Greenpoint Gazette

JELLY’S Rock Yard Concert Series Kicks Off

BY Talisa Chang

The Slip n’ Slide is back. Jelly NYC, the marketing and events company behind the McCarren Park and subsequent East River State Park Williamsburg Pool Parties, just kicked off their new concert series: Saturdays! At Rock Yard, on the Williamsburg Southside Saturday.

The free, six-show series runs through September 11 and is aimed at being a smaller, more relaxed, grassroots counterpart to the State and Park’s Department-sponsored Saturday Pool Parties, which, with a capacity of 10,000, are much more heavily regulated.

The kick-off show, which featured Thee Oh Sees, The Beets, X-Ray Eyeballs, Gun Outfit, and Tough Knuckles, drew about 300 attendees to the Rock Yard—an old, gravel-filled, graffiti-adorned junk yard behind the Scientific Laboratories music rehearsal studios on Wythe between S.2nd and S.3rd.

“We had a lot of freedom with the space,” said Chris Goldstein, Jelly Events Manager. “People were bringing stuff to do their own thing, which was really fun too. I didn’t tell anybody to bring supplies for playing frisbeer!”

But frisbeer there was, along with more beer, music, djs, and the Slip N’ Slide, a pool party staple from the McCarren Park days.

“Our motivation for everything was keeping our feet on the ground and taking it back to the roots of what we were doing originally,” said Julian Duron, who does Art Direction for Jelly. “The Rock Yard—or the ‘Chill Zone’ as we’ve been calling it—is the best place for us to do what we want to do.”

“Since they’ve been run by the Parks Department, The Pool Parties have been less in our control,” he continued. “Here, we wanted to be able to control every sensory aspect, from audio to visual. We’ve got our favorite bands playing. We want to meet people, have fun, and hang out.”

The Southside location lent itself to a more easy-going, community feel for the Williamsburg-based Jelly Team, who looked to local friends and artists for help with building the venue, adorning the walls with art, and playing the shows themselves. The venue has a capacity for 800-1000 people, and the team is looking forward to bigger shows as the summer progresses.

“I think there’s potential with the space to get bigger and crazier,” Goldstein said. “I hope people come and check out these bands that might not be as well known as bands that play our other events. We didn’t want to spend all of our money on booking. We want it to be whatever people want it to be.”

“[Saturday] was a good time,” Goldstein continued. “No issues arose. The people that were there seemed to have a good time. We only announced the show a week prior, so there wasn’t a huge buildup, and a lot of our staff was at Coney Island for Siren Fest, but we saw a lot of familiar faces, and I was happy with the people who came out. We had about three security guards and no real presence as far as staff and security, unlike some of the bigger events that we do. It just makes it a little cooler when you feel like you can get away with something.”

And so far, the neighbors don’t mind.

“The church across the street knows what we’re doing and they’re OK with it,” Goldstein said. “We don’t want to be annoying with all the free concerts, but they’re during the day so we find that it’s a lot easier to get away with events. It’s just indie music in Williamsburg; it’s not really surprising people at this point.
For us, it’s just about providing the bands and the drinks.”

The next concert at Rock Yard is July 31 and features Priestbird, Family Band, and Skeletons Big Band. Bring a bathing suit—the Slip N’ Slide will be waiting. Doors open at 2pm.

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