Round three of Rockaway’s yearly Beach Jam extravaganza caused a serious dance epidemic.
Run by beloved NYC indie rockers Las Rosas and funky fun DJ Carlos Valpeoz, Beach Jam 3 burst with dancing, swimming and psychedelics. From Friday through Saturday, the Rockaways featured DJs, bands and a dance contest with a cash prize. It was the best summer getaway from the stress of city life a New Yorker could hope for.
I arrived Saturday just in time for Real Young & Lazy Horse, a killer Neil Young cover band, at the burger beach spot, Rippers. The band made it easy for young rockers who idolize Neil Young and older retired beach transplants to let loose. Young girls in bikinis and older women with white hair hit the dance floor to shake their hips to Neil Young hits. Even moms with babies cha-cha’d in the conga line.
A Ramones cover band fronted by NYC’s gritty spanish punker Tall Juan rocked out to a set of songs by Forest Hill’s finest, which, of course, featured “Rockaway Beach.” And the live band portion of the night ended with Las Rosas making sure everyone’s sandy toes were movin’ and groovin’.
The party moved closer to the bayside at Rockaway Brewery where the dance contest began.
I took some acid while dancing at Rippers, so when I was recruited to judge the dance contest at the Brewery I was feeling trippy and giggly and loved every second of watching dancers put their heart and soul into winning this $50 dance prize. Maybe the acid was clouding my judgement, but I held up a 10 card for everyone. The winner did a full Flashdance move and crawled across the judge table. It was epic.
The cops eventually kicked out the partiers, which was lame. It wasn’t even last call yet. But we eventually made it back to wherever we were spending the night—air bnbs, camping in someone’s backyard or sleeping on someone’s floor—and crashed oddly early for us Brooklyn show rats.
The next morning would’ve been rough if we weren’t at the beach. Instead, our hangovers were washed away by the salty sea. The waves were choppy, but the water was warm and the sand exfoliated our sins.
After a full day of beach therapy, another round of bands started at 5 pm at Low Tide bar on the boardwalk. Champagne Superchillin’ kicked it off, followed by Breanna Barbara and Wild Yaks. Champagne Superchillin’ and Breanna Barbara were trying out new material that got the crowd excited for more. Breanna Barbara closed with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s classic “Dreams” which had everyone singing along.
Wild Yaks have been Rockaway royalty for over a decade. But life happens, people have babies or move away, so chances to see these guys rock out have grown scarce. The place was packed with locals and rockers from other boroughs and Wild Yaks brought the sun down with their energetic and epic performance.
Everyone headed home happy, but exhausted. If this wild three-day rager was anywhere other than the beach, we all probably would’ve been too burnt out to function. But since the vibes were good and the beach was welcoming, we all survived the third year of Beach Jam.