Friday, August 27, 2010

2010 Punk Rock Picnic

This is going to be a fairly long post. Tomorrow is the 2nd Annual Lehigh Valley Punk Rock Picnic at Emmaus Community Park. There was a write up about it in the Easton Express Times that I thought I would repost here for you guys to read.

Summer Hardcore Picnic in the Park returns to Emmaus

Friday, August 27, 2010
The Express-Times

Andy Silfies didn't expect to have another picnic. He went to last year's Summer Hardcore Picnic in the Park to enjoy a one-time reunion of some of the Lehigh Valley's oldest punk bands, not thinking it could become anything like a tradition.

"It was going to be a once-and-done thing last year," Silfies says.

But something happened that the organizers didn't plan for. The Summertime Hardcore Picnic in the Park was a hit. The nine-hour festival took place Aug. 8, 2009, at Emmaus Community Park. Silfies, who was not one of the original organizers, estimates 150 to 200 people showed up.

"It was almost like a family thing," he says. "That's why I wanted to continue it."

Borough officials, who were hesitant at first, embraced the event, Silfies says. After the picnic, they put a DVD of the show in a time capsule, he says, and were happy to host the picnic another year.

Starting 12:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 bands will perform at the second annual Punk Rock Summer Picnic at Emmaus Community Park's Performing Arts Pavilion.

Admission for the all-ages picnic is the same as last year's: a nonperishable food donation for Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania. In 2009, 700 pounds of food were donated, according to Ann McManus, the food bank's director.

After the 2009 picnic, Silfies says, it made sense to try to repeat the success.

"Everybody had such a good time that everyone wanted to have it happen again this year," Silfies says.

He didn't have much trouble finding acts. Within hours of getting the message out that he would put on another punk picnic in 2010, Silfies had bands volunteering to perform.

"I put something out there on Facebook and the bands did the work for me," he says.

In some cases, Silfies reached out to bands he wanted to play. Cody Short, a drummer with the band Walter Krug, says Silfies approached them about performing Saturday.

Short was only too happy to get Walter Krug together again. The group, which includes Short's brother, Jesse, was most active in the mid- to late 1990s, Cody Short says.

Walter Krug plays fast, lighthearted songs like "The Ballad of Luke," a song about Luke Skywalker that's as much a ballad as "Anarchy in the U.K."

Short, of Philadelphia, says Saturday's show will be his band's first in quite some time. Their last show was two months ago; before that, about five years, Short estimates. Though Short doesn't live in the Lehigh Valley anymore, he's eager to play in the band again.

"I really like playing with these guys," he says.

Other bands are comparatively new to the punk scene. Bad American just put out their first album, a 7-inch self-titled EP. But singer Ray Gurz, of Emmaus, has been a part of the Lehigh Valley punk scene for years as a member of Tile, Carpenter Ant and other bands. Bad American has a sound like the hardcore punk bands Black Flag or Fang, Gurz says.

"We did have a really good following," Gurz says of Carpenter Ant.

Gurz has been around long enough to see how interest in the local music scene ebbs and flows.

"It's hot for a while and then there'll be a five-year lull" before some new kids start running things again, he says.

Gurz is hopeful Saturday's picnic will help get more people involved. The 2009 concert had a stronger showing than he expected, he says.

"Surprisingly it was a very good turnout," Gurz says.

Silfies says he tried to get more than just hardcore punk bands into the lineup so people get a little variety. People including Silfies.

"If I have to listen to nine hours of punk, I might jump off a cliff," he says.

Silfies moved the date from early August to the end of the month so the event wouldn't interfere with vacations. It also marks the end of summer, he says.

Some of the bands might not slow down their sound but Silfies says the dynamic has changed now that many of the performers are older.

"There's a lot more tired people on stage after 10 minutes," he says.

Adam Richter can be reached at 610-258-7171 or Talk about entertainment at

Also, here's the lineup for tomorrow.

battering ram 1-130
damn dirty apes 145-215
beings 230-300
florence and libby 315-345
bad american 4-430
dead end drive 445-515
slamhounds 530-600
break for some punk rock kareoke- 6-630
track nines 9formerly black 5's, and the lofis) 630-7
ambergris 715-745
walter krug 8-830
cleanup 830-9

I recommend coming to see as much as you can. It's free for fucks sake, all you're asked to bring is a non-perishable food donation for the Second Harvest Food Bank. It's going to be a good time. Here's the Facebook link if you want it.


  1. I love this part:

    "Some of the bands might not slow down their sound but Silfies says the dynamic has changed now that many of the performers are older.
    'There's a lot more tired people on stage after 10 minutes,' he says."

    Definitely looking forward to this show!

  2. I had to chance the color of the typeface because it was kinda hard to read against the black background.

    Anyway, this will be a lot of fun. Last year was a hell of a lot of fun and this ought to be just as great :)