Summer concerts become right of passage for teens

This article was on my bucket list for awhile before I proposed it to my editors and wrote it. But as I was writing and surveying students at my school, I began to realize that what I had thought initially about these concerts was false. My angle shifted completely. What I thought would be a hard-hitting expose about teen-drinking at summer concerts evolved into a story about concerts across Monmouth County. Still, I adapted to a change in focus and pursued a different kind of story.

Like learning to drive or filling out college applications, there are plenty of coming-of-age rituals that teenagers from across the world welcome (or endure) as they embark on their journey into adulthood. Still, teenagers from Monmouth County might experience additional rights of passage: that first time driving in summer-induced beach traffic down the Garden State Parkway, caving into the Playa Bowls health craze, but most notably, summer concerts.

The Jersey Shore is home to some of the most infamous concert venues on the east coast. Locales like The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, made famous by Bruce Springsteen, and PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel now host concerts for modern artists. They attract thousands of local teenagers and adults alike.

Sophomore Amanda Lavery of Marlboro attended three concerts at PNC Bank Arts Center this past summer, including Warped Tour.  The annual rock music festival travels across the country, this year making a stop in Monmouth County.

“[It] was a fun day and I got to see a lot of bands, some of which I knew and some that I didn’t at that time,” Lavery said about Warped Tour.  “My favorite acts… were We the Kings and Real Friends.”

Held at the Stone Pony, Sugar Ray is a summer concert staple, annually inviting fans to a concert. The band has enjoyed playing at the infamous Asbury Park venue since 2004, citing it as one of their favorite venues, said Alex Biese of the Asbury Park Press.

“The Stone Pony is one of my favorite venues,” said Joel Cummins, Sugar Ray’s keyboardist.  “We started playing the indoor stage there and eventually made our way to the outdoor stage.”

Senior Courtney Rademacher of Wall attended her first Sugar Ray concert when the artist played on Sunday, July 17 at the Stone Pony, as well as a 311 and Matisyahu concert at the same venue.

“Both concerts… were super fun because they were outside and loud and the music was great for dancing,” Rademacher said.

American metal bands Prophets of Rage and AWOLNATION performed at PNC Bank Arts Center on Friday, Aug. 26 as part of their Make America Rage Again Tour.  Sophomore Cole Raymond of Middletown was in attendance, admittedly not “half as angry at ‘the system’” as the rest of the crowd.


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