- Surf Music
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June is International Surf Music Month!
June 1, 2019 – This June marks the eleventh anniversary of “International Surf Music Month”, endorsed by a coalition of international surf bands. With the support of NESMA, a U.S. based network of surf bands, surf music events are planned for the month of June throughout the world. In addition to the northeast U.S., including Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York, shows will take place in Maryland, Washington DC, California, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Canada, among other places.
Surf music is a form of guitar-led instrumental rock music which evolved in the early 1960s. Pioneering surf musicians included bands such as Dick Dale and the Deltones, The Surfaris (of “Wipe Out” fame), and composers like Paul Johnson of The Belairs. Specialized instruments and amps focus on a reverb sound and guitar techniques that mimic the sound and feel of surfing. While taking a backseat to vocal pop music during the late 1960s and 1970s, surf music rebounded in the 1980s (sometimes called the “second wave”), and again in 1996 with the popularity of the film “Pulp Fiction” and its surf music-laced soundtrack. Current surf bands continue to play the classic tunes from the 1960s and later, while composing new surf music and releasing original recordings to expand the style.
“Surf instrumental music has no language barriers or age restrictions", says Mike Rosado, founder of NESMA and the Connecticut surf band 9th Wave. “Today's instrumental surf music pays homage to the founding legends of the style, as well as pushing the boundaries of progressive, contemporary surf music.”
The month starts out with The Great Lakes Surf Battle (fourteenth annual) in Toronto Canada on May 31-June 1. Founded in 2006 by Canadian surf bands The Blue Demons and The Von Drats, the Great Lakes Surf Battle has grown to become the top surf music event in the far north. This year’s festival will see the first night focusing on Toronto-area surf bands, such as The Cliff Divers, and Mark Malibu & the Wasagas. The second evening of surf music will be an “Intercontinental Championship”, including The Tsunamibots and 9th Wave from the New England, as well as bands from Texas and Nova Scotia.
In the U.S., the first Saturday of every month since 2004 finds Unsteady Freddie’s Surf Rock Shindig hosting regional, national and international bands at Otto’s Shrunken Head Tiki Bar in New York City. June 1 is no exception, offering up a diverse show with bands such as The Derangers (Massachusetts), Commercial Interruption (CT), and The Supertones (NYC), for a crowd well-versed in instrumental surf music.
Italy is also celebrating with the annual Surfer Joe Summer Festival in Livorno Italy, June 20-23. This is the 14th edition of this festival which has been running since 2003; this year it boasts performances by about 30 international bands over 4 days, including bands from Italy, U.S.A., Israel, Mexico, Spain, Greece, Denmark, the Netherlands, Brazil, France, Germany, and Belgium (more information at http://www.surferjoemusic.com/festival/).
Mexico has its own large surf & garage music festival planned for June 1, called Wild O’ Fest. Bands on the bill this year come from Mexico, U.S.A., Canada, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands, and Spain. Of course, other important surf music events happen in months that are not designated as International Surf Music Month, such as the Surf Guitar 101 Convention each August in southern CA (https://www.facebook.com/SG101Convention).
The genre of surf music continues to thrive throughout the world; surf bands in almost every country, including Russia, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Japan, Serbia, U.S.A., Canada, and the U.K. make this a truly diverse, international style of music. (For a brief history of surf music, see http://www.nesmasurf.org/surf%20music%20history.htm)
International Surf Music Month community on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/surfmusicmonth