What better way is there to spend a weekend at the Jersey shore fist pumping and partying Snookie-style? By adding live music, that’s how!

About: “The Seaside Music Festival is a free admission three-day music festival that takes place throughout bars, restaurants, and on the beach at Seaside Heights, NJ. The music festival is now in its 4th year and hosts performances by favorite local bands, out-of-towners, and touring bands for an eclectic weekend of live music. A variety of musical genres take over the town with great rock and alternative acts, singer-songwriters, DJs/electronic acts, pop-singers/groups, folk-artists, and many others. The best part of it all—no one pays a cent to see any of the 120+ bands.

Seaside Music Festival offers something fun for people of all ages and interests. Activities like surfing and wakeboarding lessons, the vendor village, parties and more; providing entertainment for everyone in the family. Whether you’re with friends or family, or are a performing band, the Seaside Music Festival is a definite addition to your Summer To-Do List.”

While the festival kicked off Thursday night, Friday night marked the beginning of TSI’s stay, as well as my first time seeing the ocean in almost a year, in Seaside Heights, NJ. It seemed that the back wasn’t as excited to see us, as it was chilly and rainy. We ventured out on the town, making stops at some of the local venues – The Aztec Bar, Jimbo’s, JR’s, Spicy, The Beachcomber, Beach Bar, Jack & Bill’s, Klee’s and Hemingway’s – associated with the festival.

Luckily, the weather was significantly nicer to us Saturday. The beach just isn’t as fun without sun and warmth. This worked out rather well, as Saturday played host to The Beach Stage, which held performances all throughout the afternoon and early evening, ending with a short and somewhat disappointing firework display. Also making our lives easier, the wonderful weather made the TSI band lounge an enjoyable experience for all. Equipped with huge comfy couches, tents, and free pizza and beer, TSI interviewed various bands – such as Lost in SocietyJimmie’s Chicken Shack and Tears of Mars, to name a few – on the beach-facing hotel roof of the Aztec Ocean Resort hotel. We even had to call security to keep out some rowdy hotel guests/festival attendees who wanted in on our little oasis.

Carpet Ride

A couple of my personal favorites from the festival:

Breathing Blue, an alternative rock band from Bricktown, NJ, played The Aztec Bar Friday night. Their slight southern twist drew me in right away, forcing me to leave my comfy seat at the bar to get a closer look/listen.

Members: Justin Sanford (Vocals, Keys), Rob Bost (Guitar, Vocals), Matt Basilotto (Guitar), Chris Dechert (Bass, Vocals) and Tyler Moellmann (Drums)

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Tears of Mars, a rock band made up of five brothers from Baltimore, MD, played The Aztec Bar Saturday night. Unfortunately, I only managed to catch their last song or two of the set, but that was more than enough to convince me of their talent. They have great stage presence and clearly know how to play well together.

Members: Josiah Orsie (Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards), Luke Orsie (Lead Guitar), Micah Orsie (Bass), Elias Orsie (Drums) and Judah Orsie (Keyboards, Percussion, Ambience)

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Goodbye Friday, a pop punk rock band from Hopatcong, NJ, played The Beach Stage on Saturday afternoon. I enjoyed these guys because not only did they cover a Justin Beiber song, but they seem to be gathering a similar following as they were surrounded by little teenybopper girls drooling at the chance to get a picture or autograph from them.

Members: Rocco Costanza (Lead Vocal, Guitar), Aaron Henriquez (Guitar, Vocals), Mark Braun (Bass) and Anthony Arci (Drums)

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Goodbye Friday

Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, an alternative rock band from Annapolis, MD, played The Beach Stage on Saturday night. These guys rocked as the closers for this stage, performing for over an hour as the sun was setting and drawing in numerous boardwalk passersby.

Members: Jimi Haha (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Island Styles (Guitar, Vocals), Christian Valiente (Bass, Vocals) and Jerome Maffeo (Drums, Vocals)

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Jimmie's Chicken Shack

Overall, the Seaside Music Festival was an eclectic mix of mostly local, brand new bands, as well as a few more established ones. I love the atmosphere that being at the beach brings to this festival, only in it’s fourth year. It’s a great way to make fans, meet other bands, and generally have a good time at the beach. From the various boardwalk vendors to numerous local venues, each offering a slightly different appeal and setting, the party town of Seaside mixed with all of these live performances makes for a unique festival worth attending.

While we were a little concerned that the world would end Saturday before the festival was over, we all agreed that since we were in Seaside, we probably wouldn’t notice anything anyway.

Success!: “The 2011 Seaside Music Festival was surely a success, thanks to all of the talented bands who took over the Jersey Shore through the weekend, and it couldn’t have been done without the music-lovers, either. Bands from all over the the country put on their best act to showcase their abilities and in turn, they have made the 2011 Seaside Music Festival the best it has been yet. We are excited to begin planning the fifth annual Seaside Music Festival, and hope that everyone had a safe and rockin’ time. We can’t wait to see you next May!”

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