Looking Back On Sea.Hear.Now.

Looking Back On Sea.Hear.Now.

Olivia Sullivan, Staff Writer

On the weekend of September 17th and 18th, my friends and I walked through the ocean-themed gates entering the Sea.Hear.Now. Music Festival at Asbury Park. Inside these gates awaited two days of music, beach, and fun.

At around noon on Saturday, I arrived at the festival grounds and immediately made my way to the merchandise stand with my friend. After waiting for about half an hour, we made our way onto the beach to watch the first act of our weekend, Skip Marley, grandson of Bob Marley. Marley sang some of his grandfather’s songs as well as some of his own. After his hour-long set, we moved from the Surf Stage to the Sand Stage, where indie band Peach Pit began their set. Starting with some of their hits including “Alrighty Aphrodite”, we left the set about halfway through to get some food.

With Playa Bowls and tacos in our hands, we returned to the Surf Stage for Boy George and Culture Club. The crowd was cramped as the act continued, with one of their final songs being perhaps their biggest hit, “Karma Chameleon”. 

The night continued onward with The Backseat Lovers back at the Sand Stage. Within their set, they played songs such as “Kilby Girl” and “Pool House” as the sun set on Asbury Park.

When The Backseat Lovers finished with their act, swarms of people began to move to the opposite side of the beach, where the Surf Stage was located. In about 90 minutes, the main act, Stevie Nicks, would be on stage.

Leah Rutledge, a sophomore at FTHS, and I sat on towels as the area around the stage began to fill up. We managed to get close spots and made sure that no one would steal them away from us.

As the beach became more and more cramped, the energy across the festival grounds began to increase as 9 P.M. grew closer. 

 The lights on the stage began to dim as Stevie’s band walked out onto the stage. They began to play the intro to “Outside the Rain”, one of Stevie Nicks’s hits from her first solo album, Bella Donna.

The crowd roared as Nicks walked out onto the stage, and, with a quick bow, she began her set.

Known best for her involvement with the iconic group, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks also became a successful soloist throughout the 80s onward. Despite her noteworthy individual career, Nicks paid homage to her time in Fleetwood Mac, singing songs such as “Gypsy” and “Dreams”.

With her multiple outfit changes and fringe-covered microphone, Stevie Nicks put on an incredible show, wrapping up her set with her most famous hit, “Edge of Seventeen”. 

Waving to the crowd, Nicks exited the stage, but the crowd remained still, anticipating an encore. The crowd’s wishes were soon answered as Nicks and her band reentered the stage, before singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” and another one of her own songs. 

Vowing to the crowd that she would soon return, the first headliner show of the weekend was over. 


Day 2 rolled around, and I entered the festival grounds with Leah R. and now also joined by Leah Bloom, a junior at FTHS. 

Going to the Park Stage for the first time all weekend, our group sat on the grass to watch Wet Leg perform for a few minutes. Even though we only stayed for a few songs, the duo put on a great performance and started our second day out strong.

After taking a few pictures under the surfboard arch and watching some other acts such as Tai Verdes and IDLES, we collected all of our belongings and grabbed something to eat before making our way over to the Surf Stage. 

Next to perform on the Surf Stage was Cage the Elephant, the massively popular alternative band whose hits include “Cigarette Daydreams” and “Come a Little Closer”. 

Since we got to the stage only a few minutes before the show began, we were squished in between other groups of people. 

The crowd was enormous, and Cage the Elephant wasn’t even the headliner for the night. 

Coming out onto the stage, lead singer Matt Shultz put on a performance not to forget. With many different costume changes, crowd surfing, and a “grand finale”, the singer and the band put on an amazing performance. This “grand finale” being when Shultz crowd surfed over to the tech booth, climbing up the tall tower without any safety equipment just so he could wave to the crowd. 

Some songs played by the band include “Cold Cold Cold”, “Social Cues”, and of course their most popular hits as stated before.


With the end of Cage the Elephant’s set, it was time for the final performance of the weekend and the headliner of the night, Green Day. I was especially excited for this set, and came prepared with a poster that said, “At the Center of the Earth at Asbury Park”, in reference to the band’s song “Jesus of Suburbia”.

At about 8:30, the lights began to dim, as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” blasted on speakers across the beach. My friends and I sang along with the rest of the crowd, as the large screens in front of the stage showed off the crowd. With the help of my friends, I lifted up my poster and was lucky enough to be featured on the screen for a few seconds.

 After freaking out with my friends for a bit, the song ended and Drunk Bunny ran out onto the stage. Drunk Bunny, a mascot of the band, sprinted across the stage to pump the crowd up. While Drunk Bunny was hyping up the crowd, screens on the stage were showing different graphics of the band’s eras while the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” played. 

Waving goodbye to the crowd, Drunk Bunny exited the stage and was soon replaced by Mike Dirnt, Tré Cool, and Billie Joe Armstrong, the three main members of the band.

With Billie’s lead, the concert began, with the band playing songs such as “American Idiot”, “Holiday”, and “Know Your Enemy”.

Billie continuously riled the crowd up, with a variety of different chants and cheers, encouraging us to keep jumping and singing. 

Some other key moments of the concert included when a young fan named Luke got called on the stage to play guitar for “Knowledge”, a cover performed originally by Operation Ivy. As the crowd chanted Luke’s name, he was soon told that he would be able to keep the guitar, making the night one he would never forget. But perhaps my favorite moment of the set was when the band announced their next song, “Jesus of Suburbia”. From their 2004 album, American Idiot, the song is over nine minutes long, split into five different sections. 

After “Jesus of Suburbia”, the band played their final song, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”. Billie thanked the crowd for the last time before taking a bow and exiting the stage. Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool threw their guitar picks and drumsticks into the crowd and then left.

After the concert was over, it was hard to comprehend the weekend I had. With so many different artists and memories, I love looking through my camera roll or speaking to my friends to remember our weekend at the beach. Overall, the festival was an incredible experience, especially with it being so local. I can’t wait to go again next year and would recommend the event to anyone interested in their first concert, or a fun time with their friends.