Feature for June 2018
June is International Surf Music Month!
(now on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/surfmusicmonth )
June 1, 2018 – This June marks the tenth anniversary of “International Surf Music Month”, endorsed by a coalition of international surf bands. With the support of NESMA, a U.S. based network of surf bands, surf music events are planned for the month of June throughout the world. In addition to the northeast U.S., including Connecticut, New York, Maine, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, shows will take place in California, Italy, Mexico, and Canada, among other places.
Surf music is a form of guitar-led instrumental rock music which evolved in the early 1960s. Pioneering surf musicians included bands such as Dick Dale and the Deltones, The Surfaris (of “Wipe Out” fame), and composers like Paul Johnson of The Belairs. Specialized instruments and amps focus on a reverb sound and guitar techniques that mimic the sound and feel of surfing. While taking a backseat to vocal pop music during the late 1960s and 1970s, surf music rebounded in the 1980s (sometimes called the “second wave”), and again in 1996 with the popularity of the film “Pulp Fiction” and its surf music-laced soundtrack. Current surf bands continue to play the classic tunes from the 1960s and later, while composing new surf music and releasing original recordings to expand the style.
“Surf instrumental music has no language barriers or age restrictions", says Mike Rosado, founder of NESMA and the Connecticut surf band 9th Wave. “Today's instrumental surf music pays homage to the founding legends of the style, as well as pushing the boundaries of progressive, contemporary surf music.”
The month starts out with The Great Lakes Surf Battle (thirteenth annual) in Toronto Canada on June 1-2. Founded in 2006 by Canadian surf bands The Blue Demons and The Von Drats, the Great Lakes Surf Battle has grown to become the top surf music event north of the border. This year’s festival will see the first night focusing on Toronto-area surf bands, such as The Cliff Divers, and Mark Malibu & the Wasagas. The second evening of surf music will be an “Intercontinental Championship”, including The Champions of Justice, a Canadian all-female group, The Surfrajettes, and The Tsunamibots from the U.S., to name a few.
In the U.S., the first Saturday of every month since 2004 finds Unsteady Freddie’s Surf Rock Shindig hosting regional, national and international bands at Otto’s Shrunken Head Tiki Bar in New York City. June 2 is no exception, offering up a diverse show with bands such as Agent Octopus (mid-Atlantic), Commercial Interruption (CT), and Strange But Surf (Long Island NY), for a crowd well-versed in instrumental surf music (more information about Unsteady Freddie & Surf Rock Shindigs can be found at http://www.nesmasurf.org/featurearchive/may%202014%20unsteady%20freddie%20redux.htm ).
Italy is also celebrating with the Surfer Joe Summer Festival in Livorno Italy, June 21-24. There have been 11 editions of this festival since 2003; this year it boasts performances by 24 international bands over 4 days, including bands from Italy, France, Russia, Germany, U.S.A., Japan, Greece, Austria, Netherlands, and Spain (more information at http://www.surferjoemusic.com/festival/ ).
Mexico has its own large surf & garage music festival planned for June 16, called Wild O’ Fest. Bands on the bill this year come from Mexico, U.S.A., Canada, Japan, Argentina, and Austria.
Of course, other important surf music events happen in months that are not designated as International Surf Music Month, such as the Surf Guitar 101 Convention each August in southern CA (http://surfguitar101.com/convention/HOME.html ) and the increasingly influential Asbury Park Surf Music Festival in Asbury Park NJ on August 17-19 this year (https://www.facebook.com/events/1623640134355092/).
The genre of surf music continues to thrive throughout the world; surf bands in almost every country, including Russia, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Slovenia, Japan, Serbia, U.S., Canada, and the U.K. make this a truly diverse, international style of music. (For a brief history of surf music, see http://www.nesmasurf.org/surf%20music%20history.htm )
International Surf Music Month community on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/surfmusicmonth