LIVE REVIEW: Adjacent Festival

The first of anything can be a hit or a miss, and for a multitude of reasons. In terms of music festivals, though, artist lineups can change at the last minute, forming lines at the entrance can seem confusing, and the list goes on.

Festivals contain a ton of moving parts – mostly for the host, but also for the attendees as well. So for the purpose of this review, I will be breaking the festival down into multiple parts…

Let’s talk about the location first and foremost. When I heard that there was going to be a music festival on the beach, I was both excited and nervous. I had never been to a festival on a beach before. Back in the days of Warped Tour and Bamboozle, it was pretty easy to determine what to wear (shoe-wise, primarily) because the grounds on which they were hosted were either concrete or grass fields. But we all know how difficult it can be to trudge through sand barefoot, let alone in a pair of Vans or Converse. 

The beach was perfectly situated on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, close to many casinos and restaurants. This made for easy parking and transportation via foot. If you were considering taking a ride share to the festival, your mindset certainly changed upon arrival to the general area. It was not very Uber- or Lyft-friendly. Plus, my friends and I found out that if you spent money in one of the casinos (we chose Caesar’s), you got a parking voucher. Considering we had opted for staying in an Airbnb in Ocean City, NJ (about a half hour drive from the boardwalk), driving to and from the festival and parking in Caesar’s garage was the perfect idea.

While we’re talking about the location of the festival, let’s also talk about the layout of the festival grounds. At the south end of the boardwalk, closest to the parking garage that we had parked in, was the VIP entrance and exit which also dropped you off right by the VIP section of the main stage. Perfect for those who had purchased the VIP package, however two out of the five of us that went (I was one of the two) did not. As you walked further down the boardwalk, you found yourself swerving in between concert goers and regular civilians alike until you arrived at the GA (general admission) entrance. After entering the festival, you pass the GA locker section (I reserved a locker so I wouldn’t have to hold everything that I had purchased merch-wise throughout the weekend). Around the corner from the lockers were the two smaller stages, side by side. Okay great, so you’re telling me that as soon as I enter the festival I can check out some live music? Hell yeah!

And from there was pretty much madness and mayhem. It wasn’t like Warped Tour where everything kind of laid out like a grid and you weaved in and out of lines in a semi-organized fashion. Nope, everything at Adjacent Festival was kind of smushed together, but also not, all at once. 

There was ONE merchandise tent, which housed the festival branded merch as well as anywhere from one to five items per band. On day 1, Saturday, there weren’t many bands that I was interested in seeing so I figured I would wait it out in the merch line and grab everything that I wanted and that would be it. The only artists that they had merch for both days of were the headliners, Blink 182 and Paramore. Let me tell you how insane that merch situation was… There wasn’t an organized line, but really just a mob of people trying to make their way towards the table and place their order. It didn’t help that there also weren’t very many people working the merch tent, so it felt like we were literally moving inches forward every twenty minutes. But again, this was the only time I was going to do this, so might as well make the most of it. Plus, since we had five people in our group, we alternated holding a place in line and we purchased our merch altogether (totaling almost $600). We spent a total of almost three and a half hours in that merch cluster, and made it out just in time to go back to the locker and drop off all of our new goodies and make it back to the main stage in time for the first band that I was interested in seeing.

There were also multiple food vendors, which was really nice to see. There was your typical ‘food court’ style tent where you could get generic concert items like pizza or chicken fingers. But there were also local vendors who set up shop throughout the beach, with specialty options like vegan or gluten-free. It was really great to see a variety of food options and get to try some local varieties. 

Now let’s discuss the lineup. For an inaugural festival, they had quite the fantastic set of artists for both days of the festival. On Saturday we were blessed with I am the Avalanche, Pinkshift, Meet me at the Altar, Wheatus, Jimmy Eat World, Bleachers, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness among many others, and Paramore as the headliner. For Sunday we had the opportunity to watch Beach Bunny, Motion City Soundtrack, The Starting Line, Coheed and Cambria, Royal & the Serpent, Japanese Breakfast, and blink-182 as the headliner. I’d say the coolest part about this lineup was that a lot of the bands and artists were from the New Jersey area. We had some Maryland natives, too, which was cool since that’s where I reside. Overall, I’d say the lineup had some amazing choice artists to perform. Initially, I had hoped for more variety on day one in order to relieve some of the pressure of running around the beach on day two. However, seeing as how I spent three hours in the merch line on Saturday, it proved to be a successful day on Sunday. 

All in all, I’d say that this festival was a great one to attend. There were some hiccups along the way, but the venue and organizers did a great job of handling everything in a swift fashion. Should this festival happen again next year, I will definitely be more prepared but also, I will definitely be attending. Thank you Atlantic City for hosting this wonderful event, it was truly unforgettable!

By: David John Croft | Photos by: David John Croft

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