2011-08-24 / Features

Astoria Music Now Festival Prevails Through Rain


Bands perform during the fourth annual Astoria Music Now festival. 
Photos Christopher Casey Bands perform during the fourth annual Astoria Music Now festival. Photos Christopher Casey The fourth annual Astoria Music Now festival took place on August 20 and 21 in venues throughout Astoria.

Astoria Music Now is a festival funded and organized by Astoria Music and Arts, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and showcasing artists of all kinds in Astoria, in partnership with Green Shores NYC. Typically a multi-stage festival in Astoria Park, the event showcased dozens of local bands, DJs and dance teams. Attendees were treated to a full day of music, food, art and browsing of local vendors within one of the borough’s most beautiful parks.

This year, due to severe weather warnings, the festival was moved to several local venues. The rain did not dampen the spirits of the artists. Bands playing on the two main stages named the Hellgate and Triboro, as well as the Comedy and Papa Gino’s Acoustic Tent, were moved to Bohemian Hall Beer Garden at 29-19 24th Ave. The Skate Park Stage, a new addition to the festival near the newly-implemented skate park, was relocated to Shillelagh Tavern on 47-22 30th Ave. Hellgate Social, 12-21 Astoria Blvd., hosted the DJ Stage and The Quays, 45-02 30th Ave., took in Papa Gino’s Acoustic Tent for the day.

“The local bars were extremely gracious in allowing us to relocate our festival to their rooms,” Josh Schulman, an associate of AM and A said. “We were amazed at the patience of [everyone] who put up with what could have been a disastrous mess. The rain brought out the best in this neighborhood. Our most exciting festival so far was a great success, simply because Astorians refuse to let the weather kick them around.”

According to Schulman, the turnout was excellent despite the setback. Performers were all rescheduled to about two hours later than their original set times, but live music fans from across Queens still flocked to the venues, some of which opened their doors to all ages.

“Every band played to at least a good 30 to 40 people at any given time,” David Guevara, drummer of local band LTrain said. “The first band [at Shillelagh] set up the house PA system and began playing. That shows the true spirit of appreciation for the festival...to me at least.”

Local venues and businesses, such as Papa Gino’s Restaurant and Shillelagh Tavern, help support the annual event with donations. The founders of the Astoria Music Now festival hope to keep the event free and available to all ages in future years.

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