good measure. With dozens more bands also playing, there truly is something for everyone.

Photo Credit- Steve Kong

Even if you’ve never heard a punk band besides Green Day or Blink 182 in your life, there is still so much to discover. And with not much else you can find for free in New York these days, this is a perfect day to spend finding something new or cementing an old love. Make your way to Randall’s Island to spend a day with the punks and get ready to jump in the mosh pit!

Keep up with news about the fest and look for artist profiles and more via Punk Island’s social media:

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

Kate Hoos is a nerdy NYC photographer, writer and musician. She can usually be found at a punk show- either with a guitar or a camera in her hand- or petting as many bodega cats as she can find. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her blog is Hoosatron.com

 

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