Everyone get mad at the statement I am about to make. Punk Island is far and away the best annual punk event in New York City bar none. For one glorious afternoon and early evening Punks of all genre’s gang up and take over a piece of New York City and re-purpose it for total freedom. Sure, they don’t want drugs and alcohol but if you can’t be discreet enough that no one there notices you’re fucked up, you’re fucked up and you shouldn’t be getting fucked up publicly anyway.
One of the things that makes Punk Island so special is that the punks who run it, own it. Each collective buys into a whole to operate their stage and all of the money collected goes toward production. No backdoor profiteering, no single band or promoter coming away with a bundle, just a bunch of punks spending the day in the park together.
“I LOVE PUNK ISLAND. I ran a stage there for years, and I personally feel like it is the best day of the year in NYC. So I am super happy to do anything I can personally do to make up the money for the show,” said All Torn Up frontman and Punk Island organizer Joey Steel.
One of the ways in which Punk Island ensures they will never need any sort of corporate sponsorship is by throwing benefit shows all year long leading up to the big day in June. 2019’s first benefit show is right around the corner on January 4, and it’s going to ATU’s 10-year anniversary. In celebration of the big occasion for the band Steel and his cohort are going to be breaking out some tunes they haven’t played since 2010.
“For one night only we will be doing songs we wrote and played on our first few recordings, and have not played since then,” said Steel.
But the evening is about so much more than ATU celebrating a decade of making music. While New York’s reigning champs of political hardcore are naturally excited to tear it up with their loyal fans at Sunnyvale. It’s still just like anything else ATU does and it’s about the building of radical community.
“We have never cared about making money in ATU, so a lot of our bigger shows, when we knew people would come out, would be for other bands or causes we cared about. Punk Island as well as ATU’s 10 years in of making music has been about community. We have been honored to be a small part of the Lake / Swamp community and been included in the Latinx Punk Scene, even though we are not Latino. We have worked hard to try and support and build community around conscious and empowering music in NYC. We feel our last 10 years have been about that, and that is exactly the goal of Punk Island,” said Steel.
Rounding out the evening will be Philly based experimental hardcore band Soul Glo, and locals ALOUTH and Material Support. Check out Pages Per Content in the coming Year for a feature on Punk Island past, present, and future.