This past weekend Punk Island returned to Randall’s Island in all it’s sweat-soaked glory. The DIY festival’s 12th(ish?) year saw its return to Randall’s Island for the second year in a row, with over 35 more bands then the 2018 incarnation.
While last year I played a morning set (Yes, it kicks off at 11 am!) and then wandered around for pretty much the entire day, I did not have nearly as much time this year and was only able to venture out for part of the day. Nevertheless, this festival is so big and varied that in even a few hours I was able to catch a ton of bands. This year there were 9 stages with around 10 bands per stage. Even if you don’t have a clear destination, just pick a direction and you’ll find some music.
As I mentioned last year, the DIY nature of this event is truly something to behold. For the most part, every stage evokes a house/basement/backyard show complete with the sometimes-haphazard-yet-functional sound systems and crowds that are at once jostling and super friendly. And for me at least, that friendly, communal vibe is the best part of the experience of those kinds of shows. And with Punk Island it is exactly that feel, times 10.
Punk Island 2018 was one of my favorite events of the year, and the part of 2019 that I caught was just as much of a blast. If you missed this one, definitely get there for 2020!