In Asbury Park, a Special Celebration of Surf Music

The sixth annual Hi-Tide Summer Holiday takes place August 16–18.

The Neanderthals will perform at Asbury Lanes on August 16. Courtesy of Hi-Tide Recordings

Vincent Minervino and Magdalena O’Connell wanted to spend their honeymoon in Italy at the Surfer Joe Summer Festival, the world’s largest gathering of surf music fans. The trip didn’t work out, so they threw their own celebration of surf music in Asbury Park. That was 2014. This year’s sixth annual edition of the shindig, now known as the Hi-Tide Summer Holiday, rolls into Asbury Park August 16-18.

Surf music emerged in California in the 1960s with pioneers like Dick Dale and the Beach Boys. There was a small resurgence in the 1990s, says O’Connell. “Now we’re hoping we’re experiencing this third wave.” 

The husband-and-wife team also operates Hi-Tide Recordings, a record label they established three years ago in Asbury Park. They represent more than two dozen surf-music artists.

Related: Remembering the Atlantic City Pop Festival, 50 Years Later

A wild assortment of acts will perform at this year’s festival. The 5.6.7.8’s are an all-female group from Japan who were in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. Impala, a band from Memphis, exudes a spy vibe. The Hula Girls have what they call a hulabilly sound—influenced by Hawaiian and rockabilly music. The Neanderthals, who dress like cavemen, describe their sound as primitive garage rock.

“It’s a little more exciting when the bill is mixed,” says O’Connell. “I think we’re introducing this music to a lot of people that are realizing that they love it.”

On Friday and Saturday night of the festival, surf bands, including Minervino’s group, the Black Flamingos, will take the stage at Asbury Lanes, the bowling alley and concert venue that reopened last summer. 

During the day, fans can cool off at the Asbury Hotel’s pool party or attend seminars at Little Buddy Hideaway, Asbury Park’s speakeasy tiki bar, about the history of surf guitar and the evolution of tiki drinks. Tickets are available at hitiderecordings.com. 

Minervino and O’Connell are stoked for this year’s soiree.

Says O’Connell: “It’s rare that you hear surf music and it puts you in a bad mood.”

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