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Sea Hear Now: The Festival Experience Review

Surf, sun, sand, and songs that will ring in your ears for the rest of your life. That’s what it’s like at the Sea Hear Now music festival in Asbury Park. If you’re a music lover, then the festival experience is something you have to try at least once.

Imagine: you walk into the festival, immediately thrown into a sea of colors. Giant jellyfish art floats above your head, and a picture-perfect section of panels displays art from local artists. The Saturday lineup was jam-packed with well-known artists such as Sheryl Crow, Greta Van Fleet, and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, with The Killers headlining.

Seeing THE Sheryl Crow was an early 2000s dream come true. She sang all her hits: “Soak Up The Sun,” “All I Wanna Do,” “If It Makes You Happy,” and more. Crow does not age. She sounded so similar to her records, maybe even better. The scene while she performed had such great beach vibes, as bouncing beach balls flew overhead; Sea Hear Now knows how to create an atmosphere.

Once the sun started to set, I went to Greta Van Fleet and afterwards, Nathaniel Ratcliff and the Night Sweats. Greta Van Fleet had the coolest sound; they reminded me a lot of Queen and Led Zeppelin in many ways. Their lead singer, Josh Kiszka has an insane voice; all my friend and I could do was stand there dumbfounded and in awe. Don’t even get me started on the drum and guitar solos—the talent within the band is endless.

I’m slightly biased regarding Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats since my family and I have been fans since 2015. Their energy on stage was electric. During the song “SOB,” the entire crowd sang back to the band and clapped along to the beat. I have never been a part of something as big as that.

The night’s final performance was The Killers, who came on about eight minutes late (the longest eight minutes of my life). When you’re body to body with random strangers in a crowd and no room to breathe, you itch to go home and rest. Thankfully, they opened with “Mr. Brightside”. I ruined my voice screaming that song, but it was one hundred percent worth it. As much as I love The Killers, it became a little hard to enjoy their set unless you knew all the songs. I only knew their mainstream songs, as did most people around me, so it was slightly different from what I experienced on Sunday night with the Foo Fighters.

The Sunday lineup had performers such as Mt. Joy, The Beach Boys, Stephen Sanchez, and Weezer, with the Foo Fighters headlining. The transition from Saturday festival energy to Sunday was so different. You could tell everyone was sleep-deprived, maybe even stressed and dreading Monday, but the negative vibes ended as soon as the performances started.

Once again, I’m a little biased with this next performer, and I’m not ashamed to say I fangirled like a crazy person having been able to get super close. Overall, Stephen Sanchez is a phenomenal performer and known as the famous TikTok singer who released “Until I Found You,” which flew to the top of the charts. The first lyric in the song “Georgia” had the crowd in tears as his voice, which was unmatched and sounded exactly like his recorded tracks, serenaded us back to the 50s. The crowd was immediately reeled in by him and his band who waved at us, talked, and pointed to individuals.

Since my friend was amazing enough to get me close to Stephen Sanchez, I got her close to Weezer. And it was worth it. A sea of people holding their hands up in W shapes as we screamed “WEEEZERRR!” is forever imprinted in my brain. The band sang “Say it Ain’t So,” “Buddy Holly,” “Undone,” “Island in the Sun,” and “Beverly Hills,” during which lead singer Rivers Cuomo changed the words to say “Living in Asbury Park, New Jersey!” Adding that little love for the crowd is the difference between a good performer and a great one. It’s also so cool to see these guys on stage who were definitely nerds in high school be so famous and popular now.

Headlining on Sunday was the Foo Fighters. The 50-something-year-old crowd couldn’t get enough of David Grohl and his rock n’ roll attitude. They performed “My Hero,” “Walk,” “Learn to Fly,” “Everlong,” and more. They captured the audience, and you didn’t have to know all the songs to have fun.
Foo Fighters are one of those bands where young and old generations come together for their songs, and it was very nostalgic. Grohl knows how to keep the crowd engaged, and let’s just say his catalog of curse words is pretty long.

Sea Hear Now is the type of festival where the bands can be found walking around with their families, jumping in the ocean, and even doing surprise pop-ups in the Transparent Clinch Art Gallery. Not only is it so close to Monmouth University, but I believe it’s affordable for a college student. The festival also offers a layaway plan for tickets, allowing you to pay a portion of the money each month until the event. We are lucky to have a whole music festival in our backyard, and not many college kids can say the same!