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Annual Surf and Skate Festival Returns to Rockaway With More Bands, Vendors

By Katie Honan | June 19, 2014 3:43pm
 Rockstock and Barrels will be held Saturday, June 28 from 10:30 a.m. until sunset and includes surf and skate contests.
Rockstock and Barrels will be held Saturday, June 28 from 10:30 a.m. until sunset and includes surf and skate contests.
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Rockstock and Barrels

ROCKAWAY BEACH — A surf, skate and music festival highlighting local business returns to the beach for its eighth summer — with more vendors and bands as well as shuttle buses to shuttle visitors from Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Rockstock and Barrels rolls into Rockaway on June 28 with skate and surf contests, more than two dozen vendors and live music all day, according to Jimmy Dowd, one of the organizers.

The event is co-sponsored by the Parks Department, and Dowd said it's the biggest event of its kind on the beach.

Rockstock, which is free, was started eight years ago by Dowd, of St. James Clothing, Walker Hornung of Invisible Sun Booking Agency and Into the Whip Records and Steve Stathis of Boarders Surf Shop. It was their way to celebrate the peninsula's newly-designated surfing beach and skatepark, which was built in 2004.

The festival has since grown, although the skatepark hasn't — it was destroyed by Hurricane Irene in 2011, and then a temporary park was destroyed again by Hurricane Sandy.

St. James Clothing donated money to bring some ramps and pipes to the former site and proceeds from the festival will go towards continuing to rebuild the temporary park.

"We're raising money for the neighborhood," Dowd said. "That money will be going back into the skatepark."

Surfers can compete in a contest organized by the Atlantic Surfing Federation, and there will also be a competition for skaters.

Vendors — including a Rockaway Taco food stand, t-shirt stops, local mobile boutique End of the A and kiosks from local surf and martial arts schools — will also be at the all-day festival, which begins at 10:30 a.m.

Hornung curated the music portion, which includes 15 bands, like local favorites like The Wordy Bums and Indaculture.

There will be two stages of performers, and music goes until sunset.

The festival's after party will be held at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club on Beach 87th Street.

Rockstock has gotten bigger — and better — each year, and is another way for local businesses to attract more customers, Dowd said.

Around 8,000 people came to last year's event, and he expects even more this year with shuttle buses running between Williamsburg and Manhattan, provided by OvRride.

"It just seems like everybody really wants to embrace it a little more now," he said.

"It's not just about surf and skate, it's more about local identities trying to use the event as a springboard to promote their own businesses."

Rockstock and Barrels kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 28 at Beach 90th and Shore Front Parkway.